Update on 2021 Minor League Baseball – November 11

News came out that the Rochester Red Wings would no longer be a Twins affiliate, so that falls in line with the information that St. Paul would be gaining a AAA team and it would become the Twins affiliate.  This appears to set up the Nationals as the most logical replacement in Rochester, although people in Richmond are optimistic that this could mean that the Nationals AAA team is moved there.  I suppose it’s possible if they could get a new stadium deal promised (which they’ve been working on for years), but then the interesting question would become which team would drop down to AA.  Rochester would be the odd man out, but you can’t assume anything.

Since there are no changes to the previous speculative scenario, I’ll skip showing it today.

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15 Responses to Update on 2021 Minor League Baseball – November 11

  1. Chin Chou says:

    The guy who runs Ballpark Digest told me Myrtle Beach will still be a Cubs affiliate. I take that to mean MB will be moving down to Low A, assuming the Cubs stay in South Bend in a High A Midwest League.

    But he also said things are far from settled…

  2. Al says:

    Ah – that was you. Saw that too.

    Yes, and if Myrtle Beach is in the Sally, I think it’s highly unlikely that Charleston is going to High-A Carolina League. Since Augusta is reported to be staying in the Sally, it would be weird for Charleston to be floating down there alone. I suppose there would be some possible setup where Charleston and Columbia get promoted, but it seems much more likely that both will stay in the Sally.

    Right? (I don’t know what to believe anymore)

  3. Chin says:

    Yeah, I don’t know what to think anymore. This has been a fun exercise, trying to figure out the new leagues, but it’s getting a little out of hand…

    I was just staring at the list of current Carolina League teams, with Ballpark Digest’s line from last week “…the Carolina League may end up being a real Carolina League” stuck in my head. So do those current Carolina League teams in Virginia drop to Low-A SALLY? Or do some fit into the Mid-Atlantic League? How do you make a “Carolinas only” High A league without Carolina, Charleston, Columbia and Myrtle Beach and making sure both the White Sox and Texas keep their two A affiliates in North Carolina?

    I actually went a little off the rails earlier this morning trying to fit Richmond into AAA by dropping Gwinnett to High A (Astros to Sugar Land, Rangers to Round Rock, Braves to Nashville). Silly, I know.

  4. Al says:

    Man I am right there with you regarding the Sally/Carolina mess. You mentioned the White Sox and Rangers. I think the Red Sox are a factor too since they own Salem and Greenville is built to be Boston affiliate, right down to their mini Fenway. Then there’s the Brewers and the question of the Mudcats needing to be opposite the MWL.

    I could see an all-Carolina league being Greenville, Columbia, Winston/Kannapolis, Hickory/Down East, Fayetteville, and some other random team that’s apparently not Augusta, Charleston, Myrtle Beach, or the Mudcats. Greensboro?

  5. Mike McCann says:

    When putting together the list, it sounds like I was too focused on keeping teams in the same league than with the same MLB team. Well, for the Carolina / Mid-Atlantic / South Atlantic debacle, in all other instances it made sense. So maybe I should assume that Lynchburg stays with the Indians and Myrtle Beach stays with the Cubs and both drop to Low A. And I agree with Al’s potential all-Carolina League list: Columbia (Braves), Down East (Rangers), Fayetteville (Astros), Greensboro (Pirates), Greenville (Red Sox) , Winston-Salem (White Sox). So here the Pirates remain in Greensboro, which would move the Black Bears to the SAL and Wilmington back to the Mid-Atlantic League as the Royals affiliate. And that means that the Marlins and Rays are in the Midwest League. And feel free to swap the Rangers and White Sox teams between High and Low A. You know, this scenario actually isn’t all that farfetched. Is that worth publishing?

  6. Chin Chou says:

    @Mike, of course, I think we’d all like to see what you’ve come up with.

    @A1, good call. Having been in this area for so long, I guess it’s hard to think about Charleston not in the same league with Greenville and Columbia.

    My thinking on the High A league in the region, I feel like it would have to include Atlanta, Miami and Tampa, if regionalizing really is the goal here. And then of course the Rangers, White Sox and Red Sox (can’t believe I forgot them!) really have to fit as well. And that would force the Astros to follow the Brewers in moving their owned franchise into Low A. Astros stay in Quad Cities for High A? Or stay in Tri-City in the new Mid-Atlantic League?

  7. Al says:

    Kevin Reichard is a cryptic tweeter.

    https://mobile.twitter.com/ballparkdigest/status/1326971581441208322

    “Somehow it seems so on-brand and appropriate for @mlb to potentially announce the results of its overhaul of @milb on Friday the 13th.”

    This can be interpreted a few different ways but I take it to mean that he heard from somewhere that the announcement is going to be tomorrow. Anyone else?

  8. Chin says:

    Yeah, based on this follow-up in the thread, he sure seems to be suggesting something is coming. He’s, uh, a little snarky at times, too, haha.

    Ballpark Digest
    @ballparkdigest
    Somehow it seems so on-brand and appropriate for @mlb to potentially announce the results of its overhaul of @milb on Friday the 13th.

    Mike Sellers
    @puk32ellers
    Replying to @ballparkdigest @MLB and @MiLB
    Do you have reason to believe they’ll be announcing it tomorrow?

    Ballpark Digest
    @ballparkdigest
    Replying to @puk32ellers @MLB and @MiLB
    Well, that would sorta go without saying given the tweet, wouldn’t it?

  9. Al says:

    Chin, we keep seeing the same things at the same time.

    Good thought about how ATL, MIA, TB would be interested in a high-A “Carolinas” league. There was that rumor going around about the Rays being interested in Charleston. Though it seems weird (geographically) to separate Charleston and Myrtle Beach, I can see:

    Greenville – Red Sox
    Wood Ducks or Crawdads – Rangers
    Dash or Cannon Ballers – White Sox
    Columbia – Braves
    Charleston – Rays
    Mystery team – Marlins?

    The reason I put both affiliates of Texas and Chicago is that I can easily see their current affiliates switching levels if it makes for more travel efficiency. So if Fayetteville is the mystery team, maybe Down East is included. If Greensboro is the mystery team, maybe Hickory gets a promotion, etc. And even though the lines between high and low A are now very blurred, if there’s going to be a general “better facilities at higher levels” norm, then you can’t get much higher than Kannapolis right now.

    It would be very odd to see this new Carolina League carve out a chunk out of the middle of this region rather than do a north/south split. I mean, we might see Myrtle Beach, Augusta, and Rome in a spread-out line in the southern portion of the Sally, then a handful of some NC teams, then VA, and ending in the north with Fredericksburg (maybe) and Delmarva.

  10. Chin says:

    Yeah, no matter how you try to slice it up, something awkward always sticks out.

    I have issues with this, but:

    South Atlantic League (Low A)

    South
    Augusta – Reds
    Charleston – Royals
    Down East – Rangers
    Fayetteville – Astros
    Myrtle Beach – Cubs
    Rome – Braves

    North
    Carolina – Brewers
    Delmarva – Orioles
    Fredericksburg – Nationals
    Kannapolis – White Sox
    Lynchburg – Indians
    Salem – Red Sox

    Carolina League (High A)

    Asheville – Braves
    Columbia – Marlins
    Greensboro – Rays (not too far from Durham…)
    Greenville – Red Sox
    Hickory – Rangers
    Winston-Salem – White Sox

    And for good measure:
    Mid Atlantic League (High A)
    Aberdeen – Orioles
    Brooklyn – Mets
    Jersey Shore – Phillies
    Somerset – Yankees
    Tri-City – Astros
    Wilmington – Nationals

  11. Al says:

    Your Sally League is pretty much the way I see it too.

    The only change I’d make to the Carolina League is that I would be surprised to see the Braves go for Asheville. Atlanta is one of those teams that has enough leveraging power that they can chase the nicest facilities available. McCormick Field is more on the old time icon side. But then again, MLB is making the matches so who knows.

    For the Mid-Atlantic, you have Somerset on there – I’m guessing you meant to put Hudson Valley. Tri-City is a wildcard to me. It’s a vital franchise with a good fanbase, but I think they’re just too far north. It’s hard to justify that without an ironclad reason, and I’m not sure that the Astros would bang the drum to keep the ValleyCats in affiliated ball.

    So even though they’re really far west, I’d give West Virginia the edge over Tri-City. I think the Pirates will want to keep them around. Now that I say that – watch Pittsburgh go sign on with Beloit or something.

  12. Chin says:

    Ah, yeah, my bad, haha. I definitely meant Hudson Valley there. I started playing around with these scenarios months ago, long before the Somerset rumors started. When they did, I didn’t think the Yankees would really dump Trenton, so I started putting Somerset into A-level leagues. I guess I still have a hard time seeing them as AA.

    Good point on the Braves. (I’m a Mets fan, so I don’t want nice things for my rivals.) Could swap them into Columbia. I also thought about putting Augusta in the Carolina and Columbia in the SAL, but that really segregates Rome from the rest of the SAL.

    You could definitely go either way with West Virginia or Tri-City. I had read an article a few weeks ago about the Pirates potentially losing West Virginia, so I was going off that. But I’ve found a lot of times local reporters don’t always grasp what’s going on with this story (no fault of theirs, it’s pretty complex at times), so West Virginia could be safe. It’s just as easy to keep the Astros in the Midwest League, and a lot of teams seem to like it there anyway — I’ve heard the Padres and Dodgers don’t want to leave (which makes it easy to put the other West Coast teams into the six-team NW League).

  13. Al says:

    If West Virginia doesn’t make it into the 120, I wouldn’t be that surprised to see Trenton in the new league. In a recent article for the Athletic, that co-owner of the Thunder was interviewed and said that Trenton is not interested in joining the Atlantic League.

    “In the future, we’re open for business,” Plumeri told The Athletic. “We’d love a major-league team to come to Trenton. It’s a great place. The fan base is great, we’ve done great things for the community, and just to abandon it and leave us as orphans is not right.”

    They may have totally burned the bridge with all the comments they’ve made, but then again, it’s also been a PR mess for MLB. Maybe Trenton will get a new home in the new league with some unknown parent club.

  14. Chin says:

    Awesome, good find. I have an Athletic subscription, but I missed that article.

    This Yankees blogger says Trenton declined the Atlantic League invite: https://twitter.com/RPimpsner/status/1326584624462618625

    Here’s the article I was referencing regarding West Virginia. But the author very much could’ve just misinterpreted based on the the New York-Penn league being cut I could definitely see the Pirates lobbying for this spot:

    https://dkpittsburghsports.com/2020/10/31/pirates-black-bears-minor-league-affiliate-cut-mlb-wooden-bat-news-ajs

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