MLB unveils trimmed down minor leagues
Major League Baseball unveiled its restructured minor league system last week, with all 30 big league clubs extending invitations to four farm teams apiece.
How it works: Under the newly configured system, every franchise will have a Triple-A team, a Double-A team, a high-Class A team and a low-Class A team, along with a variety of developmental teams.
- In an effort to streamline geographical footprints, affiliations were also shifted among franchises.
- For example: The Nationals' Triple-A affiliate shifted from Fresno, California, to Rochester, New York, while the Twins' Triple-A affiliate shifted from Rochester, New York to just across the river in St. Paul.
Why it matters: The number of affiliated minor league teams has been reduced from 160 to 120, altering the fate of 40 clubs.
- Good news for some: After three decades as one of America's most successful independent teams, the St. Paul Saints are now the Twins' Triple-A affiliate. It's exciting news for the Saints, and the 10.6-mile drive between stadiums means the Twins can now call up and send down players with ease.
- Bad news for others: The Salem-Keizer (Oregon) Volcanoes found out via social media that they would no longer be the Giants' Class A affiliate. "For a partnership of 26 years to end that way feels like a slap in the face," said CEO Mickey Walker. "I think heartbreak is an appropriate term."
The big picture: On top of the minor league shakeup, MLB is also forming its own amateur leagues for college players — a decision that has sent a chill through wood-bat college summer circuits from Cape Cod to Alaska.
Go deeper: Our May profile on the Cape Cod League