Minor League Baseball
Photo: Dan Cichalski

New Minor League Baseball Structure Announced for 2021

With the disheveling of almost everything sports-related in 2020, baseball took some deep hits. Along with only having a 60 game season, Minor League Baseball was completely obsolete. Players of teams experienced unemployment and were forced to go back to their hometowns. Many Minor League teams feared for their longevity with some even succumbing to the trimming of teams, by the MLB.

Big changes are taking place for the upcoming Minor League Baseball season, however. With no place for some MiLB teams, the league luckily had a solution to keep small-town fans happy. MLB comprised a new league with 120 new teams joined with the other teams who had nowhere to go. The new league is the Player’s Development League and has many different off-shooting branches. One of these segments is the inclusion of Partner Teams. These teams don’t have an affiliation with an MLB team but work in the system to develop future players. Leagues like the Pioneer League, American Association, Frontier League, and the AZL/FL league form a consolidation of 179 teams.

Good news for these young players trying to make it is that their salary is to be increased this year. They will see increases of 38-72 percent, meaning these athletes may actually make a living playing baseball. More money is being put into improving and renovating Minor League facilities across the country.

Another new step is relocating the Major League team’s affiliates within 200 miles of them. This is an effort for fans to watch players climb through the ranks of Minor League Baseball. The draw to baseball is difficult, but this may make more people be more invested with it from the get-go. There was a lot of fear that Minor League Baseball would cease to exist after no action last season.

At least Commissioner Rob Manfred seems to have a plan. He wants to improve everything from the fan experience to the player treatment, for better or worse.