WASHINGTON, D.C. (WDVM) – Across the country, fans of Minor League baseball have had to wait for over 20 months, since the coronavirus pandemic shut things down before the 2020 season.
That wait ends on Tuesday, May 4th; as Opening Day comes back to small, and large communities all across America. For the Washington Nationals; their newest Triple-A affiliate, the Rochester Red Wings; will bring much needed respite for the organization for the upcoming year.
All four full-season affiliates’ rosters have been announced on Monday; with the Nationals sporting a new look minor league system. Former Low-A affiliate, the Hagerstown Suns, did not have their affiliation renewed. Their new Low Single-A affiliate will be the Fredericksburg Nationals; who have moved from Potomac. Instead, Wilmington, Delaware joins the ranks as their new High Single-A affiliate. Double-A Harrisburg remains the only intact, after all the changes.
Wilmington will have the luxury of hosting top prospects within the Nationals’ farm system; including pitchers Cade Cavalli, Jackson Rutledge, Cole Henry, and Joan Adon.
Earlier Monday afternoon, when speaking with the media; Assistant General Manager of Player Development, Mark Scialabba, mentioned how exciting the scene would be across the Nationals’ affiliate communities, and how this would impact the players on all the rosters.
“It’s going to an exciting day tomorrow, for everyone.” said Mark Scialabba, when speaking with the media on Monday afternoon. “Obviously these players that have grinded through this process. It obviously means a great deal to them, to get back on the field officially. All the hard work that they’ve put in behind the scenes, in a very difficult challenging environment, where some players didn’t have access to the fields, or gyms for the entire year. And for all the staff members too, to get out there, and obviously the fans, and communities involved, it is obviously going to be a great day tomorrow.
He did confirm that there would be around 50-60 players in West Palm Beach, Florida, for extended Spring Training; younger prospects, or players that are rehabbing can get called up to one of the affiliates, or will stay and make up the roster for the Gulf Coast League roster in the summer.
“There is a challenge to that, and we try to put people, where they’re – number one; it’s a case by case choice of where we decided where a player goes.” said Mark Scialabba, when asked about how they determine which players will go to each of the four affiliates. “A lot of it depends on, obviously their physical abilities; but also their mental, and emotional maturity. And we try to challenge them, we also want certain players, with limited experience, to make sure they build that foundation, which is extremely important for us. It’s building a foundation, not only from a fundamental standpoint, but from a workload standpoint as well. We do want them to be challenged, but also allow them to have some success early on.”