As most of you may know, Minor League Spring Training is well underway. With players and coaches spending the last few weeks in preparation for the 2011 Season, they've also been working hard preparing for Minor League games. It's a tricky process, in fact. To be exact, there were 140 or so players in Minor League Camp when it started. Obviously, as the the Major League club re-assigns players to Minor League Camp, Camp grows. Thus creating an influx of top talent and better players for you to watch when you see them play.
But it's much more than that. From here on out (Opening Day for most Minor League teams with the exception of the NYPL, obviously starts usually the first week in April), organizations will be taking a final look at their minor league talent by assigning them to affiliated, figuring out what kind of progression they're expected to make in the coming and throughout the season, and unfortunately, many players will be released as well.
Putting in to perspective the fact that many of last years Gulf Coast Leaguers, Dominican Summer Leaguers, and Arizona Leaguers are probably set for extended Spring Training (sans players like Zack Cox and other 2010 draft talent), they're at this point, hoping for that or a release. As anything can happen within the next few weeks, you'll likely see that batch of players in Short-Season ball come June. That's obviously just an example, but also just slim amount of players who are in camp though, as many others are fighting for a better team than they were last.
Figure this: Out of those 140 players in camp, about 100 or so will be sent to affiliates, 20 will stay in extended ST, and another 20 will be released unfortunately. The 20 released will most likely be the 25 and 26 year old Low-A Ball players of the world as well as others who simply just aren't viewed as part of the teams future.
Players in the lower levels are much more susceptible however, as it's harder to adjust to pro ball whereas someone who has adjusted continues to battle through the rough patches of Minor League Ball. The next few weeks will be a test for all, as teams are playing, players are facing teammates who they may never see again, and those same players have the same goal -- to get to the highest level but get to the next level first.
As for the NYPL, those players will be staying in extended Spring Training or optioned from their Low-A affiliate should they be struggling. I can already name many players that will be playing in the NYPL this year, but that'll have to wait for a future post.