Tag Archives: Desert League

Fall/Winter Leagues… Is One Right For You?

More and more instructional baseball leagues are popping up every year.

These leagues are all competing for players to play for them (and give them their money).

Over the last few years, some of these instructional leagues have been starting to “educate” players by saying something negative about the other leagues. If you look on social media, you can see people associated with a lot of these leagues arguing about who is better…. and why you should give them your money instead of giving it to some other guy.

Some leagues have even banned players from playing in their league if the player went to a different winter league.

Every year towards the end of the regular season for indy ball, I always get the question… should I go to a fall or winter league during the off season? What one is right for me? Are they really worth the money?

While I can’t answer those questions for every player, I do want to make players aware of everything that’s out there and give nothing but a comprehensive list of facts including: when/where the leagues are held, what associations they have with other leagues or scouts/coaches, and the costs since these leagues can be VERY pricey.

Please keep in mind, that you should also take lists of “signed players” that these winter leagues put out with a grain of salt. The majority of the time, these players are only signed for spring training, or have already landed on a team thanks to their own hard work and the instructional leagues take credit because they were there to get extra reps in.

The following information was gathered through the various leagues’ websites.

Black Sox Pro Baseball League

When:
All the time.

Where:
All across the country.

Cost:
Varies. No set “cost.”

Affiliation(s):
No actual affiliation. Plays games against affiliated teams as well as independent leagues (Atlantic, Frontier, American, Can-Am, and Pacific).

Additional Info:
The Black Sox are different than anything else on this list. It isn’t actually a winter league. It also doesn’t have a set cost that they charge each player.

Joe Torre runs the Black Sox Pro Baseball League. Torre puts together various teams all around the country including teams in New Jersey and Florida as well as teams that travel during independent league spring training.

The teams are made up of players looking to get in at bats and innings playing against established teams. This helps give players exposure to managers and coaches who can get a feel for how the players play in real game situations.

Find more information on the Black Sox on their Official Website. 

This season, a few member of the Black Sox wrote a guest blog for the site –  Guest Bloggers – The Black Sox Series.

In addition, here is an inside look of my interaction with the Black Sox team when they came to town for our education day – Education Day with the Black Sox.

California Winter League

When:
Players Report- January 22nd.
MLB workouts – January 23rd and 24th.
Season – January 25th to February 18th.

Where:
Palm Springs Stadium Complex, California.

Cost:
$3,300 pay in full or $3,500 with $1,000 deposit until Oct 1st
$3,400 pay in full or $3,500 with $1,000 deposit until Nov 1st
$3,500 after Nov 1st

Limit 2 discounts per player

$750 discount if player provides their own housing and meals
$200 professional discount
$1,000 deposit due upon registration (no refunds will be issued on deposits for any reason)
Balance due 1/1/18
Payment plans available

What’s Covered:
Lodging
Two meals per day – Combination of restaurant vouchers and catered meals at the stadium
Local transportation to training facilities for entire length of league
Catcher’s gear will be provided (if needed)
Players are responsible for their own transportation to and from Palm Springs, California
MLB alumni player/coach instruction
Current Independent League managers and MLB scouts looking to sign players
Game action
Uniforms (Pants, Jersey, Hat, Belt, Socks, Workout Shorts, Workout Shirt)
Equipment (Bats, Balls, Helmets)
Locker room facility
Laundered uniforms daily
EOS Fitness membership for the duration of the league

Affiliation(s):
Frontier League. As of the 2018 season, if you wish to play in the Frontier League, you cannot attend any other winter league or participate in the Pecos League or Empire league. Their list of “banned” players and exceptions can be found HERE.

In addition to an agreement with the Frontier League, the league also states that “the CWL has instructors and coaches from the following Independent Professional Baseball Leagues: Frontier League, American Association, Can-Am League, Atlantic League, United Shore Professional Baseball League and Pacific Association; all of which, came with contracts in hand, ready to sign players who stood out.” If you attend the CWL, you are not eligible to play in the Pecos league.
Two days of MLB scouted workouts are also held.

Additional Info:

Why The CWL? – Official Website.

CWL Signings Mid-Season Update – Indy Ball Island.

Registration: 2018 Registration Form Link

Arizona Winter League

When:
Players Report – January 30th.
Spring Training – January 31st and February 1st. Followed by a practice day.
Games Start – February 3rd.
Players Depart – February 26th, 2018

Where:
Ray Kroc Baseball Complex (Yuma, Arizona)

Cost:
Regular Registration: $2,500
Regular in Full: $2,250 (Register in Full by 12/31/17 and get $250 off of the regular rate)
Returning Player Registration: $2,000 (any former player of the AWL, TWL, and TSL)
Local Rate: $500 (players who will not need housing and meals)
Deposit Option: $500 (secure your spot, balance of $2,000 due by January 1st, 2018)

What’s Covered:
Hotel (2 players per room)
2 meals per day (Breakfast and Lunch)
Gym access
Uniforms
Bats (Each team is issued a certain amount of bats)
Catcher’s gear (it is recommended that you bring your own catcher’s gear)
Transportation to and from the stadium and hotel
Airport Pickup in Yuma
Each player will receive hands-on instruction from professional managers and coaches
The AWL will provide an on-site trainer
Player Stats provided by Pointstreak

Affiliation(s):
Coaches from the Atlantic League, American Association, and the Frontier League are listed as instructors.

Additional Info:
Arizona Winter League FAQs – Official Website.

Registration: 2018 AWL Registration Link

Hudson River League

When:
November 1st – 20th

Where:
Houston, TX

Cost:
$1,250 without housing, $2,000 with housing.

Affiliation(s):
Pecos League

Additional Info:
The Hudson River League is the only affiliated developmental winter baseball league, sponsored by the professional independent Pecos League of Professional Baseball Clubs.
The Hudson River League is the lowest cost Developmental League starting as low as $1250 per player for three weeks of baseball. At the end of the Hudson River League players will get signed with realistic chances of making clubs they are signed to.

Registration: Register for the Hudson River League on their Official Website. 

 

Pecos League Spring League

When:
March 5th – 28th.

Where:
Houston, TX

Cost:
$1,250 without housing, $2,000 with housing.

Affiliation(s):
Pecos League

Additional Info:
The Pecos Spring League is the only affiliated developmental spring baseball league, sponsored by the professional independent Pecos League of Professional Baseball Clubs. 
The Pecos Spring League is the lowest cost Developmental League starting as low as $1250 per player for three weeks of baseball. At the end of the Spring League players will get signed with realistic chances of making clubs they are signed to.

Registration: Register for the Pecos Spring League on their Official Website.

“Warning to players about Winter Leagues.” – Pecos League press release.

Puerto Rico Instructional Baseball League

When:
March 4th to April 1st 2018

Where:
Rincón, Puerto Rico

Cost:
Regular Registration: $2,700

Pay in Full: $2,300 (For limited time! Register in full and get $400 off the regular registration rate)

Returning Player Registration: $2,000 (former PRIBL player)

Local Player Registration: $1,000 (players who will not need housing and meals)

Deposit Option: $500 (A deposit will guarantee your roster spot)

What’s Covered:
Lodging from January 7th (Report date) – February 5th (Depart date)
2 Meals per day
Local transportation to & from training facilities for entire length of program. Players are responsible for their own transportation to and from Airport.
Sports Insurance coverage
Includes all instructor fees (MLB Alumni player/coach Instruction)
Each player will receive hands-on instruction from professional coaches who have the ability to sign players to a Professional Contract.
Game action: Up to 25 games scheduled with Puerto Rico AA teams.
Training workshops: These workshops will include financial planning, sports psychology, and mental preparation towards the game, sports marketing, and preparation for the media, toxicology, doping and the life within the sport.
The PRIBL will provide on-site trainers.
Players’ Stats will be provided daily in our website
Documented Scouting Report will be sent by email at the end of the program. Evaluations are also made during camps.
Exposure: MLB Scouts, Major League Staff, Minor League Directors, Minor League player personnel, may visit at any given time. Independent, European and Mexican League representatives will be in attendance or in contact to fill roster spots for the upcoming championship season. Staff is composed of coaches from those leagues.
Uniforms (jersey, hat, belt, socks, workout shorts, and workout shirt)
Equipment (balls, bats, helmets and catcher’s gear all provided)
Locker room facility
Gym Access
All players are provided an equal opportunity to showcase their abilities.

Affiliation(s):
The coaches for the winter league are also coaches in the Empire League and United Shore Pro Baseball League during the summer.

Additional Info:
PRIBL FAQ’s – Official Site

Registration: 2018 PRIBL Registration

South Florida Winter League

When: 
October 28th – November 16th.

Where:
Fort Lauderdale, Florida

Cost:
$950 without housing
$2,200 with housing

What’s covered:
Games
Housing
Breakfast
Professional Coaching and instruction
Evaluation from managers and scouts from established Leagues with the ability to sign players
Uniforms( jersey hat, bp shirt and shorts players are responsible to bring grey pants)
Transportation for Baseball Activities and airport
If you can bring your own car it’s recommended

Affiliation(s):
Staff listed include managers from the Frontier League and the United Shore League, a coach from the Atlantic League and a pitching coordinator for the Phillies as well as additional “scouts.”

Additional Info:
The League’s Official Website 

Registration: 2017 Fall Camp Registration

Cocoa Expo Pro Winter League

When:
November 2nd – 22nd

Where:
Cocoa, FL

Cost:
$2,750

Affiliation(s):
No official Affiliation

Additional Info:
Winter 2017 will make the 2nd season of the Pro Winter League since our $50 Million restoration/renovation project of the 23 season Houston Astros facility.  Last season’s Winter League over 100 players were evaluated by Scouts and Coaches from MLB, the Frontier League, Canadian League, Japenese League, Pacos League, Atlantic League, Independent League and many others.  More than 30 players were signed and 2 recieved offers from MLB.  This winter 2017 event stands to be even better with more than 300 players expected to attend along with more Scouts and Coaches.

Cocoa Expo’s Professional baseball Winter League is like no other in the U.S. We provide a special setting for Scouts and Coaches to evaluate players unlike other faclities. From our 35,000 sq.ft. training facility that boasts 14 indoor batting cages with 7 video simulated probatter machines, to our 11 professional fields. Scouts and Coaches that are looking to sign players can evaluate you better here than anywhere else and players get more exposure.  In addition everything is provided at one single location.  Players never have to leave the complex.  We provide housing onsite, all meals are included and onsite with our master chef preparing with food displayed and served at our exclusive buffet spread.

Step out of the Rec Hall and Cafeteria and jump right into the 35,000 sq ft. training center that houses $1million in weight equipment, steppers, treadmills, eliptials, climbers and more than 110 stations.  No facility can compare.  At Coao Expo’s Winter League you’ll receive evaluation at our facilities and will have no need to leave.


I’ll admit that I have never heard of the Cocoa Expo Pro Winter League. They state that this is their second year in existence, but I do not personally know any player that attended.

Registration: Official Site and Registration 

 

What is Going on with the Desert League?

There have been a lot of questions surrounding the start-up Desert League.  Readers of Indy Ball Island have been commenting asking what is going on, but up until now we have received very few answers.

I recently asked owner Luke Powell if he would be willing to address all of the issues that our readers have brought up in previous posts.

Below is the email that I received:

Kayla,
Where do I start? First of all, one of our workers has been fired because he stole money and did not do his job with the host families. We did not have host families. I had to rent 4 apartments and 3 houses for the players. I also have players living at the Howard Johnson hotel, and I have paid all of that. The houses reek of weed and have been trashed so I am sure I will lose deposits, and I may take that out of the player checks I mean, really?
I also housed and fed several players during spring training that did not have money. All players have food provided before or after games. We have had 5 players get hurt and go the the hospital and our insurance covered them. We have been current on all payrolls until yesterday. We were short yesterday so everyone got paid roughly half, some got all of their money. I have a wire coming that will be here Monday or Tuesday at the latest and the players will be all paid up. I told all the guys that were dead broke or starving to come see me, and I gave them money to get by on until our wire comes thru on Monday.
All the games in Imperial County were cancelled due to fire damage to one field and the city failed to get the other field ready… So I had 21 games cancelled. Those games were made up in Yuma with the 7 inning double headers. I promised the guys 48 games and that is what I intended to do. Imperial county did not return my money, and I had to pay Yuma for the extra games….so basically I had to pay double. All the sponsorships that were sold in Imperial County were returned to the sponsors since we had to cancel the games. We ended up have to play a ton of double headers to make up for that.
I also paid for the players to be transported to and from the field for our Mexico games in private taxis. Food was provided in Mexico as well. During the season, several players have came to me broke, and I gave them an advance or gave them a job so they could earn money to survive. We also gave them $6 all-you-can-eat cards for Golden Corral.
Umpires have been terrible. They too were paid upfront in advance ,and they have been late, showed up without a full crew, or failed to show up at all for some games. We have had to reschedule because of that too. We also paid them for 100 dozen baseballs since my Pecos League baseballs were stolen in training camp along with my pa sound equipment. Of the 100 dozen baseballs, we only received 75 but we are going to make it work. I also got a new pa system.
Kira Clark, from the Empire League is doing stats. She has them and the league leaders are posted as well as rosters…finally! She is trying her best. All of the stats will be uploaded on our website as well as sports engine. We have them….think about how would we know who the leaders were if we did not have the stats? Next year things will be a lot different…
It was the worker who got fired’s job to sell sponsorships and get people to the games. In the USA we have sold like 20 tickets all season….people paid for sponsorships and the money came up missing. So no fans and no sponsors means that I am losing money. But that’s okay because next year I will handle everything, and we will make a profit….no doubt.
All the players for the most part are happy except for the ones playing poorly or the ones that get released. There are a few that are complaining, but that’s everywhere right? We have got jobs for guys in affiliated ball, in Venezuela, the Mexican league and with Sioux Falls. People make fun of us for selling guys to mexico, but those contracts were for 36,000 US dollars and one for 66,000 US dollars…far more than anyone else makes in indy ball….
So players are housed, being paid and getting food, and I am doing this out of my own pocket because I got robbed of my attendance and sponsor money. I had to refinance some of my oilfield equipment to make this thing work. I am not mad, not sad, but I will just correct it and make it better and make a profit next year.
I just can’t believe with all the bullshit in indy league baseball from MRPBL to the Empire to Cummings and the North Coast League of whatever it was to the Ozark Heartland League…that I am getting heat. Our level of play is outstanding compared to Empire and Pecos. We are not going anywhere, and we are only gonna get better. Thanks for giving me a chance to tell my side…
As far as Juan working for us and being a felon, it is true. He did his time, and he finished his probation. One of coaches is Lester Douglas, ex-big leaguer and retired probation officer. John Guy is a retired sheriff. They will tell you Juan is a great baseball guy, and yeah he made a few mistakes and paid for them, but he is directly responsible for selling Hoffman to the Phillies and getting the other two guys to Mexico. He has done one hell of a job, and he is working extremely cheap. He even coached 3rd baseball in the Caribbean world series one year…So yeah, I guess you could say we have cops and cons working for us. One of our umpires is a local corrections officer and another one has a record, and they work on the same crew. We are all working together to help baseball players and the league……
The official website of the Desert League can be found HERE.