Update on 2021 Minor League Baseball – Revision 4

Second day in a row with no new announcements.  Maybe because MLB is trying to keep tighter containment on this information.  But within the next three weeks, I would expect that all of the details are announced.

But until then, I decided to take a different approach to Class A.  Originally, my approach was to keep as many teams at their current level, but based on some rumors, I think that it may be better to try to keep more affiliates the same.  I did break from that convention where I thought it made more sense, like putting the Rockies Low A team in the California League rather than the South Atlantic League.  I also took this as an opportunity to create a true Carolina League, but some options can be swapped between there and the South Atlantic League.  But this is a fun exercise to see another way that things may end up.

I dislike not having West Virginia as a Pirates affiliate most, but Nationals isn’t too much of a stretch.  I could have gotten more creative and added Trenton back in somewhere, but that really complicates things.

I also made AAA two even teamed leagues by putting St. Paul in the International League.  Unless you make three leagues, which you could do pretty cleanly by time zone, there’s no obvious way to make 16 and 14 team leagues.

So let me know what you think of the latest version.  I’ll keep making updates when new information is available.

This is my best attempt at piecing together the leaked information with some attempt at logic and keeping as much in place from 2019 as reasonable.  Red denotes changes.  Blue denotes ownership stake.  Question marks are things I made up.

So according to this Minor League Baseball would look something like this:

International League (AAA)
Buffalo Bisons – Blue Jays
Charlotte Knights – White Sox
Columbus Clippers – Indians
Durham Bulls – Rays
Gwinnett Stripers – Braves
Indianapolis Indians – Pirates
Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp – Marlins
Lehigh Valley IronPigs – Phillies
Louisville Bats – Reds
Norfolk Tides – Orioles
Worcester Red Sox (2019 Pawtucket Red Sox) – Red Sox
Rochester Red Wings – Twins Nationals?
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders – Yankees
St. Paul Saints – Twins
Syracuse Mets – Mets

Toledo Mud Hens – Tigers

Pacific Coast League (AAA)
Albuquerque Isotopes – Rockies
El Paso Chihuahuas – Padres
Fresno Grizzlies – Nationals – Move to California League (Low A)
Iowa Cubs – Cubs
Las Vegas Aviators – A’s
Memphis Redbirds – Cardinals
Nashville Sounds – Rangers
Oklahoma City Dodgers – Dodgers
Omaha Storm Chasers – Royals
Reno Aces – Diamondbacks
Round Rock Express – Astros Brewers?
Sacramento River Cats – Giants
Salt Lake Bees – Angels
San Antonio Missions – Brewers – Move to Texas League (AA)
Sugar Land Skeeters – Astros
Tacoma Rainiers – Mariners
Wichita Wind Surge (2019 New Orleans Baby Cakes) – Marlins – Move to Texas League (AA)

Eastern League (AA)
Akron RubberDucks – Indians
Altoona Curve – Pirates
Binghamton Rumble Ponies – Mets
Bowie Baysox – Orioles
Erie SeaWolves – Tigers
Harrisburg Senators – Nationals
Hartford Yard Goats – Rockies
New Hampshire Fisher Cats – Blue Jays
Portland Sea Dogs – Red Sox
Reading Fightin Phils – Phillies
Richmond Flying Squirrels – Giants
Somerset Patriots – Yankees
Trenton Thunder – Yankees

Southern League (AA)
Biloxi Shuckers – Brewers
Birmingham Barons – White Sox
Bowling Green Hot Rods? – Reds?
Chattanooga Lookouts – Reds
Jackson Generals – Diamondbacks
Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp – Marlins Move to International League – AAA
Mississippi Braves – Braves
Montgomery Biscuits – Rays
Pensacola Blue Wahoos – Twins Marlins
Rocket City Trash Pandas (2019 Mobile BayBears) – Angels
Tennessee Smokies – Cubs

Texas League (AA)
Amarillo Sod Poodles – Padres
Arkansas Travelers – Mariners
Corpus Christi Hooks – Astros
Frisco RoughRiders – Rangers
Midland RockHounds – A’s
Northwest Arkansas Naturals – Royals
San Antonio Missions – Diamondbacks?
Springfield Cardinals – Cardinals
Tulsa Drillers – Dodgers
Wichita Wind Surge – Twins?

Carolina League (High A)
Carolina Mudcats – Brewers Move to South Atlantic League?
Columbia Fireflies? – Braves?
Down East Wood Ducks – Rangers

Fayetteville Woodpeckers – Astros
Frederick Keys – Orioles
Greensboro Grasshoppers? – Pirates
Greenville Drive? – Red Sox

Lynchburg Hillcats – Indians Move to South Atlantic League?
Myrtle Beach Pelicans – Cubs Move to South Atlantic League?
Salem Red Sox – Red Sox Move to South Atlantic League?
Winston-Salem Dash – White Sox

Mid-Atlantic League (High A)
Aberdeen IronBirds? – Orioles
Brooklyn Cyclones – Mets
Fredericksburg Nationals (2019 Potomac Nationals) – Nationals
Hudson Valley Renegades – Yankees
Jersey Shore BlueClaws? – Phillies
Wilmington Blue Rocks – Royals

Midwest League (Low A) (High A)
Beloit Snappers – A’s Rays?
Bowling Green Hot Rods – Rays – Move to Southern League (AA)?
Burlington Bees – Angels
Cedar Rapids Kernels – Twins
Clinton Lumber Kings – Marlins
Dayton Dragons – Reds
Fort Wayne TinCaps – Padres
Great Lakes Loons – Dodgers
Kane County Cougars – Diamondbacks Marlins?
Lake County Captains – Indians
Lansing Lugnuts – Blue Jays
Peoria Chiefs – Cardinals
Quad Cities River Bandits – Astros
South Bend Cubs – Cubs
West Michigan Whitecaps – Tigers
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers – Brewers

Northwest League (A – Short Season) (High A)
Boise Hawks – Rockies
Eugene Emeralds – Cubs Giants?
Everett AquaSox – Mariners
Hillsboro Hops – Diamondbacks
Salem-Keizer Volcanoes – Giants
Spokane Indians – Rangers Angels?
Tri-City Dust Devils – Padres
Vancouver Canadians – Blue Jays A’s

California League (High A)(Low A)
Fresno Grizzlies – Rockies?
Lake Elsinore Storm – Padres
Lancaster JetHawks – Rockies
Modesto Nuts – Mariners
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes – Dodgers
San Bernardino Inland Empire 66ers – Angels
San Jose Giants – Giants
Stockton Ports – A’s
Visalia Rawhide – Diamondbacks

Florida State League (High A)(Low A)
Bradenton Marauders – Pirates
Charlotte Stone Crabs – Rays
Clearwater Threshers – Phillies
Daytona Tortugas- Reds
Dunedin Blue Jays – Blue Jays
Florida Fire Frogs – Braves
Fort Myers Mighty Mussels – Twins
Jupiter Hammerheads – Marlins
Lakeland Flying Tigers – Tigers
Palm Beach Cardinals – Cardinals
St. Lucie Mets – Mets
Tampa Tarpons – Yankees

South Atlantic League (Low A)
Asheville Tourists – Rockies Astros?
Augusta GreenJackets – Giants Royals?
Carolina Mudcats? – Brewers
Charleston Riverdogs – Yankees Reds?
Columbia Fireflies – Mets Move to Carolina League?
Delmarva Shorebirds – Orioles
Greensboro Grasshoppers – Pirates Move to Carolina League?
Greenville Drive – Red Sox Move to Carolina League?
Hagerstown Suns – Nationals
Hickory Crawdads – Rangers
Jersey Shore BlueClaws – Phillies Move to High A Mid-Atlantic League?
Kannapolis Cannon Ballers – White Sox
Lexington Legends – Royals
Lynchburg Hillcats? – Indians
Myrtle Beach Pelicans? – Cubs

Rome Braves – Braves
Salem Red Sox? – Red Sox
West Virginia Black Bears? – Nationals?
West Virginia Power – Mariners

NY-Penn League (A – Short Season)
Aberdeen IronBirds – Move to Class A
Auburn Doubledays
Batavia Muckdogs
Brooklyn Cyclones – Move to Class A
Hudson Valley Renegades – Move to Class A
Lowell Spinners
Mahoning Valley Scrappers
Norwich Sea Unicorns
State College Spikes

Staten Island Yankees
Tri-City ValleyCats
Vermont Lake Monsters
West Virginia Black Bears – Move to Class A
Williamsport Crosscutters

Appalachian League (Rookie – Short Season)
Bluefield Blue Jays
Bristol Pirates
Burlington Royals
Danville Braves
Elizabethton Twins
Greeneville Reds
Johnson City Cardinals
Kingsport Mets
Princeton Rays
Pulaski Yankees

Pioneer League (Rookie – Short Season)
Billings Mustangs
Grand Junction Rockies
Great Falls Voyagers
Idaho Falls Chukars
Missoula PaddleHeads
Ogden Raptors
Orem Owlz
Rocky Mountain Vibes

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36 Responses to Update on 2021 Minor League Baseball – Revision 4

  1. Chin says:

    Looks good, Mike. I’d probably shift the Rangers into Round Rock in AAA, and slot the Brewers into Nashville.

    But, looks like some changes are needed again — now we have to fit Lowell into the Mid-Atlantic League?!

    I guess that means the Red Sox are leaving Salem or Greenville?

    https://www.masslive.com/redsox/2020/11/boston-red-sox-affiliate-lowell-spinners-might-join-newly-formed-high-a-mid-atlantic-league-per-sources.html

  2. Chin says:

    Should’ve read the entire article before posting. It’s a weird bit of news. Lowell will either be in the Mid-Atlantic League (with Aberdeen, Brooklyn, Hudson Valley, Jersey Shore and Wilmington), or won’t be in affiliated ball at all. Super confusing.

    And another bit of news that could disrupt things:

    https://twitter.com/ballparkdigest/status/1327311022441574400

    Ballpark Digest
    @ballparkdigest
    “Things are pretty much final now. One team decision left to make after a big decision involving three MiLB affiliates and three MLB teams one being the Jays — was hammered out yesterday morning.”

    I had the Jays maintaining affiliation with the top four they’ve had for years, but I guess not. Maybe the random guy I saw tweet “Jays to Rochester for AA” the other day as a way to get Richmond to the Nats’ AAA wasn’t joking.

  3. Al says:

    Mike, thanks for putting the full list together. It’s satisfying to see it laid out like this. There are a few tweaks I would make, but that doesn’t mean they are right! Anything this complicated will always have surprises.

    For Triple-A, I have no clue if they are going to add another central league. That was taken as a given about a year ago, but I haven’t heard much since. The sticking point might be that there are only 7 logical options for a Pacific/Mountain PCL. But if we see a 14-team PCL and 16-team IL, I think it would make more sense to put Nashville in the IL. As weird as it is to separate them from Memphis, the Sounds are closer to Louisville and also pretty close to Gwinnett, Charlotte, Indy, etc.

    I think that Quad Cities article that was linked on one of these comment sections was pretty reliable. Seems like Dave Heller and Co. will keep the Bandits affiliated. Anyone’s guess who would take their place. My guess (and purely a guess) is Kane County.

    Chin, thanks for the links.

    That Lowell article mentions sources, but it’s hard to guess how the Red Sox would pull that off. You’d think they would be more likely to keep Salem over Greenville since they actually own Salem. Would that mean the end of the Drive? Maybe. Or they could find a new parent and take down their mini Green Monster. One team from that region that I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see go is Lynchburg. The Braves were trying to get them to move to Wilmington, NC, in like 2014 or so, but the stadium deal never got done.

    That Ballpark Digest quote is wacky. Could it be Lansing? Also…something we might be totally missing is that any number of complex-based FSL teams could possibly be phased out. Yes, they are mostly owned by the parent club. But if the parent club would rather just not field a team, what would really stop that? (although, all reports so far indicate that it will be a 10-team league)

    But yeah, Jays to Rochester with Richmond swapped up seems logical. It would be nuts to Rochester lose the IL. They have some sort of record like “pro team in any sport in one league for longest unbroken time period.”

  4. Chin says:

    Could be Lansing. That’s a solid location for the Blue Jays.

    How married are the Red Sox to Salem? I know they own it, but that was a “avoid the California League” purchase (Astros, Brewers and Rangers bought into the Carolina League for the same reason). From what I’ve heard, Greenville is a much nicer facility.

    Hey, let’s fill a slot in the Carolina League: https://twitter.com/RobBiertempfel/status/1327257189002579968
    RobBiertempfel
    @RobBiertempfel
    Per the Bradenton Herald, Pirates president Travis Williams said High-A Bradenton and Class A Greensboro will not be affected by minor league downsizing next year..
    Williams made his comments during a Zoom call on Thursday with the Manatee Chamber of Commerce

    “‘High A’ Bradenton” is probably just a slip, I guess? This is probably not a good sign for West Virginia, either.

    So that helps in configuring Carolina and SAL a little, as it sounds like Greensboro will be High A, and once you figure out where Boston will be (if Lowell happens), Salem or Greenville, you’ve got an easy Low A slot to fill.

    One more – Tigers will stay in Toledo (AAA), West Michigan (High A) and Lakeland (Low A). They’re also fairly confident that they’ll be back in Erie for AA, but have an unnamed backup plan if Erie does get cut: https://www.freep.com/story/sports/mlb/tigers/2020/11/13/detroit-tigers-minor-leagues-heres-west-michigan-lakeland-eria-connecticut/6279355002/

    Would Trenton be the backup plan? Or their NY-Penn league site in Norwich, a former AA facility?

  5. Al says:

    Hey Chin,

    I’m trying to process the possibility of Rochester to the Eastern League. Would you be able to link to the tweet from the guy who said they’re going to be the Double-A team for the Jays? I wonder if he has any obvious connection to info sources.

  6. Chin says:

    A1, here ya go. I really think he’s just joking, but who knows?

    https://twitter.com/mbuckley917/status/1326316687130570752

  7. Al says:

    Seems like a joke, but the more you think about it…

    The Jays would get the ideal AA-AAA-MLB geographic setup, plus a Triple-A caliber park in the Eastern League.

    The Nats would get a close by AAA affiliate and potentially a very powerful regional network of affiliates. Not a bad thing for a team building a fan base. Imagine Richmond, Harrisburg, Wilmington, Fredericksburg. All are half a day’s drive or less from DC.

    The Giants would get…the Fisher Cats, I guess.

    Nothing seems too crazy these days, and there’s a lot of logic to this rumor. We’ll see.

  8. Mike McCann says:

    Definitely a lot going on here, but I’ll try to break it into relevant chunks.

    I agree that Nashville – Brewers and Round Rock – Rangers makes more geographic sense, but I don’t know if the Rangers would want to give up the new facilities in Nashville that they signed a four year PDC for in 2018. I know the contracts are essentially meaningless at this point, but I think it shows their desire to be there. That being said, I could easily see the Rangers going to Round Rock. And agree that Nashville makes more sense in the IL than St. Paul, but I was trying to keep Nashville and Memphis together. A three team league definitely makes the most sense, and maybe MLB will realize that in the next few years if they haven’t already.

    It is difficult to read into many of these articles where they say that teams are safe because I don’t know if that means they are staying as the same affiliate, or if they are just not getting contracted. I suppose it’s possible that Rochester and Richmond could swap levels with the Blue Jays going to Rochester, Nationals to Richmond, and Giants to New Hampshire. If there is some truth to a three team switch involving the Blue Jays, that would be one of the most logical ones. And if I was forced to make another choice about a Blue Jays swap, I’m going to guess that they give up Lansing in favor of Wilmington (or maybe we see Trenton reappear instead of West Virginia).

    My other thought is that since there is so much going on now that there will still be many aftershocks in upcoming years. There are no more two year PDCs, so I could see some teams regretting their decisions and trying to make changes in the next few years. Another factor would be some of the teams that lost teams either building new stadiums or making significant upgrades to existing ones to lure teams back, but that may be longer term.

    I’m not sure how much stock to put into an article that says for Lowell it’s the Mid-Atlantic League or nothing. I agree with that premise, but I think the most likely scenario is nothing. However, that is an interesting point about the MLB owned teams. Above the Appalachian League, none of those teams were on the contraction list. I haven’t seen anything about any compensation for teams that are lost, so I don’t know if the MLB teams are keeping the teams they owned because they would lose more money if they lost them. Agree that a number of purchases were made just so teams could stay out of the California League, but with this new system, that’s really not relevant. So I don’t know if you will see the teams get sold in the near future.

  9. Thomas A Mills says:

    Just to throw more confusion at you…. Guy who tweets about Indians farm system says this….

    Very curious to see what happens w/ #Indians minor league affiliate in Lynchburg. Hearing the Hillcats have pared down staff & might not be able to meet new MiLB facility requirements set by MLB.

    https://twitter.com/indiansPro/status/1327647012376940545

  10. Mike McCann says:

    That’s an interesting one. Lynchburg wasn’t on the initial list, but I thought that there would be additional teams that wouldn’t make it. Since it sounds like Trenton doesn’t want to join the Atlantic League and I’m sure they have adequate facilities, I wouldn’t be all the surprised to seem them drop into one of the A leagues. I don’t see any obvious choices for the Indians among the other teams and I would be extremely surprised to see Mahoning Valley return to be added to the South Atlantic League.

  11. Chin says:

    All great points, Mike. I think when all is said and done, a lot of these wild scenarios will end up not happening and most of the moves will be fairly logical.

    That Lynchburg news really muddles things up. I guess that could mean good news for a place like Frederick.

    I’m going to start tracking the changes from the original cut list. So far, Binghamton’s now off. Pulaski and Trenton weren’t on the list but are (pretty much) confirmed gone.

  12. Thomas A Mills says:

    One more. The guy that runs Redsminorleagues.com who sometimes has good info, posted this after I predicted Augusta and Bowling Green for Reds…..

    I’ve heard some speculation, and some rumors that I’ll keep to myself. But I’ll say this: I haven’t heard anything about Bowling Green or Augusta. That doesn’t mean it’s not happening, but that’s not what I’ve heard.

  13. Al says:

    Mike, like you, I’ve thought about how this first go around with the new minor league system is basically guaranteed to have some glitches. We’ll see how the licensee system works. I’ve heard 5-year deals, 10-year deals, or even custom length depending on stadium leases and such. Another factor is MLB expansion, which many insiders expect to happen this decade, if not within 5 years or so. That would boost things up to 128 teams, and we’d probably see some promotion/demotion like we’re seeing now. There was some of that in the run-up to the 1993 and 1998 expansion rounds.

    It would definitely not be surprising to see Lynchburg go. When Binghamton was saved, that booted some other team out of the 120. Maybe that was Lynchburg, or maybe there will be a bunch of these surprise teams cut out. I could see Cleveland latching on with another Sally League team or even going with a Cal League team like Fresno if necessary.

  14. Al says:

    Thomas, that’s interesting to hear about the Reds. I suppose if he hasn’t heard anything about those teams, he hasn’t heard anything. But….if he has heard some things about the Reds, I’m surprised to hear that he’s heard nothing about Bowling Green.

    Would it be completely shocking to see Bowling Green stay in the MWL? It’s hard to make the numbers work. So far, we haven’t seen any indication that there will be any leagues with only 4 teams or any leagues with odd numbers like the NHL has done for the past few years. There was talk last fall about “flattening” Single-A, where the two levels would just be one 60-team level, but the supporters of that idea were overruled.

    The easiest answer is usually correct. I still think that Bowling Green is getting the bump to the Southern League. It’s easy to see why the Reds would want a regional cluster of Dayton to Bowling Green to Louisville.

  15. Al says:

    Sorry for dumping something else, but I missed this one yesterday from a reputable source.

    https://twitter.com/RobBiertempfel/status/1327257189002579968

    “Per the Bradenton Herald, Pirates president Travis Williams said High-A Bradenton and Class A Greensboro will not be affected by minor league downsizing next year. Williams made his comments during a Zoom call on Thursday with the Manatee Chamber of Commerce.”

    Most people seemed to take this to mean that Greensboro would stay with the Pirates, though the quote just says they would not be affected by downsizing. Every team at Single-A is affected by the downsizing though – even Bradenton is moving levels.

    Anyway, if we take this to mean that Greensboro is staying with Pittsburgh, then they would have to transfer to the Carolina League. IMO, if the Pirates are satisfied with Greensboro, it makes it much less likely that West Virginia is in the 120. Not a rule out, but I think the geographic distance from any other team is a barrier. Morgantown (along with Lexington and Charleston, WV) could be a good fit for the Frontier League.

  16. Thomas A Mills says:

    A guy who says he is a reporter for WVGazette (but no blue dot) says Charleston, WV didn’t make the cut.
    ________
    Looks like professional baseball in Charleston is over.
    Word is W.Va. Power will be demoted to the Appalachian League, which will become a collegiate wood bat league in 2021.

  17. Thomas A Mills says:

    Some Ohio stuff (My team is the Reds). Several other people are doing this exercise on the web. A couple of them have Dayton going to Eastern League as AA. They would be western most city if that happened. Not so sure about that one.

    One had Reds going to Asheville for Low A. I googled Asheville Tourists to see if there was any scuttlebutt. There was not. But here’s a VERY interesting factoid I discovered. Mike DeWine is the current Governor of Ohio. He’s from the Dayton area. His family are longtime Reds fans.

    Mike DeWine and his family own the Asheville Tourists !!!

  18. Al says:

    Thomas, thanks for the scuttlebutt.

    Not surprised to hear the Power are leaving, but the Appy League is definitely a surprise! Charleston is fairly close to Princeton and Bluefield, so I guess this makes sense. Reading between the lines, it’s hard to imagine the Appy at eleven teams, so I wonder if another regional team is also being added. Lynchburg is relatively close to Danville, Pulaski, and Burlington. (Let’s assume Salem will be in the Sally, but they’re in the zone as well)

    Asheville is also in that territory, but I like the idea of the DeWine connection with the Reds even better. Was that just a random speculative comment (like we’ve got here) or a reporter?

    Promoting Dayton to the Eastern League would make much less sense than Bowling Green to the Southern, and there are no Eastern League teams left to demote. I’m ignoring Erie because JJ Cooper specifically identified them in a podcast as being a team from the original list of 42 that is expected to be saved. The Dragons are a very vital franchise, but things like attendance and fan interest are mostly irrelevant in this new version of the minor leagues. You can bet the Reds would be very happy with a Louisville-Bowling Green-Dayton-(Asheville?) chain.

  19. Thomas A Mills says:

    Yeah, the Reds/Asheville thing is just me doing some dot-connecting. Reds need a Low A slot, Reds fan Ohio Governor owns a Low A Team in a process that is fairly political.

    I’d actually prefer Charleston, SC. (Closest to me). But once you think about it Asheville, makes a lot of sense.

  20. Chin says:

    Lynchburg Hillcats GM today:

    Christopher Jones
    @cjrock98
    I think the SAL will include 3 teams in Virginia (Salem, Fredericksburg and Lynchburg).

    https://twitter.com/cjrock98/status/1328425392835846146

  21. Thomas A Mills says:

    That Lynchburg GM was responding to the Indians guy we had posted earlier. He about 3 posts. Was very adamant that Lynchburg is surviving.

    I guess their is a plan to build a new stadium in Richmond for VCU and the Flying Squireels will share it. But that wheels are turning slowly. 2023 . Per Ballpark Digest

  22. Chin says:

    Mark Berman
    @MarkBermanFox26
    Sources: The #Astros have reached an agreement with the ownership of the Sugar Land Skeeters to name the @SL_Skeeters their Triple-A affiliate. The Astros will also have an ownership stake in the Skeeters franchise.

    https://twitter.com/PalmerReport/status/1328436042471534592

  23. Al says:

    https://www.dallasnews.com/sports/rangers/2020/11/16/sources-rangers-reunion-with-aaa-round-rock-possible/?outputType=amp&__twitter_impression=true

    JJ Cooper retweeted this. As careful as he’s being these days, you have wonder if this is more likely than not. Reunion for Rangers and Round Rock. Could another for Nashville and Milwaukee be in the works? Or do the Nats have other plans?

  24. Thomas A Mills says:

    Slightly off topic, but with the talk of Montreal getting an expansion team one day….. you could right a lot of wrongs.

    AAA – Ottawa (Intnl)
    AA – Rochester (Eastern)
    High A – Trenton (Mid Atlantic)

  25. Chin says:

    Expansion will definitely be an opportunity to right a handful of the wrongs from this bumbled MiLB reorg. But yeah, you could also see cities currently without teams like Ottawa (also thinking New Orleans) jump back in and nab the spots that, in a more fair universe, would go to teams that were victims of this ugly process, like Trenton.

    Since geography matters, I wonder how they would handle expansion to balance leagues while still keeping affiliates relatively close to parent clubs? You expand to Montreal and Portland, how do you make Low A work? That sort of thing.

    I went back and looked at the new affiliates assigned to expansion teams during the last two rounds, but that’s probably not very useful in determining how the process would play out 20+ years later.

  26. Al says:

    I was going to post this the other day but we were a little over-saturated with speculation and these are some weird tea leaves to try to read.

    https://ballparkdigest.com/200905261902/minor-league-baseball/news/affiliate-dance-2012

    I’m not going to read into this too much, but I find it odd that there’s a question mark next to the Stone Crabs but not the Clearwater Threshers for example. Some weird stuff in the Cal League as well. I’m going to chalk it up to sloppiness till we hear otherwise. But interesting that Ballpark Digest linked to it on Twitter today.

  27. Chin says:

    Okay, yeah. That’s really interesting.

    So Florida and Daytona were on the initial cut list released last year. Ballpark Digest’s current status for those:

    Florida: Gone daddy gone
    Daytona: FSL shifting to Low A; team looks to make the cut

    I know Daytona has been working on stadium upgrades. So potentially good news for them. (Side note: I recently caught a rerun of the show “House Hunters”, and the person house shopping was the current Daytona GM. So I’m happy he doesn’t have to move, haha.)

    The FSL teams with MLB owners have status quo on future affiliation, with a note about shifting to Low A. Reds still listed for Daytona , while Charlotte, Florida and Ft. Myers(?) have question marks. Looks like the Twins don’t own Ft. Myers.

  28. Al says:

    I’m trying to take all this with a giant grain of salt. But maybe Reichard heard Daytona will be saved and is speculating about which team will replace. That would explain the question marks by FM and Charlotte.

  29. Al says:

    Ballpark Digest said that Richmond to AAA was scuttled last Friday. Nats/Red Wings and Brewers/Sounds seems more and more likely, but we’ll see.

  30. Thomas A Mills says:

    The Reds minor league guy I mentioned earlier says Balpark Digest is suggesting Daytona and Chattanooga are surviving as Reds affiliates. Which is what he’d been hearing for last couple weeks

  31. Chin says:

    Ballpark Digest has Jackson safe, along with Chattanooga. But I get 31 teams now at AA on that tracker.

    Interesting that he’s got the Rays to Charleston (which I’ve heard previously). Though if the Rays don’t have Charlotte for Low A, that leaves Charleston’s level as a question mark, could be High A or Low A.

    He has the Marlins in Augusta, and seems fairly confident about that. I guess that means Augusta in High A?

  32. Chin says:

    ^^^Oops, meant Marlins in Asheville.^^^

  33. Al says:

    With Jacksonville leaving the SL, one more team needs to go as well. I really don’t think Jackson is going to make it. They were rumored to be moving to New Orleans two years ago when the Wichita news broke. I’m happy to hear some reassuring news about the Lookouts and if it’s true, I’ll be very curious to hear their specific plan to renovate the park.

    It’s looking like a good chance Bowling Green will be staying in the MWL. If Quad Cities is safe too we may see a 14-team MWL. That could mean one of the other high A leagues would have to roll with four teams. Other thoughts on how this could work?

  34. Chin says:

    I’m more confused now than I have been in a while. AAA seems to be shaping up more or less as expected, but everything else is a mess.

    Would they do a four-team league?

    Ever watch “The Battered Bastards of Baseball” on Netflix, about the Portland Mavericks baseball team? They were unaffiliated/independent, but played affiliated teams in the Northwest League. Could they do something like that, some MLB-supported independent teams to help flush out schedules?

  35. Al says:

    Love that movie and yes, the NWL and several other leagues used to have a mix of affiliated and indy clubs – Pioneer League was about 50/50 as recently as the nineties.

    But I don’t see it happening again. We need to think of the precious and pampered prospects. You can’t have some 42-year-old has-been hurling high and inside at your top draft pick.

    As far as scheduling goes, I think it could get really weird moving forward. MLB is going to take over scheduling completely. I also have this sense that MLB is is going to emphasize what’s best for the player over things like competitive integrity or balanced scheduling. I mean, it’s kind of like that already.

    I’ve been to a decent number of minor league games over the years, and honestly, I think that if you asked the game attendees the next day who the opponent was, maybe half could tell you that. I’m sure that less than 10% could tell you their local club’s position in their league’s standings. Most fans are there for entertainment and fun night out and MLB teams just want their players to develop.

    So if it serves their purposes, I wouldn’t be surprised to MLB roll out some nutty scheduling scenarios and things like imbalanced divisions (like 3 in one, 5 in another) for less travel. They’re already expected to eliminate the minor league all-star games. Are playoffs going to axed too?

    So if you had a 4-team league, you could just have a team play the other three teams any number of games as best suits purposes. They would almost be like barnstorming exhibition games.

    Those are just some speculative thoughts that I’ve had this year. No idea if they have any semblance of reality.

    But a 4-teamer may be necessary if the MWL is stuck at 12 teams.

  36. Chin says:

    It’s probably a long shot, though I was thinking more along the lines of teams made up recent college players who weren’t drafted. Similar I guess to the “Dream League” teams in the original reorganization plan, only they’d play affiliates rather than each other. A way to get those guys some more exposure by having them play affiliated teams. But I get your point about risking prospects playing against guys who aren’t tied to MLB teams.

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