October 2, 2020

Appalachian League Announces New Format

Appalachian League to Become First Collegiate Summer League in Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP) for Rising College Freshmen and Sophomores

Major League Baseball and USA Baseball jointly announced today a new format for the Appalachian League, which will feature the nation’s top rising college freshmen and sophomores in wood-bat play each summer. The new format affirms MLB’s commitment to the region, maintains the existing branding of the league, and assures that the Appalachian League will continue to host high-caliber baseball and future Major Leaguers for years to come.

The Appalachian League will become a part of the Prospect Development Pipeline (“PDP”), the collaborative effort between MLB and USA Baseball that establishes a player development pathway for amateur baseball players in the United States, and will be an integral part of the identification and development
process for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team and other future national teams. Appalachian League participants will receive extensive visibility to MLB Club scouts through both in-person observation and state-of-the-art scouting technology. Players will receive instruction from former MLB players and educational programming designed to prepare them for careers as professional athletes. Plans include a 54-game regular season and an annual All-Star Game. MLB and USA Baseball will provide support for the league’s staffing, player participation, and administrative functions. The parties are in communication with the NCAA to ensure athlete eligibility requirements are met.

To herald the start of this exciting new format, each of the 10 teams in the Appalachian League have decided to undertake a process for changing their names and logos to incorporate symbols and images important to their respective local communities, to be adopted before the 2021 season. MLB and USA Baseball have already begun the process of identifying and inviting the top 320 players to participate in the 2021 Appalachian League.

Morgan Sword, MLB’s Executive Vice President, Baseball Economics & Operations, said: “We are thrilled to partner with USA Baseball and the Appalachian League communities to create a one-of-a-kind summer league that will attract the nation’s top collegiate players and allow local fans to see top prospects and future big-league stars in their hometowns. This announcement continues MLB’s commitment to preserving and growing baseball in communities around the United States. The road to the big leagues now runs through Appalachia.”

Mike Gaski, President of USA Baseball, said: “USA Baseball is excited for this unique opportunity to enhance the offerings within the Prospect Development Pipeline through the creation of a premier summer collegiate baseball league. Our commitment to the continued development of amateur athletes is paramount to our mission as the national governing body for the sport in the United States and it is an honor to align ourselves with a historic baseball brand such as the Appalachian League, as well as our partners in Major League Baseball. We look forward to welcoming elite-level college athletes to the Appalachian League and identifying players who will hope to one day play for Team USA.”

Dan Moushon, the President of the Appalachian League, said: “The communities of the Appalachian League have supported baseball since our founding in 1911. We are grateful to MLB and USA Baseball for bringing this exciting opportunity to our fans and look forward to welcoming players, coaches, MLB scouts, and fans into our cities next summer.”

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What They’re Saying About The New Appalachian League

UNITED STATES SENATOR MARK WARNER OF VIRGINIA said: “For years, Minor League Baseball teams have provided affordable family entertainment for Virginians and fostered players who became Big League stars. This new Appalachian League format will continue that tradition, ensuring that high-level baseball will continue being played in our state for the long-term. I look forward to seeing the next generation of big league stars, and cultivating the next generation of baseball fans, right here in Virginia.”

UNITED STATES SENATOR TIM KAINE OF VIRGINIA said: “I am delighted that MLB and the Appalachian League have come to this agreement. I’ve called for baseball to remain in communities like Bluefield, Danville, Pulaski, and Bristol — this format will do just that with high-quality competition on the field for these communities to enjoy for years to come.”

UNITED STATES CONGRESSMAN PHIL ROE, M.D., OF TENNESSEE said: “This agreement between the Appalachian League and Major League Baseball sounds like good news for our community. We have a long, rich history of baseball in Northeast Tennessee, and I am glad that tradition will continue.”

RANDALL C. EADS, CITY MANAGER OF LONGTIME APPALACHIAN LEAGUE VENUE BRISTOL, VIRGINIA, said: “Minor League Baseball has a storied history in Bristol, and we are proud and excited that we are going to both preserve and improve America’s Pastime here in our community. In 1969, the Bristol Tigers debuted as Bristol’s minor league team. Over the years, the minor league teams have been affiliated with the Detroit Tigers, Chicago White Sox and the Pittsburgh Pirates. Lou Whitaker and Alan Trammell are just two noteworthy Major League stars that began their careers here in Bristol. I look forward to seeing tomorrow’s Major League stars playing in Bristol soon!”

BILL SORAH, CITY MANAGER OF LONGTIME APPALACHIAN LEAGUE VENUE BRISTOL, TENNESSEE, said: “The City of Bristol has enjoyed professional baseball for over 75 years. As a member of the Appalachian League, Bristol has long enjoyed wholesome family entertainment provided by young athletes seeking to fulfill their dream of playing professional baseball at its highest level. These athletes have promoted goodwill and served as role models for our youth. The value of their presence in our community cannot be overstated. It is with great enthusiasm to learn of MLB’s proposal to create a new format for the Appalachian League that will bring collegiate baseball players to our region to further develop their skills. The opportunity to once again enjoy high-quality baseball played by aspiring young athletes is a reason for our region to celebrate.”

MAHLON LUTTRELL, PRESIDENT OF BRISTOL BASEBALL INC. said: ““Bristol Baseball Inc. is excited to be a part of this new Premier Collegiate Wooden-Bat League as we partner up with Major League Baseball and U.S.A. Baseball and to be able to welcome college stars to Bristol next summer. We are glad to be able to keep high-quality baseball in Bristol, and are looking forward to releasing additional information on this opportunity in the future.”

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