Greensboro Grasshoppers look to be back connected with Pittsburgh Pirates again in 2021, but this time around at the High Class A/A+ Level:Possibly at home in the Carolina League

Posted by Andy Durham on December 9, 2020 at 5:15 pm under Professional | 7 Comments to Read

From today, as they begin to lay out the groundwork for the 2021 Minor League System for Major League Baseball/MLB……

Pittsburgh Pirates farm system:
AAA: Indianapolis Indians
AA: Altoona Curve
A+: Greensboro Grasshoppers…The Grasshoppers and the Bradenton Marauders switch places…Greensboro was Class A in 2019 and Bradenton was Advanced Class A/A+….This time around Greensboro move up to A+ and Bradenton moves down to the A level…Look for Greensboro to placed in a re-formed/re-shaped/re-vamped Carolina League….
A: Bradenton Marauders

Other old/former South Atlantic League/Sally League members who may end up along with Greensboro, in this new Carolina League…

Chicago White Sox
A+: Winston-Salem Dash
(Long-time Carolina League member)

Texas Rangers
A+: Hickory Crawdads

Boston Red Sox
A+: Greenville Drive

Atlanta Braves
A+: Rome Braves

Other teams to be added and connected to this new Carolina/Mid-Atlantic League….
(Hoping to still see the Asheville Tourists align with the Colorado Rockies at the A+ level and join in with the Grasshoppers, the W-S Dash and the Hickory Crawdads in the Carolina League.)$$$$$ See more on the Asheville Tourists below….$$$$$

++++++++++We found the Asheville Tourists, and now they will be affiliated with the Houston Astros, and we would be glad to welcome them the new and improved, Carolina League/Mid-Atlatic League…++++++++++
(In these times of political correctness, it might be a good idea not to use South, as in South Atlantic League.)

Houston Astros
A+: Asheville Tourists

**********Major League Baseball clubs formally invited Minor League clubs to join the new Minor League system on Wednesday/Today.

While the affiliations aren’t yet official, and won’t be until the Minor League teams sign Professional Development Licenses (which will be sent at a later date), this is an important step that provides a solid picture of where MLB teams will have affiliates starting in 2021.**********

  • Andy Durham said,

    Post from Greensboro Grasshoppers’ Donald Moore on Twitter:

    “We are pleased to have received the invitation, and we hope that the terms are acceptable. Once we receive the full details, we’ll be evaluating the proposal carefully to assure that it works for the team, the fans and the community before formally accepting.” – Donald Moore, Grasshoppers president and general manager……

  • Andy Durham said,

    Kenny Beck

    Fun fact: the @GSOHoppers and @WSDashBaseball last played in 1968!

    That could change as early as this spring though, if
    @MiLB places them in the same league, which is now a distinct possibility since they are both advanced A-ball teams.

  • Bill Hass said,

    From what I can tell, looks like Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Rome, Greenville (SC), Hickory and Fayetteville in the Carolina League. Fayetteville is Houston’s High A team and Asheville will be the low A team. I count 14 High-A teams in the Midwest League and another group of 5 teams — Aberdeen, Brooklyn, Hudson Valley, Jersey Shore (formerly Lakewood) and Wilmington, Del — either in a new league or maybe in some combination with the Carolina League. There’s one other High A group, the Northwest League, which has 5 Northwest and 5 in the Mid-Atlantic or whatever) and that’s 30 teams, which accounts for all franchises. An awkward way to do it, to be sure.

  • Bill Hass said,

    Sorry, I muddled the last sentences. What I meant to say was: There’s one other High A group, the Northwest League, which has 5 teams. Add them all up — 14 in the Midwest, 6 in the Carolina, 5 in the Northwest and 5 in the Mid-Atlantic or whatever) and that’s 30 teams, which accounts for all franchises. An awkward way to do it, to be sure.

  • Bill Hass said,

    CORRECTION: Andy had the right information all along. Asheville will, indeed, be the Astros’ High A team, likely in a league with Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Hickory, Greenville and Rome. Fayetteville will be Houston’s Low A team. The Astros’ web site confirms that. A chart that I looked at had those two franchises reversed. My bad and a tip of the hat to Andy.

  • Bill Hass said,

    Trying to read the charts will blur your eyesight, but here is what I have deciphered. Bear with me here.

    There are 30 High A franchises. Twelve will be in the Midwest League and 6 in the Northwest League. That leaves 12 others. Geographically, the group from the south consists of Greensboro, Winston-Salem, Asheville, Hickory, Greenville, Rome and Bowling Green (Ky.) Five from the northeast are Aberdeen, Brooklyn, Hudson Valley, Jersey Shore (formerly Lakewood) and Wilmington (Del.).

    Bowling Green is the outlier and will move from the Midwest League. They had one year in the South Atlantic League (2009) and then moved to the Midwest, along with Lake County. Someone had to move from the Midwest League and Bowling Green was selected.

    The question is, will there be two leagues formed or, more likely, one league with two divisions? A 5-team league isn’t really viable and a 7-team league isn’t, either. So, in one league, one of the southern teams will likely have to play in the northeast division. Good luck to whoever has to figure that out.

    Incidentally, the South Atlantic League will remain Low A and consist of 12 teams — the Carolina Mudcats, Zebulon, Fredericksburg, Augusta, Delmarva, Salem (VA), Myrtle Beach, Lynchburg, Kannapolis, Columbia, Down East (Kinston), Fayetteville and Charleston (SC).

    So who didn’t make the cut in this action by Major League Baseball as it contracted the minor leagues to 120 teams? Hagerstown, the West Virginia Power and Lexington are gone from the SAL. Burlington (Iowa), Clinton and Kane County from the Midwest League. Port Charlotte and the Florida Fire Frogs from the Florida State League (which moves from High A to Low A). Frederick from the Carolina League. Jackson from the AA Southern League and Trenton from the AA Eastern League. And Triple-A Fresno was demoted to the the Low-A California League, a step-down of four rungs.

    It was, in my opinion, ruthless. And the official wording in releases is that the 120 franchises were given “invitations” to become a part of this new structure. So what happens if a franchise declines the invitation (don’t be surprised if that happens on a small scale)? Some other team, possibly one that didn’t make the original cut, will be found to replace it, leaving the declining team to look around for an independent league or a summer collegiate league.

    The minor leagues as we knew them are gone.

  • Andy Durham said,

    As I was mentioning to Bill Hass a little earlier today, it is interesting to note that two of the Independent teams that were in the same league with the High Point Rockers, the Sugar Land Skeeters and the Somerset Patriots, now are Minor League cities…

    Houston Astros
    AAA: Sugar Land Skeeters

    New York Yankees
    AA: Somerset Patriots