Good news baseball fans, next week is the last full week with no baseball until November! Pitchers and catchers begin reporting on February 10, when the Oakland Athletics kick things off by being the first team to report, a single day before the Seattle Mariners report. The rest of baseball reports either February 12 or 13, except for the Atlanta Braves, who don’t report until February 15.
Pitchers and catchers get a few days to themselves until the position players start to trickle in. All position players report between February 15 and February 20, with the Atlanta Braves again the last team to require position players to report. It will be interesting to keep an eye on the Braves to see if their strategy of reporting a few days later than other teams help them out in the 2019 season.
For those who don’t know, Spring Training is broken up into two leagues, the Cactus League, based in Arizona, and the Grapefruit League, based in Florida. Instead of dividing teams by American League and National League teams are divided by their physical location in the country.
The Cactus League is composed of half of the Majors (15 teams). Teams reporting to Arizona are the; Arizona Diamondbacks, Chicago Cubs, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies, Chicago White Sox, Kansas City Royals, Los Angeles Angels, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Seattle Mariners, and Texas Rangers. Eight of the 15 teams that compose the Cactus League are from the National League.
The Grapefruit League is composed of the other half of the Majors. As expected, eight of the 15 teams represent the American League. The teams that report to Florida for Spring Training include the; Atlanta Braves, Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Houston Astros, Miami Marlins, Minnesota Twins, New York Mets, New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, St Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Rays, Toronto Blue Jays and Washington Nationals.
So while there are still 107 MLB players remaining to sign in free agency, including Bryce Harper and Manny Machado, the rest of the league is preparing to report to Spring Training. At this point, we could almost produce two additional Spring Training teams, optimistically one in each league, of just free agents. This might be a good idea if this trend of not signing players continues, for those players to prove that they are worth a MLB contract for the upcoming season.
So, sit back and relax for one more week baseball fans, because after next week, its non-stop baseball for the next nine months!
As always, you can find me on twitter, @HandzelSports, where you will find me talking everything MLB and MiLB!