Tonight’s Triple-A Championship game between the Memphis Redbirds and Durham Bulls will mark the end of play for all Minor League teams across every level of play. Many players will enjoy the time off before the start of Spring Training. Some will hire personal trainers to keep them in shape, others will focus a majority of their time to work and earn enough money to allow them to come back next year and play in their respective farm system (where they make barely enough to survive on).
For those players who continue to play in the offseason, some will play in their organization’s Fall Instructional League. There are also players who have been invited to play in one of the prestigious Fall/Winter leagues. There are the Arizona Fall League (AFL), Puerto Rican Winter League, Dominican Winter League, Mexican Pacific League, and Venezuelan Winter League. These are the leagues recognized by Major League Baseball. In addition to the leagues mentioned, there are a few that have recently sprouted and are hoping to attract talented players to their offerings.
The Florida Winter Baseball League (FWBL) has four teams that cater to Rookie and Single A level ballplayers. The leagues listed above attract many higher level players. The FWBL started only a year ago, and will start play in October this year. Competition will last until January. Sixty games will be played, with opening day scheduled for October 30.
There have also been rumors that a Junior Arizona Fall League will be developed in the future. In the meantime, players on the West Coast who were not invited to the AFL may want to look into what people are calling the Advanced Instructional League and the Arizona Parallel League. Several Farm Directors have put together this makeshift league, which will play all of its games in Arizona. Play begins two days from now and ends on October 16. Most players will be taken from Class A and Double A squads. Only players from the following organizations are invited to participate: Royals, Rangers, Padres, Mariners, Reds, Indians, Dodgers, and White Sox.