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Our Noticias, 4/22/20: Minor league contraction; Pablo López Q&A

Right-hander Pablo López passed through Clinton, Iowa while developing in the Mariners farm system.
Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images

Nail in the coffin for Clinton, Batavia as MiLB affiliates?

In advance of a negotiating session scheduled to take place on Wednesday, J.J. Cooper of Baseball America details the progress being made towards a new Professional Baseball Agreement (subscription required). The current PBA between Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball is set to expire after the 2020 season, though the COVID-19 pandemic has made it increasingly unlikely that any official minor league games will be played.

As part of a compromise, MiLB is prepared to agree to reduce its number of affiliates from 160 to 120. In exchange, MLB will develop new revenue streams in the form of sponsorship, licensing and media rights.

What does this mean for the Marlins? The Low-A Clinton LumberKings and Short Season A Batavia Muckdogs are on the chopping block. Right-handers Pablo López and Robert Dugger played in Clinton (previously a Mariners affiliate) en route to the major leagues, while current top prospects outfielder Jerar Encarnación and left-hander Alex Vesia have passed through both places during their professional careers. The Marlins would need to find a full-season replacement for the LumberKings. Short-season circuits like the New York-Penn League—which included Batavia—will no longer have a place in the revamped minor league system as the industry hopes to push back the annual draft to July, per the Associated Press.

The bottom line is that this limits opportunities for athletes to pursue the major league dream and deflates the morale of communities who have been supporting their local teams for decades. MLB leadership is choosing to prioritize short-term profits above all else.

Minor League Baseball released a statement downplaying these reports as “largely inaccurate.” Even if contraction is inevitable, other important matters within the PBA are far from finalized.

Bounce-back candidate submits self scouting report


Fascinating piece from’s Alexis Brudnicki about Marlins outfielder Tristan Pompey. The former third-round draft pick dropped out of the organization’s Top 30 prospects list due to injuries and poor offensive production in 2019. But Pompey touts his baseball IQ and expects to bulk up in the coming years to unleash more game power (0 HR in 170 PA last season).

On the off chance that there’s affiliated MiLB competition in 2020, expect to see the University of Kentucky product assigned to High-A Jupiter.

Walk-off links

  • On Monday morning, Derek Jeter and the Marlins became one of the first MLB teams to commit to paying their baseball staffs full salaries through at least May 31. Since then, nearly everybody else has followed suit.
  • Pablo López speaks to David Laurila of FanGraphs about the origins of his nasty changeup and why he tries to emulate the technique of former Cy Young award winner—and fellow Venezuelan—Johan Santana. Tuesday during a Q&A on Instagram, López identified Santana as his favorite player growing up.

  • Led by José Fernández and J.T. Realmuto, the all-time Marlins roster comfortably beat the Braves in their first MLB Dream Bracket series. The second-round matchup against the Dodgers is in progress, with final results to be revealed this Friday.
  • Listen to Jon “Boog” Sciambi on Fish Across The Pond, reflecting about his days as a Marlins radio broadcaster.
  • Standard over/under bets for MLB team wins are invalid for the time being with so many questions about how many games will be played this season. But is adjusting to the circumstances by posting team winning percentages instead. The book has the Marlins at over/under 40%, the lowest mark in the National League.
  • Head to Twitter to be entered to win this Hamilton R. Head bobblehead from the Jupiter Hammerheads...

And while you’re tweeting, please send a happy birthday message to Zack Raab! One of the most passionate and positive Marlins fans you’ll ever meet.