While the Civil War between MLB and MiLB continues, the recent affiliate announcement by the Yankees gives some clues as to the future landscape of minor-league baseball.
Perhaps most notable is how one of the affiliation swaps is with former indy-league team Somerset, which will replace Trenton in AA. Hudson Valley will become the new High-A affiliate for the Yankees, which also confirms that the Florida State League will shift from High-A to Low-A in 2021, as multiple sources have speculated.
Likewise, the Yankees said that former affiliates Staten Island and Trenton will be offered spots in the new “partner” Atlantic League while Charleston is, sorry to get technical here, SOL.
A look at the former PDC list appears to suggest the dissolution of the PBA between MLB and MiLB has nullified any existing PDCs, given that Trenton had been signed through 2022.
Mike McCann, who runs minorleaguesource.com (previous link), has taken a SWAG at how this might shake out, and it’s worth taking a look as his blog is devoted to the macro of the minors while this one is usually devoted to the micro of the Nats’ minors.
Some highlights from his version of events:
- The F-Nats would move to the new Mid-Atlantic League, joining affiliates from the Orioles (Aberdeen), Yankees (Hudson Valley), Phillies (Wilmington), Mets (Tri-City), and Pirates (West Virginia)
- As speculated in the comments, Rochester would be the Nats’ AAA home
- Harrisburg stays put in the Eastern League and at AA
- Hagerstown is out, but no new home is named, though there’s a whole lot of TBDs in the Sally
The first thing that really sticks out to me is that there are still some West Coast teams with affiliates on the East Coast, specifically MASN-Commenter-favorite Richmond (Giants) and Hartford (Rockies). However, both teams are fairly near to airports and there are no obvious “trades” to be made that would be beneficial to both parent clubs.
The second thing is that there are probably going to be some more independents turning into affiliated clubs. While I have a hard time wrapping my head around Frederick being left out of affiliated ball, I would have said the same thing about Trenton, too. Now I’m starting to think that my circa-2015 joke about Jimmy Yezzo finally making it to Washington (PA, Wild Things, Frontier League) could be sort of a prediction.
Finally, the obligatory reminder/caveat that everyone—Baseball America, Ballpark Digest, your grandmother—makes: Until the list of 120 is released, we’re really all just guessing.