BA’s Bill Mitchell looks on the AIL, which kicked off on Sept. 24:
While instructional league rosters consist primarily of recent draft picks and newly-signed Latin teenagers, the AIL is populated more with players who already have reached high Class A, or advanced college players getting their first taste of pro ball. The teams have earmarked certain players to participate in the league, although rosters are somewhat fluid with players going back and forth from regular instructs as needed. Among the players appearing in the first days of the Advanced league were righthander Brad Boxberger (Reds, supplemental first-round pick in 2009); outfielder Engel Beltre (Rangers); catcher Josh Phegley (White Sox, supplemental first round), infielder Johnny Giavotella (Royals); and outfielder Scott Van Slyke (Dodgers). … By the same token, the pitchers in the Advanced League are aware that they will gain from facing better hitters. “It gives you more feedback because it gives you time to face guys with a little more experience or ability,” said righthander Taylor Thompson, the White Sox’ 44th-round draft pick this year.