Instructional League 101
For those new to the prospect game or that are curious as to what Instructional League really is, here are a few basic things you need to know:
- Commonly referred to as "Instructs", the camp is basically broken up into two camps, one for the Fall Instructional Program (FIP) and the other just Strength and Conditioning Program (SCP).
- Deciding on who to send can vary, but it mostly involves new professional players as recent draft picks from the June draft make up a large percentage of the roster. The roster also includes a lot of draft picks from the prior year's draft as well as any recent foreign free agent signings that the organization plans to play stateside the next season.
- The makeup of players involves the new elite level players who need focus on a few specific areas to help finish them off, or the fringe prospects that the organization may experiment with in another role or get a lot of extra work with to maybe push them into the upper tier of prospects.
- There used to be a Fall Instructional Program and Fall Development Program (FDP), and in some ways this is still the case, but with the recent changes in the draft with players signing so late and the need to send so many elite level first year prospects to Arizona for Instructs, the two have for the most part been combined into one.
- The more advanced prospects who would have been in the FDP in the past will still only be there for about two weeks, but now are just participating to get ready for the Arizona Fall League or the new Parallel League which is back for a second year.
- Those participating in strength and conditioning are not participating in games and are only there to really hone in on improving their physical makeup. While it is only four weeks, it is a program that helps provide a springboard for players to continue to work out throughout the rest of the offseason and come into spring training next year in top shape.
- Really, the rosters can be fluid in Instructs, but the only thing that is important is who is playing (FIP) and who is not (strength and conditioning).
- The purpose of Instructs is mostly to help the newly signed draft picks in their transition into professional baseball by giving them an early introduction into the daily routines of pro ball, what spring training will be like, and to begin to learn how to prepare for the day-to-day grind of a 140-game season. They also begin to learn about off-field things like nutrition, weight training, proper conditioning, and so on.
- In addition to all of this, Instructs provide an opportunity for very specific one-on-one instruction for many players to improve certain areas of their game that maybe were not available during the season. With the entire player development staff on hand as well as several other coaches, it is about a 3:1 player to coach ratio.
- What is worked on can vary, but mainly for pitchers it can be the addition of a new pitch, a change in their delivery, or a change in their role. For a position player it can be a permanent position change (or experimental) or some adjustments made to their swing mechanics.
- In some cases, Instructs serves as an opportunity for pitchers to throw some more innings or hitters to get more at bats because they need to make up for some valuable lost development time because they maybe missed a significant amount of games during the season due to injury.
- There is no media coverage or any media personnel present during Instructional League, so daily information is limited. You can't go to MiLB.com to view box scores or stats. That said, as I have in the past, I should be able to provide daily box scores from every game played, so if you want to see any box scores or stats from "Instructs", this is the only place you will find it. I will also be visiting the last week of camp and will provide some firsthand reports.
These were posted last Friday, but for completeness sake, here is the roster and schedule:
35 Adams, Austin
45 Blair, Kyle
55 Carmona, Manuel
38 Colon, Joseph
49 Cook, Cole
50 Dischler, Tony
25 Encarnacion, Luis
39 Gardner, Joseph
59 Hagadone, Nick
51 Haley, Trey
53 Homblert, Rafael
58 Knapp, Jason
60 Lopez, Jose
57 McFarland, TJ
57 Packer, Matt
38 Pomeranz, Drew
48 Soto, Giovanni
65 Sterling, Felix
46 Tejeda, Enosil
36 White, Alex
7 Childs, Dwight
8 Lavisky, Alex
4 Monsalve, Alex
17 Perez, Roberto
2 Seastrunk, Diego
6 Valerio, Charlie
24 Aguilar, Jesus
9 Bartolone, Nick
25 Bellows, Kyle
27 Castillo, Leonardo
17 Diaz, Juan
16 Frawley, Casey
12 Garcia, Robel
16 Gonzalez, Erik
11 Kipnis, Jason
13 Martinez, Jorge
20 Romero, Juan
23 Urshela, Giovanny
10 Wolters, Tony
15 Abreu, Abner
22 Brown, Mark
30 Burnette, Chase
24 Cid, Delvi
35 Greenwell, Bo
29 Holt, Tyler
34 Jones, Hunter
30 Lin, Chia-Ching
40 Moncrief, Carlos
32 Rodriguez, Luigi
26 Washington, Levon
Wednesday 22-Sep: @OAK 2 (Phoenix) 12:30 PM
Thursday 23-Sep: Work Day
Friday 24-Sep: LAD (Goodyear) 12:30 PM
Saturday 25-Sep: @TEX (Surprise) 10:00 AM
Sunday 26-Sep: OFF
Monday 27-Sep: Work Day 12:30 PM
Tuesday 28-Sep: CIN (Goodyear) 12:30 PM
Wednesday 29-Sep: SEA (Goodyear) 12:30 PM
Thursday 30-Sep: Work Day
Friday 1-Oct TEX: (Goodyear) 12:30 PM
Saturday 2-Oct: Work Day
Sunday 3-Oct: OFF
Monday 4-Oct: Work Day 12:30 PM
Tuesday 5-Oct: SEA (Goodyear) 12:30 PM
Wednesday 6-Oct: Work Day
Thursday 7-Oct: @SDP (Peoria) 12:30 PM
Friday 8-Oct: @LAD (Glendale) 12:30 PM
Saturday 9-Oct: Work Day
Sunday 10-Oct: OFF
Monday 11-Oct: @KCR (Surprise) 12:30 PM
Tuesday 12-Oct: @CIN (Goodyear) 12:30 PM
Wednesday 13-Oct: CWS (Goodyear) 12:30 PM
Thursday 14-Oct: CIN (Goodyear) 9:00 AM
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