Tag Archives: independent baseball winter leagues

Q & A with Gary Snyder (Fiesta Winter League)

As in the past, Indy Ball Island always strives to give new startups a fair chance at showing what they’re all about.

I recently had the opportunity to do a Q & A with Gary Snyder, owner of the Fiesta Winter League (FWL), to provide players and fans with more information about the upcoming league.


You’re currently involved in a few projects. What is the Military Baseball Team that you’re currently working with?

The Fiesta Winter League’s current involvement with the US Military baseball team was for player development and scouting of players to possibly sign to the FWL or to refer them to the Mexican leagues.

We signed six players from various countries:
Bahamas (1 player)
Venezuela (1)
Virgin Islands (1)
USA (3)

What is the pay/housing/travel situation for those players?

The US Military baseball team tour was a pay to play league that offered military & non- military players an opportunity to play baseball in three different states. They provided them housing, a charter bus & meals .

What is the Fiesta Winter League? How many teams will the league have and where will it take place?

The Fiesta Winter League was created for all players who are looking for a place to play during the Fall/Winter months for their own needs;  For example: a player wanting more stats, improve on their mechanics, stay game ready or to prepare for spring/summer baseball leagues while also having opportunities to be seen by the Mexican leagues.

Currently the FWL is offering four teams with a roster of 23 players and two coaches .
All four teams will be playing at Ray Kroc Baseball Complex in Yuma, AZ.

Are the players being paid or will it be a pay-to-play league?

The FWL is a combination of players who are already signed and looking to extend their season, stay game ready and increase stats as well as those looking to get opportunities to play vs top talent and possibly get signed to a higher independent paying league.
Because of this, the FWL doesn’t pay their players. We do offer an accessible fee so that they can achieve their personal performance goals and enjoy the passion for high level baseball.

What is the housing situation for these players?

The hotel sponsor is Budgetel
They will be offering rates for double beds for the season at a 1 time fee of $240 per player* which includes continental breakfast and on some weekend nights special live music & appetizers.
(*This is based on 2-3 po which is paid to hotel directly with coupon from team coach.)

What does the season schedule look like? What dates are you running?

Sept 27-28 Pre-invite 2 day showcase for players at Joe Orduno Field in San Luis, AZ
Sept 29-30 2 day mandatory league showcase Ray Kroc Baseball Complex in Yuma, AZ
Oct 1 inter-squad scrimmage @8am. Draft @1pm and players report to club house @5pm
Oct 2-22 FWL inaugural season

All Fiesta Winter League scheduled games will be at the Ray Kroc Baseball Complex in Yuma, AZ and the All-Star game will be held at Arizona Western Community College vs AWC Topped-Ranked Matadors.

What type of scouting do you expect?

Scouts for the Mexican League will actively be sending and placing players to teams in:
“LIV” liga invernal veracruzana A ,
“LMP” liga Mexicana Pacifico AAA ,
“LMB” liga Mexicana beisbol AA-AAA ,
“LNM” liga norte de Mexico A-AA
“LAB” Liga Argentina beisbol.

We’re also happy to provide and recommend players to all US independent & affiliated league teams as well.

Will players have official stats recorded online?

Yes. There will be access to live up-to-date stats and live video streaming provided online through pointstreak.com under FWL official stats site.

What are the chances players will be able to sign to higher leagues?

Throughout the past year of just offering exhibition games and direct international tryouts, the FWL have had players signed to:
LIV 🇲🇽 (8 players)
LMP 🇲🇽 (2)
LMB 🇲🇽 (3)
LNM 🇲🇽 (2)
AA 🇺🇲 (1)

Players have a higher opportunity to sign for a future independent level while playing during FWL and receiving live stats & video game feeds that they can use to showcase their abilities. A professional player should always be in shape and getting reps for scouts and future league contracts.
FWL gives them the opportunity to play competitive baseball on US soil at an accessible cost.

Do you have any age/experience restrictions for players?

FWL offers the opportunity to players 18+
World-wide, with or without player eligibility.

So many of these leagues go dark shortly after starting, or do not happen at all. Are you confident enough in your financials that this league will last and succeed? How are you funding it?

Great question and statement…
The honest reality is that these leagues come and go regardless of who comments or provides truth. The best word of advice for a player is to do your homework wisely before you make a decision to spend $1 dollar to X amount.
Check social media, websites, baseball movements and sponsors.

I’m glad the FWL model is a steady and secure opportunity, and that it’s based on people who are from Yuma, Arizona. These people are known highly in the community and are dedicated to baseball, which provides an opportunity for bringing in higher connections in both baseball and the city.

The FWL 2019 inaugural season has already been paid for since March 2019 and will be paid through until FWL instructional 2020 in March as well. Our funding has been gathering since June of 2018 through personal accounts and international team sponsorship and development. So I believe our model is strong & backed for years to come.

We’re the only official league to play VS LMP, LMB & LNM 🇲🇽  (Single A through AAA teams) because of our strong ties & top talent. We’re a feeder for new talent to be discovered or rediscovered.

When are tryouts and where can players get further information on them?

Players can register on Facebook event links or www.fiestawinterleague.com (yellow tabs with each location & date available)

July 28 , 2019
La Sierra university RIVERSIDE California
8 am @100 early bird / $125 @ location

August 24,2019
Chandler Arizona
8am @100 early bird / $125 @ location

Sept 7,2019
San Diego California
8am @100 early bird / $125 @ location

Sept 29-30
2 day mandatory League Showcase
Ray Kroc baseball complex Yuma az
8am @$350 early bird / $450 @location
Received $25 back by mentioning Indy Ball Island.

Is there anything else you would like to add about the league?
Player will have opportunities to do one on ones with their coaches and get in extra work plus have direct contact with the owner and media.
Players will have opportunities to understand a professional contract, the terms and what is needed to sign one for future purposes. Creating 5 Tool players on the field and off the field is our goal to get you ready for spring.
FWL will also be giving back to community through neighborhood community service, kids clinics and big brother programs.
Our goal is to better baseball and community ties overall.


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

All the time.

All across the country.

Varies. No set “cost.”

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

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

Palm Springs Stadium Complex, California.

$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:
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

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

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

Ray Kroc Baseball Complex (Yuma, Arizona)

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
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

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

November 1st – 20th

Houston, TX

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

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

March 5th – 28th.

Houston, TX

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

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

March 4th to April 1st 2018

Rincón, Puerto Rico

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.

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

October 28th – November 16th.

Fort Lauderdale, Florida

$950 without housing
$2,200 with housing

What’s covered:
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

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

November 2nd – 22nd

Cocoa, FL


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