Minor League Baseball returns tomorrow! Almost every year, it seems, there are changes to team names, affiliations, and even cities. Here is a quick rundown, by league (you may want to sit down for this because your head might be spinning by the end):
International League (AAA)
- The Syracuse team has changed its name and affiliation. Formerly known as the Syracuse Chiefs and affiliated with the Washington Nationals, they are now the Syracuse Mets, the AAA affiliate of – you guessed – the New York Mets (who are no longer affiliated with the Las Vegas 51s). (I wonder if there will be a name change in Syracuse’s future.)
Pacific Coast League (AAA)
- The Las Vegas 51’s have shed their previous name, ballpark, and affiliation. With the Mets now linked to Syracuse, the Oakland A’s have moved their AAA team to Las Vegas (from Nashville), which is now called the Las Vegas Aviators. The also play in a brand new park, Las Vegas Ballpark.
- Also related to that change in the International League, the Fresno Grizzlies are no longer affiliated with the Houston Astros, but with the Washington Nationals.
- The Houston Astros now have the Round Rock Express as their AAA team (which used to be affiliated with the Texas Rangers).
- The Texas Rangers’ AAA team is now the Nashville Sounds (which used to be affiliated with Oakland).
- The Colorado Springs Sky Sox have moved to San Antonio and are now the San Antonio Missions. (They are still affiliated with Milwaukee.)
Southern League (AA)
- The Chattanooga Lookouts have changed MLB parent teams – from Minnesota to Cincinnati.
- The Pensacola Blue Wahoos switched from Cincinnati to Minnesota.
Texas League (AA)
- The team formerly known as the San Antonio Missions has moved to Amarillo, TX, and is now known as the Amarillo Sod Poodles. (They are still the AA team of the San Diego Padres.)
Carolina League (A Advanced)
- The Buies Creek Astros have moved from Buies Creek, NC, to Fayetteville, NC, and are now the Fayetteville Woodpeckers (but still the Astros’ single-A team). The move has been in the works since the team moved from Bakersfield, California, to North Carolina.
Midwest League (A)
- The Clinton LumberKings switched MLB affiliates from Seattle to Miami.
South Atlantic League (A)
- The Greensboro Grasshoppers changed their MLB affiliate from Miami to Pittsburgh.
- The West Virginia Power are now affiliated with Seattle (a switch from Pittsburgh).
Pioneer League (Rookie Advanced)
- The Helena Brewers have moved from Helena, MT, to Colorado Springs, CO, and are now known as the Rocky Mountain Vibes. They’re still affiliated with Milwaukee and will play in Security Service Field, which was vacated by the team formerly known as the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. With a capacity of 8,500, they’ll have the largest stadium in the Pioneer League (the Ogden Raptors run a close second with their stadium, Lindquist Field, having a seating capacity of 8,262; the average for the league is 5,397.)
Now that we know all the changes, we’re ready for the season!