Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Winter League Shakeup

Hawaii Winter BaseballThe Hawaii Winter Baseball league will no longer include players from MLB or the minor leagues according to the league: “It was a grand experience bringing the thrill of pro baseball back to the islands,” said Hawaii Winter Baseball league owner Duane Kurisu, in announcing the completion of the league’s three-year contract with Major League Baseball. General managers from each MLB organization, gathered in Las Vegas last week for the Baseball Winter Meetings, voted, “for logistical reasons,” to consolidate their minor league fall and winter off-season developmental leagues to one location—Arizona, the current home of the Arizona Fall League and Spring Training’s Cactus League. The decision essentially ends any participation in HWB by players from the MLB and its minor league affiliates.

BA believes this will lead to the formation of a new winter league in the Phoenix area for younger minor leaguers: The junior circuit, not yet given an official name, would in essence shift the format of Hawaii Winter Baseball to the Phoenix area and coincide with the AFL, which next season will be in its 18th year. HWB owner Duane Kurisu said general managers of major league teams voted for the move at the winter meetings in Las Vegas. The AFL has become thought of as a finishing school and is comprised of Triple-A and Double-A players, with each of its six teams allotted only one player from the Class A level. The HWB allowed less experienced players to get winter league experience...

The Rays sent no players to Hawaii this year. Travel costs for players and scouts seemed to be the primary drawback to the Hawaii league. The new Phoenix-area league should allow some of the Rays younger minor leaguers to participate in winter league baseball here in the U.S. next year.


  1. I can see the expenses being a problem, then again a team is sending it's considerable "prospects" to the league so I don't see why they wouldn't mind spending the extra $

  2. It think it's just that AZ would be cheaper. Plane tickets, housing, meal money, all cost more in Hawaii. With the new league in the same area as the AFL, scouts can cover both leagues. One of the articles also mentions that if you put a player in say the AFL and it's over his head, you could easily switch him to the new league (easier competition), and vice versa.