MiLB realignment buzz
Kevin Reichard of Ballpark Digest reports that upper-level Minor League Baseball affiliations will be relatively unchanged by the new professional baseball agreement that takes effect in 2021. One notable exception? The Marlins (emphasis mine):
Three Triple-A teams—San Antonio, Fresno and Wichita—have been designated to move from Triple-A to Double-A’s Texas League or (in the case of Fresno) to what will be the Low-A Cal League. Taking their place: St. Paul, where the Minnesota Twins could affiliate with the St. Paul Saints; Sugar Land and Jacksonville, which will become the Miami Marlins’ top affiliate. Miami is one of the winners in the realignment, with a Triple-A affiliate just up the coast and the addition of Pensacola as a Double-A affiliate.
Jacksonville has been the Marlins’ Double-A club since 2009 (previously known as the Jacksonville Suns and now named the Jumbo Shrimp). Their home attendance has averaged approximately 5,000 fans per game in recent seasons, the second-largest turnout in the Southern League trailing only Birmingham. This is not the first time that Jacksonville has been considered for a move up to Triple-A.
The Pensacola Blue Wahoos were a Twins affiliate in 2019, but spent most of the last decade developing Reds players.
Combining Jacksonville and Pensacola with Class A Advanced Jupiter, the Marlins would have at least their top three affiliates within the state of Florida. Also, it’s expected that the Fish will part ways with Clinton (Class A) and Batavia (Short Season A) in favor of a more convenient location.
These potential changes—Reichard reiterates that “nothing is finalized” yet—were previously reported by Craig Mish two weeks ago.
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