Minor league baseball restructuring: Full list of 119 affiliate invites sent out by MLB teams
MLB’s desire to reshape, restructure and rearrange the minor leagues hasn’t been much of a secret for a long time. Now, we know what MLB expects/hopes the geographic landscape to look like, in 2021 and the future.
Baseball America first broke the news last October that MLB was planning to cut the number of minor league teams from 162 to 120 — four per franchise — and on Wednesday, invitations went out to 119 of those teams. What does that mean?
It means that MLB has evaluated every franchise — facilities, geography, politics, etc. — and picked what it felt would be the best 120 locations/teams to populate the franchises for four levels (Triple-A, Double-A, High-A and Low-A). Here’s a great explainer. Each MLB team sent “invitations” to the four teams it wants to be affiliated with going forward. Some of those teams are owned by the parent team — for example, three of the four Cardinals affiliates going forward are owned by the Cardinals — so there wasn’t much drama there.
It’s up to teams to accept those invitations, which are basically terms and conditions both sides have to adhere to (Player Development Contracts). The invitations are written by MLB, so even though many affiliates will immediately accept, some owned by individuals will at least have a moment to pause and consider their next step.
Our statement on the Seattle Mariners affiliate invitation: pic.twitter.com/rvY3giyjq4
— Tacoma Rainiers (@RainiersLand) December 9, 2020
Here’s the list of 119 invitations sent out, gleaned from team press releases and information reported by Baseball America. Only the Rockies are lacking one team; ongoing discussions between MLB and Fresno are holding up the final spot. Fresno has been a Triple-A town for a long time, but MLB is only offering a Class A spot.
Full list of minor league MLB affiliates for 2021
Angels Triple-A: Salt Lake Bees Double-A: Rocket City Trash Pandas High-A: Tri-City Dust Devils Low-A: Inland Empire 66ers
Astros Triple-A: Sugar Land Skeeters Double-A: Corpus Christi Hooks High-A: Asheville Tourists Low-A: Fayetteville Woodpeckers
Athletics Triple-A: Las Vegas Aviators Double-A: Midland Rock Hounds High-A: Lansing Lugnuts Low-A: Stockton Ports
Blue Jays Triple-A: Buffalo Bisons Double-A: New Hampshire Fisher Cats High-A: Vancouver Canadians Low-A: Dunedin Blue Jays
Braves Triple-A: Gwinnett Stripers Double-A: Mississippi Braves High-A: Rome Braves Low-A: Augusta GreenJackets
Brewers Triple-A: Nashville Sounds Double-A: Biloxi Shuckers High-A: Wisconsin Timber Rattlers Low-A: Carolina Mudcats
Cardinals Triple-A: Memphis Redbirds Double-A: Springfield Cardinals High-A: Peoria Chiefs Low-A: Palm Beach Cardinals
Cubs Triple-A: Iowa Cubs Double-A: Tennessee Smokies High-A: South Bend Cubs Low-A: Myrtle Beach Pelicans
Diamondbacks Triple-A: Reno Aces Double-A: Amarillo Sod Poodles High-A: Visalia Rawhide Low-A: Hillsboro Hops
Dodgers Triple-A: Oklahoma City Dodgers Double-A: Tulsa Drillers High-A: Great Lakes Loons Low-A: Rancho Cucamongo Quakes
Giants Triple-A: Sacramento River Cats Double-A: Richmond Flying Squirrels High-A: Eugene Emeralds Low-A: San Jose Giants
Indians Triple-A: Columbus Clippers Double-A: Akron RubberDucks High-A: Lake County Captains Low-A: Lynchburg Hillcats
Mariners Triple-A: Tacoma Rainiers Double-A: Arkansas Travelers High-A: Everett AquaSox Low-A: Modesto Nuts
Marlins Triple-A: Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp Double-A: Pensacola Blue Wahoo High-A: Beloit Snappers Low-A: Jupiter Hammerheads
Mets Triple-A: Syracuse Mets Double-A: Binghamton Rumble Ponies High-A: Brooklyn Cyclones Low-A: St. Lucie Mets
Nationals Triple-A: Rochester Red Wings Double-A: Harrisburg Senators High-A: Wilmington Blue Rocks Low-A: Fredericksburg Nationals
Orioles Triple-A: Norfolk Tides Double-A: Bowie Baysox High-A: Aberdeen Ironbirds Low-A: Delmarva Shorebirds
Padres Triple-A: El Paso Chihuahuas Double-A: San Antonio Missions High-A: Fort Wayne TinCaps Low-A: Lake Elsinore Storm
Phillies Triple-A: Lehigh ValleyIron Pigs Double-A: Reading Fightin Phils High-A: Jersey Shore BlueClaws Low-A: Clearwater Threshers
Pirates Triple-A: Indianapolis Indians Double-A: Altoona Curve High-A: Greensboro Grasshoppers Low-A: Bradenton Marauders
Rangers Triple-A: Round Rock Express Double-A: Frisco Rough Riders High-A: Hickory Crawdads Low-A: Down East Wood Ducks
Rays Triple-A: Durham Bulls Double-A: Montgomery Biscuits High-A: Bowling Green Hot Rods Low-A: Charleston Riverdogs
Reds Triple-A: Louisville Bats Double-A: Chattanooga Lookouts High-A: Dayton Dragons Low-A: Daytona Tortugas
Red Sox Triple-A: Worcester Red Sox Double-A: Portland Sea Dogs High-A: Greenville Drive Low-A: Salem Red Sox
Rockies Triple-A: Albuquerque Isotopes Double-A: Hartford Yard Goats High-A: Spokane Indians Low-A: TBD (possibly Fresno Grizzlies)
Royals Triple-A: Omaha StormChasers Double-A: Northwest Arkansas Naturals High-A: Quad City Bandits Low-A: Columbia Fireflies
Tigers Triple-A: Toledo Mud Hens Double-A: Erie SeaWolves High-A: West Michigan Whitecaps Low-A: Lakeland Flying Tigers
Twins Triple-A: St. Paul Saints Double-A: Wichita Wind Surge High-A: Cedar Rapids Kernels Low-A: Fort Myers Mighty Mussels
White Sox Triple-A: Charlotte Knights Double-A: Birmingham Barons High-A: Winston-Salem Dash Low-A: Kannapolis Cannon Ballers
Yankees Triple-A: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders Double-A: Somerset Patriots High-A: Hudson Valley Renegades Low-A: Tampa Tarpons