Minor League Baseball confirmed on Tuesday what seemed inevitable for months -- it announced the cancellation of the 2020 season in light of the coronavirus pandemic. This news comes on the heels on hundreds of MiLB players being cut and the MLB Draft being trimmed to five rounds. In addition, rumors have suggested that the number of minor league teams will be slashed from 160 to 120.
The cancellation forces many questions to be had about the future of the MiLB, but in the meantime, let's focus on highlighting the prospects who are most impacted.
5. Ryan Mountcastle
The Baltimore Orioles have filled 44 spots on their 60-man roster, so there's still time for Ryan Mountcastle to get the call. However it's downright shocking that he wasn't included on the initial reveal, especially since he's already on the 40-man. The 23-year-old was exceptional in Triple-A last year, hitting .312/.344/.527 with 25 home runs and 83 RBI in 123 games. A minor league season would've provided Mountcastle with the opportunity to prove to the Orioles that he's MLB-ready. That's no longer on the table and he could even lose up to two years of service time.
4. Luis Medina
Luis Medina's potential is apparent and the New York Yankees certainly rate him, but a missed 2020 season means that he won't have the chance to prove that he's improved his control, which is easily his most glaring flaw. After posting 11.5 walks per nine innings back in 2018, the 21-year-old made significant strides last year after a promotion to Single-A Charleston. The cancellation of this season means fewer reps, and that could prove crucial in terms of when his MLB promotion will come down the road.
3. Nate Pearson
There's a ton of hype surrounding Nate Pearson, who is the No. 8 overall prospect, according to MLB.com. In 2019, the young hurler shot his way through the Toronto Blue Jays farm system, and shined at all three levels, posting 2.30 ERA and 119 strikeouts across 25 starts. It's never ideal for any prospect to lose a year of development, let alone a pitcher of Pearson's caliber. What's even worse? That the club could gain an extra year of service time as a result of the truncated 2020 MLB season -- though we don't know the full details yet. Ask Vladimir Guerrero Jr. how he feels about that.
2. Brent Honeywell Jr.
Not many prospects can say that they missed the entirety of the 2018 and 2019 seasons due to injuries, but Brent Honeywell Jr. unfortunately falls on that list. Prior to the suspension of Spring Training, the young right-hander was reportedly healthy and throwing off a mound as he eyed a return to the diamond. Now, however, Honeywell's development as a pitcher has been delayed yet another season. He has age on his side, but this cancellation couldn't have come at a worse time for him.
1. Forrest Whitley
Yes, Forrest Whitley was named to the Houston Astros' 60-player pool, but that doesn't mean his maturation as a pitcher won't be impacted by not having a minor league season. The 22-year-old was woeful in 2019 after enjoying a nice campaign the season prior. For the year, Whitley finished 3-7 with a 7.99 ERA and a 1.73 WHIP across 59.2 innings. If there was any prospect who needed a full MiLB season to reclaim his confidence, it's the Astros' right-hander.