Several minor league teams are forming their own prospect showcase called the MLB Draft League.
Minor league baseball isn’t just for quirky promotions and Tim Tebow living out his “dream.” They’re backbones of any good organization’s player development pipeline while serving as pillars of their local communities. While some face uncertain futures after being dropped by their parent clubs in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, a few of them managed to move forward in 2021 in their own new league.
The Trenton Thunder, who served as the New York Yankees’ Double-A affiliate for nearly two decades before being unceremoniously dumped in favor of the Somerset Patriots, have agreed to join the MLB Draft League, which promises to showcase the best amateur baseball prospects in the country.
The MLB Draft League will feature at least five teams and have a 68-game season
The West Virginia Black Bears, Williamsport Crosscutters, State College Spikes and Mahoning Valley Scrappers, four teams who were booted out of the New York-Penn League, will join Trenton, with more to be announced soon.
The season will be 68 games and run from May to August. The league’s All-Star break will coincide with the 2021 MLB Draft, which has been pushed back to late July and will be held at the Thunder’s home stadium of Arm & Hammer Park. Players who participate in the league will, per a statement made by the league, receive “unprecedented visibility to MLB Club scouts through both in-person observation and state-of-the-art scouting technology, and educational programming designed to prepare them for careers as professional athletes.”
Considering the impact these teams have on their local communities, it’s encouraging to see that so many of them managed to secure a long-term future after losing their affiliation while simultaneously provided a path to the pros for dozens of prospects.