Minor leagues get a reset with 120-team regional alignment; Wood Ducks part of Low-A East league

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NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball has reorganized its minor leagues in a 120-team regional alignment.

MLB released a plan Friday for two Triple-A divisions, and three divisions each for Double-A, High-A and Low-A. Forty affiliates were dropped from 2019, the last season under the old minor league system, and the remaining teams were offered the 10-year licenses in December. All 120 accepted by Wednesday’s deadline

The leagues have not yet been named. Major league owners, Commissioner Rob Manfred and his staff have not decided whether to retain the traditional names of the leagues, such as the International and Pacific Coast at Triple-A, the Eastern, Southern and Texas at Double-A and the California, Florida State and South Atlantic, which had been at Class A.

For now, MLB is calling the minor league groupings Triple-A East and West, Double-A Central, Northeast and South, High-A Central, East and West, and Low-A East, Southeast and West. There are geographic subdivisions within each league.

Triple-A teams for now remain scheduled to open 144-game schedules at the start of April but are likely to be pushed back until the start of May because of the pandemic.

Double-A teams, scheduled for 138 games each, and High-A and Low-A teams, with 132 games apiece, are for now slated to open in early May.

Top minor leaguers probably will spend April at alternate training camps, used by MLB teams to keep potential callups in shape last year, when the entire minor league schedule was canceled due to the virus.

Regular-season schedules are to be announced next week. Schedules will be regionalized and include six-game series to reduce travel and cut expenses, a person familiar with the planning told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because that detail was not announced.

Minor league postseason formats have not yet been determinedbecause of the pandemic.

Each franchise’s top four affiliates will include one team apiece at Triple-A, Double-A, High-A and Low-A. Additional clubs are allowed at spring training complexes and in the Dominican Republic.

WHERE THE WOOD DUCKS SIT

Down East Wood Ducks Vice President Wade Howell released more information Friday regarding players in the minors and the setup for the Low-A East League where the team will play.

The Professional Development League licenses will create many improvements to the experience and lifestyle of Minor League players, such as:

  • Player salary increases ranging from 38-72% for the 2021 season
  • Modernized facility standards better suited for professional athletes
  • Improved amenities and working conditions for players and staff
  • Reduced in-season travel for players and coaches
  • Better geographical alignment

The Down East Wood Ducks are part of the new 12-team Low-A East League.  Wood Duck fans will see alot of familiar teams as 7 of the 12 clubs move over from the former Carolina League.   The league is divided into 3 Divisions of 4 teams each.  Here is a look at the Low-A East teams, their MLB Club and the divisions.

Affiliate                                                       MLB Club                                      Division             

Carolina Mudcats                                       Milwaukee Brewers                     Central

Down East Wood Ducks                             Texas Rangers                              Central

Fayetteville Woodpeckers                         Houston Astros                             Central

Kannapolis Cannon Ballers                        Chicago White Sox                     Central

Delmarva Shorebirds                                 Baltimore Orioles                        North

*Fredericksburg Nationals                        Washington Nationals                North

Lynchburg Hillcats                                      Cleveland Indians                        North

Salem Red Sox                                            Boston Red Sox                             North

Augusta GreenJackets                                Atlanta Braves                              South

Charleston RiverDogs                                Tampa Bay Rays                           South

Columbia Fireflies                                      Kansas City Royals                       South

Myrtle Beach Pelicans                                Chicago Cubs                                South

*Fredericksburg is the former Potomac Nationals.  They had moved before the start of the 2020 season.

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