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2014 Instructional League: FAQ

2014 Instructional League: FAQ
Photo: IBI
September 23, 2014
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The Indians 2014 Fall Instructional League is already underway out at their spring training and player development complex in Goodyear, Arizona. Camp runs for a little over four weeks and time will be split between on-field workouts, intra-squad games, and games between other local Major League organizations before concluding on Monday October 13th.

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 a 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 or want to get an extended look at.

- The makeup of players involves the new elite level players who need to 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 many elite level first year prospects in Arizona for Instructs the two have for the most part been combined into one. Also, there used to be a Parallel League - or otherwise known as advanced Instructional League - but that was not brought back last year.

- The more advanced prospects who would have been in the FDP in the past will still only be there for about two weeks. Some players are also there to get ready for the Arizona Fall League. This part of the fall instructional program is what is currently in action, and the actual games for the other part of the program will start up later this week.

- 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 two to 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.

- The rosters can actually be very 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 always I should be able to provide daily summaries from each game that is played, so if you want any game info from Instructs this is the only place you will find it. I will also be out in Arizona the last week of Instructs and will provide some firsthand reports on the happenings in Instructs as well as the Arizona Fall League.

- The complete Instructional League roster and schedule was posted a few weeks ago. The first game is September 24th.

Follow Tony and the Indians Baseball Insider on Twitter @TonyIBI. Also, his new book the 2014 Cleveland Indians Baseball Insider which profiles the Indians' Top 100 Prospects and more is available for sale.

User Comments

Ryan
September 24, 2014 - 2:56 PM EDT
@Homer is Wolters really that much in danger of being drafted? He had a down year offensively and was only at AA, and he is still raw defensively as a catcher. I guess a team out there might be willing to use him as their back-up catcher all year, but most teams would want to have a vet occupy that spot.

I am thinking Price will be DFA'd, Maronde I doubt, he shined in AAA and has high pedigree which is part of the reason he was so attractive to the Indians to just pick up on the cheap.
Homer
September 24, 2014 - 8:07 AM EDT
Walter,

I'd agree with those five, and add they could decline Aviles' option. I wouldn't, I would look to make a major trade for a RH bat that is controllable long term and fills RF or 3b. That would mean potentially trading a cpl guys on the 40 man roster.

I think that Maronde could be safe bc he offers SP depth, but that's not a certainty. Price on the other hand is an older prospect, has not showed well (yet), and the Tribe has RP depth.

The Indians will need to add Urshela, Colon, Wolters, Merritt and maybe Will Roberts and Shawn Armstrong. I think Armstrong could be picked in the rule 5 draft if left unprotected. He fits the profile, upper level power RP close to being big league ready. (I think he might be ready by June / July).
Walter
September 24, 2014 - 12:16 AM EDT
I see at least 5 openings to 40 man roster once the season ends.

1. Giambi FA/retired
2. Gimenez
3. Sellers
4. Shuck
5. Barnes.

Not sure if they are planning on keeping Maronde and Price on the 40 man. Could be an additional 2 spots.

Roger
September 23, 2014 - 11:49 PM EDT
great scintallating offense tribesters. one lousy run in two games. again gettting offense is like putting gas in the tank of the ferrari the dolans can only afford the car they cant expect to have to buy the gas at 3 bucks a gallon plus. That was my editorial comment, now who is going to participate in the the AFL. nitially i heard lindor was playing in PR this winter now i think i have heard the AFL. do we even know the complete list of participants in the AFL besides wohlers who with gomer and perez will be super utility man or trade bait. again we have to trade for hitting cause that would be like buying gas for the ferrari and free agent hitters in an era when .261 is second in team batting obvuiusly there is a premium on hitters who can walk and chew gum at the same time. The dolans wont pay the price and frankly after 2014 not sure that any team is satisfied with their offense. which may trigger a price war on marginal prospects who can hit a little.
Tony
September 23, 2014 - 11:11 PM EDT
No media just means there is no media relations department or any media contact which directs people....and there is zero newspaper, TV or any other electronic coverage except for from yours truly or from BA or BP if they happen to catch a game. I am in the complex the whole time. I watch them practice, talk to scouts, talk to coaches, talk to players, and talk to execs all while the practice sessions and games go on.
Homer
September 23, 2014 - 7:48 PM EDT
I think he means no televised games.
BrianM
September 23, 2014 - 6:44 PM EDT
Does no media coverage mean no scouts from places like BA or BP will be allowed into games? When you go Tony, will you be invited into the complex or are you just planning on talking to coaches and players in their free time?

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