Under normal circumstances, every organization would have months of statistics and data through which to evaluate their prospects at summer's end. Club officials would have a sense of how much the 19-year-old in Class A has refined a needed changeup, how the Double-A shortstop has cleaned up his erratic throwing and whether the promising young hitter has improved his plate discipline.
Evaluation of the youngest players might become the greatest challenge in the industry if there are limited minor league games or no games whatsoever. Last month's agreement about service time between Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association means that the conveyor belt will keep moving forward, with Mookie Betts, J.T. Realmuto and others advancing into free agency, with some of their peers taking another step up the arbitration ladder -- creating the natural talent vacuum behind them.
Who will be ready to move into the big leagues or to the top of the minor league system will be more difficult to assess. The old saying goes that spring training results are meaningless, but that might not necessarily apply in the spring of 2021, when each team might have to bear down and weigh player progression with greater intensity than ever.
That challenge might well apply to all organizations. But each team also will face a context unique to itself next winter, following what will inevitably be the strangest of seasons. With so much uncertainty about what will happen this summer and the shape of the financial landscape next winter, these are the major questions looming for each team as they move past 2020.