That was a very interesting read. Interestingly, the White Sox have most of their MiLB teams within a couple hour drive of each other in the Carolinas so they can utilize a lot of the same coaching specialists for all those levels. Pitching coaches, hitting coaches, scouts, etc. It's not a stretch to think other teams will try that.
This trend is going to have drawbacks though. Baseball is at risk of becoming boring, or should I say more boring than it already is?
MLB’s approach to the minor leagues is ripe for change in part because of how much data can be collected off the field these days. Independent hitting instructor Doug Latta tells his clients that they “don’t need much space to get better,” as improving via reps, video analysis and ball-tracking tech lessens the need for a player to play in regulation games. Latta worked with Marlon Byrd, Justin Turner and Hunter Pence in various storage-like facilities just before they changed their approach at the plate and improved their performance. Cody Bellinger was already a good major league player but became great this season after he changed his swing in similar modest spaces last winter. While batting cages have existed since Rickey invented them, they’ve never been the feedback machines they are today when outfitted with ball-, bat- and body-tracking tech.
Players are becoming baseball-playing robots. There are so many players now that are clones. Guys that hit 20-25 HR/year, hit .270 and are athletic enough to field a position pretty well. They are often utterly clueless about things that take experience and "feel" for the game, such as baserunning. There are no sensors that can tell you when to go for the extra base.
If MLB is in the business of creating the perfect baseball player, and making all players as close as they can to that perfect player, then all of this is good. If they are in the business of entertaining people, then all of this is not necessarily good. Keep shrinking the number of minor league teams. Youth baseball is continuing to shrink and has been for years. Make all the players start to conform as much as possible to one way of playing, one set of skills. Baseball is at risk of becoming a weird old-timey relic like Opera or Orchestra. Rich, old people appreciate these things when they are done well and that's about it.