Did you see the latest about Major League Baseball’s realignment of minor league baseball? It’s a mess.
There is no more Southern League, Pacific Coast League or American Association. All the traditional has been scrapped in the name of “streamlining” the minor leagues into a regional setup.`
There were fourteen leagues in MLB’s farm system but now the minor league system is spread out in a massive realignment. Leagues have been replaced by tiers and regional alignments. It’s going to be a mess.
MLB claims this will allow for higher salaries, better facilities and create geographical rivalries.
The four new levels will be known as Triple-A, Double-A, High-A, and Low-A with the lower three of those levels split into three regional leagues, the Triple-A level remains at just two leagues. Several teams were either bumped up a level or dropped down and three previously independent-league clubs have been invited and are now affiliated with Major League clubs.
For example, my local Nashville Sounds which had been a member of the Pacific Coast League (PCL) is now grouped in the Southeast Division of Triple-A East.
Here is a graphic which shows the new alignment for the 2021 season:
Unfortunately with the fruit basket turnover of the minor leagues, 42 teams were cut from the realignment. This includes teams in the Pioneer, Appalachian and most of the New York-Penn League. These teams will be forced to go independent, join a collegiate summer league or disband.
With COVID-19 disrupting minor league baseball last season, it is certain that this new realignment plan will definitely make things much different as baseball takes the field this spring.