There’s been some interesting minor league news over the past few days. Late last week, JJ Cooper of Baseball America reported on the negotiations for a new Professional Baseball Agreement between Major League Baseball and teams in the minors. The article, which is behind the Baseball America paywall, focuses on the upgrades that teams will need to make to their facilities. Teams will be given time to get things up to par, but there’s a penalty point system in the proposal that could lead to teams losing their “development license”, too.

From the reporting, very few facilities in the minor leagues currently meet enough of the new proposed protocols to be “safe”. For some teams there could be concerns that upgrading to meet the standards simply would be too expensive.

More than one minor league owner wondered if it would be possible that a team could decline a spot among the 120 remaining affiliated teams because they could see the new facility standards as simply too costly to meet.

Reporting in a separate Baseball America article over the weekend suggested that Major League Baseball may not announce who the 120 franchises are that will remain in affiliated baseball at the minor league level. From within that article it’s noted that the New York-Penn League could become another wood-bat college summer league – this one for college seniors.

That “senior league” is actually an interesting development with regards to a team we all know here – the Billings Mustangs. They are not in the New York-Penn League, of course, but it was apparently one option that the Pioneer League was potentially believing could be on the table for them. If the New York-Penn League is now being offered an MLB sponsored “senior” wood-bat league, with the Appalachian League hosting freshman and sophomores, and the Cape Cod League being the go-to for juniors – there’s not much left for the Pioneer League as far as some sort of MLB sponsored league it would seem.

The Rule 5 protection date is November 20th this year. That’s the date in which teams must add players to the 40-man roster in order to keep them from being selected in the Rule 5 draft, which will take place on December 10th “at” the winter meetings (which are being held virtually this year). Over the next two-and-a-half weeks I’ll be going through the organization and different position groups to look at players who could be protected. The quick eligibility is anyone drafted in 2016 or earlier, or college players drafted in 2017. With players signed on the international market, it’s going to require a little more research as to when they signed and how old they were when they signed.

8 Responses

  1. MK

    Interesting Brooks Raley had his option picked up by Astros and was outstanding for them after the trade. But he wasn’t good enough to pitch for Reds. Should be getting player to be named later soon.

  2. MK

    Wonder what happened to plan to have New York Penn League and Florida State League combine. FSL getting first half and NYP the second half of season. Makes real sense from weather standpoint. Too cold up north early too hot and rainy in Florida late. All communities in both keep a team. They become Low A and Midwest League becomes High A. Sounded like a great plan.

    • Doug Gray

      Baseball America made it sound like we’d have an announcement of the 120 teams that are sticking around in a few weeks, and I’d imagine that with that will come the news of who is going to be in what league. It feels like there were a lot of initial plans that were floated out there but for one reason or another, they didn’t really stick.

  3. James Phillips

    Knocking the NY-Penn league out of affiliated baseball will kill the Hudson Valley Renegades. They’ll give it a good shot, but I can’t imagine they can survive.

    • Doug Gray

      I struggle to see how a lot of teams that lose their affiliation will survive in the long run. I also struggle to see how some teams that keep theirs will survive given the new facility upgrade requirements.

      • MK

        Not the best of times to ask for community piblic dollars as most local and state governments are in as much funding trouble as many individuals.

      • Krozley

        The top two independent leagues, the Atlantic and American Association, averaged over 3,000 fans per game in 2019, both higher than the NY-Penn (2,644), Pioneer (2,493), and the other leagues that will mostly go away. Independent league teams can do just fine and play more games in a season if they want to drive up overall attendance. Certainly not a guarantee, but not the death blow many expect.

        Interesting example, the independent South Maryland Blue Crabs averaged 3,044 fans in 2019 and their neighbor 30 miles away, the AA Bowie Baysox, averaged 3,256. Not that big of difference.

  4. DaveCT

    Doug, did you see the Austin Hendricks home run from his Instagram feed? An absolutely beautiful swing.