As part of Major League Baseball’s plan to restructure the minor leagues, the Oakland A’s have announced their affiliates for the 2021 season.
Everyone knew that every team’s minor league system would look drastically different in 2021. Major League Baseball had been looking to streamline the minors, axing affiliates and decreasing team expenditures in the wake of the pandemic. It was just a matter of waiting for those new affiliates to be named.
On Wednesday, each team disclosed what their new affiliates would be. The Oakland A’s joined those other franchises in stating which teams have been extended that invitation.
This is a dramatic change from the A’s previous affiliates. The Lansing Lugnuts have replaced the Beloit Snappers as part of the organization. Meanwhile, the Vermont Lake Monsters have been left behind, a team without an affiliation.
Wednesday’s announcement also shuts down a previous rumor that the A’s would be taking on the Vancouver franchise. While it would have made sense geographically, the Vancouver Canadians are remaining as a part of the Blue Jays organization.
Instead, the A’s took over another former Blue Jays affiliate in the Lugnuts. Although they are over 2300 miles away from Oakland, the Lugnuts may be a better option than Beloit had been in terms of facilities and being able to develop their players. Lansing would also be the A’s high-A team, as the entire California League has been dropped down to low-A ball.
Adjustments will still be needed however. The A’s had previously sent their top draft picks to the Lake Monsters to get themselves acclimated to pro ball. Now those players will be heading to Arizona, part of the instructional leagues as they look to prove themselves worthy of continuing up the ladder.
There are plenty of changes coming to minor league baseball in 2021. The Oakland A’s affiliates are mostly the same, but there are still plenty of changes.