MLB unveils new format for minor league baseball divisions and affiliated team names for every level


MLB as expected announced on Friday that it has taken control of affiliated minor-league baseball and implemented changes that have been anticipated for some time. 

Most importantly, the affiliated minor leagues — i.e., those teams operating in cooperation with and under the aegis of MLB franchises — have been reduced to 120 clubs. That constitutes a reduction of more than 40 teams from the preexisting format. As well, minor league baseball will no longer operate independently of MLB, as MLB has now assumed control of affiliated ball now that those 120 teams have signed off on the new agreement. 

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred released the following statement on Friday: 

“We are excited to unveil this new model, which not only provides a pipeline to the Majors, but continues the Minor Leagues’ tradition of entertaining millions of families in hundreds of communities. In modernizing our Minor League system, we prioritized the qualities that make the Minor Leagues such an integral part of our game while strengthening how we develop professional athletes on and off the field. We look forward to demonstrating the best of our game throughout local communities, supporting all those who are working hard to grow the sport, and sharing unrivaled technology and resources with minor league teams and players.”

For the time being, MLB is referring to the affiliated minors as the Professional Development League (PDL), but it’s widely expected that MLB will sell naming rights to the circuit, not unlike the NBA‘s G League. 

Via MLB.com, here are the 120 affiliated minor league teams and the names and breakdowns of each sub-league at what are now four different levels: 

Triple-A

Triple-A East

Midwest Division
Columbus Clippers (Indians)
Indianapolis Indians (Pirates)
Omaha Storm Chasers (Royals)
St. Paul Saints (Twins)
Toledo Mud Hens (Tigers)

Northeast Division
Buffalo Bisons (Blue Jays)
Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Phillies)
Rochester Red Wings (Nationals)
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Yankees)
Syracuse Mets (Mets)
Worcester Red Sox (Red Sox)

Southeast Division
Charlotte Knights (White Sox)
Durham Bulls (Rays)
Gwinnett Stripers (Braves)
Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Marlins)
Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals)
Nashville Sounds (Brewers)
Norfolk Tides (Orioles)

Triple-A West

East Division
Albuquerque Isotopes (Rockies)
El Paso Chihuahuas (Padres)
Oklahoma City Dodgers (Dodgers)
Round Rock Express (Rangers)
Sugar Land Skeeters (Astros)

West Division
Las Vegas Aviators (A’s)
Reno Aces (D-Backs)
Sacramento River (Giants)
Salt Lake Bees (Angels)
Tacoma Rainiers (Mariners)

Double-A

Double-A Central

North Division
Arkansas Travelers (Mariners)
Northwest Arkansas Naturals (Royals)
Springfield Cardinals (Cardinals)
Tulsa Drillers (Dodgers)
Wichita Wind Surge (Twins)

South Division
Amarillo Sod Poodles (D-Backs)
Corpus Christi Hooks (Astros)
Frisco RoughRiders (Rangers)
Midland RockHounds (A’s)
San Antonio Missions (Padres)

Double-A Northeast

Northeast Division
Binghamton Rumble Ponies (Mets)
Hartford Yard Goats (Rockies)
New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays)
Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox)
Reading Fightin Phils (Phillies)
Somerset Patriots (Yankees)

Southwest Division
Akron RubberDucks (Indians)
Altoona Curve (Pirates)
Bowie Baysox (Orioles)
Erie SeaWolves (Tigers)
Harrisburg Senators (Nationals)
Richmond Flying Squirrels (Giants)

Double-A South

North Division
Birmingham Barons (White Sox)
Chattanooga Lookouts (Reds)
Rocket City Trash Pandas (Angels)
Tennessee Smokies (Cubs)

South Division
Biloxi Shuckers (Brewers)
Mississippi Braves (Braves)
Montgomery Biscuits (Rays)
Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Marlins)

High-A

High-A Central

East Division
Dayton Dragons (Reds)
Fort Wayne TinCaps (Padres)
Great Lakes Loons (Dodgers)
Lake Country Captains (Indians)
Lansing Lugnuts (A’s)
West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers)

West Division
Beloit Snappers (Marlins)
Cedar Rapids Kernels (Twins)
Peoria Chiefs (Cardinals)
Quad Cities River Bandits (Royals)
South Bend Cubs (Cubs)
Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (Brewers)

High-A East

North Division
Aberdeen IronBirds (Orioles)
Brooklyn Cyclones (Mets)
Hudson Valley Renegades (Yankees)
Jersey Shore BlueClaws (Phillies)
Wilmington Blue Rocks (Nats)

South Division
Asheville Tourists (Astros)
Bowling Green Hot Rods (Rays)
Greensboro Grasshoppers (Pirates)
Greenville Drive (Red Sox)
Hickory Crawdads (Rangers)
Rome Braves (Braves)
Winston-Salem Dash (White Sox)

High-A West

Eugene Emeralds (Giants)
Everett AquaSox (Mariners)
Hillsboro Hops (D-Backs)
Spokane Indians (Rockies)
Tri-City Dust Devils (Angels)
Vancouver Canadians (Blue Jays)

Low-A

Low-A East

Central Division
Carolina Mudcats (Brewers)
Down East Wood Ducks (Rangers)
Fayetteville Woodpeckers (Astros)
Kannapolis Cannon Ballers (White Sox)

North Division
Delmarva Shorebirds (Orioles)
Fredericksburg Nationals (Nationals)
Lynchburg Hillcats (Indians)
Salem Red Sox (Red Sox)

South Division
Augusta GreenJackets (Braves)
Charleston RiverDogs (Rays)
Columbia Fireflies (Royals)
Myrtle Beach Pelicans (Cubs)

Low-A Southeast

East Division
Daytona Tortugas (Reds)
Jupiter Hammerheads (Marlins)
Palm Beach Cardinals (Cardinals)
St. Lucie Mets (Mets)

West Division
Bradenton Marauders (Pirates)
Clearwater Threshers (Phillies)
Dunedin Blue Jays (Blue Jays)
Fort Myers Mighty Mussels (Twins)
Lakeland Flying Tigers (Tigers)
Tampa Tarpons (Yankees)

Low-A West

North Division
Fresno Grizzlies (Rockies)
Modesto Nuts (Mariners)
San Jose Giants (Giants)
Stockton Ports (A’s)

South Division
Inland Empire 66ers (Angels)
Lake Elsinore Storm (Padres)
Rancho Cucamonga Quakes (Dodgers)
Visalia Rawhide (D-Backs)

In addition to the 120 minor league teams that have signed Professional Development Licenses, MLB will also operate additional teams within complex leagues in Arizona and Florida and repurposed draft and development “partner” leagues at lower levels. 

MLB’s release also notes that affiliated minor leaguers will receive pay raises that range from 38-72% for the 2021 season. As well, improved geographical alignment means less travel, and affiliated clubs now must meet certain minimum standards for fields and facilities. 

The new agreement means that for the first time in more than 100 years, the organized minor leagues will not operate independently of MLB. 





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