You’ve probably heard about the plan to eliminate approximately a quarter of affiliated minor league teams. It will primarily impact the short season rookie league teams in the NY-Penn, Appalachian, Northwest, and Pioneer leagues. The E-Twins are the only current Twins affiliate on the list of effected teams, however there are other teams you may care about on the list.
The Elizabethton (TN) Twins play in the Appalachian league, so its not a terrible surprise to see them on the list. They finished their 2019, and potentially final, season at 33-34; one game below .500 and 1.5 games out of first place. In the tightly contested short season, that was good for a fourth place finish. Among the players who passed through this year were highly rated prospects Landon Leach and Matt Canterino. Those guys will probably find a new baseball home, but many of the lower-rated prospects may find themselves out of affiliated baseball.
There are also potential legal ramifications, as the MiLB team owners, and in many case cities, have made major investments into their facilities at behest of the MLB. Elizabethton is a great example of this—prior to the 2019 season, they made 2.1 million dollars in clubhouse upgrades. The Twins made these upgrades a condition of keeping the team affiliation, and contributed $800,000 and the city paid for the rest. This means, however, the taxpayers of Elizabethton are on the hook for $1.3 million in upgrades to keep a team, that they won’t be able to keep.
While the E-Twins are not being given the opportunity, some short-season teams will see a jump up to a full-season league, as the leagues are re-aligned in the interest of geographic compactness. Necessarily, this means some full season teams are on the chopping block, which includes the former Twins affiliate in Double-A, the Chattanooga Lookouts, who just switched affiliations to the Cincinnati Reds.
While the Twins affiliate in Cedar Rapids is safe, several of their rivals from the Midwest League are not. The Burlington Bees, Clinton Lumberkings, and Quad Cities River Bandits who all play in Iowa (aka Twins Territory) are also getting chopped. Additionally, the entire Pioneer league, which plays in Montana, Idaho, Utah, and Colorado is being eliminated.
How do you feel about the MiLB restructuring plan? Let us know in the comments!
How do you feel about MiLB restructuring?
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Hate it, it will kill grassroots baseball
It sucks, but its a necessary evil
Ambivalent, it doesn’t really impact me
Its long overdue, I’m glad its finally happening