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Appalachian League Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Appalachian League?

The Appalachian League is a 10-team summer collegiate baseball league played in the heart of the Appalachia region of the United States and is part of the Major League Baseball (MLB) and USA Baseball Prospect Development Pipeline. The league is also an identification and selection opportunity for the following summer’s USA Baseball Collegiate National Team.

The Appalachian League is one of the longest-running baseball leagues in the history of baseball, beginning in 1911 before transitioning into a short-season league for Minor League Baseball in 1957.


What is the Prospect Development Pipeline?

The Prospect Development Pipeline is a collaborative effort between MLB and USA Baseball that establishes a player development pathway for amateur baseball players to professional baseball in the United States.


How is USA Baseball involved in the Appalachian League?

USA Baseball will handle the on- and off-field baseball operations and administration of the league, including player recruitment and selection as well as hiring coaches and administrative staff. Additionally, USA Baseball will handle all media needs for the league office.

Holistically, the Appalachian League is also an identification and selection opportunity for the following summer’s USA Baseball Collegiate National Team.


Which teams and cities are in the Appalachian League?

There are 10 teams in the Appalachian League:

  • Bluefield (Bluefield, W.Va.)
  • Bristol (Bristol, Va.)
  • Burlington (Burlington, N.C.)
  • Danville (Danville, Va.)
  • Elizabethton (Elizabethton, Tenn.)
  • Greeneville (Greeneville, Tenn.)
  • Johnson City (Johnson City, Tenn.)
  • Kingsport (Kingsport, Tenn.)
  • Princeton (Princeton, W.Va.)
  • Pulaski (Pulaski, Va.)

Each team is undergoing a process to develop a new team name that is more closely tied to its local community. Team names will be announced beginning the first week of February 2021.


Do professional athletes compete in the Appalachian League?

No, beginning in 2021, the Appalachian League will transition from professional athletes to elite collegiate athletes as part of the joint MLB and USA Baseball Prospect Development Pipeline. Historically, the Appalachian League is one of the longest-running baseball leagues in professional baseball, beginning in 1911 before transitioning into a short-season league for Minor League Baseball in 1957. Leading up to the transition to the new summer collegiate baseball league, the Appalachian League was a Rookie Advanced League in Minor League Baseball.


How is the Appalachian League schedule structured?

The 54-game season will feature three two-game series per week from Thursday, June 3-Saturday, Aug. 7, culminating in a one-game Appalachian League Championship on Monday, Aug. 9. There will be a single off-day per week for the league throughout the inaugural season and a league-wide shutdown will take place from Monday, July 5-Wednesday, July 7, allowing teams to reset their rosters following the conclusion of the college baseball postseason. The Appy League will host an All-Star Game on Tuesday, July 27, as part of a two-day community event.


What is the age-eligibility requirements to participate in the Appalachian League?

The Appalachian League will predominantly be comprised of rising freshman and sophomores from all collegiate levels, including NCAA Divisions I, II and III, NAIA and the NJCAA; however rising juniors and seniors, as well as graduating seniors are also eligible to participate in the league.

Only athletes who will be non-draft eligible in the subsequent summer will be eligible for identification and selection for the following year’s USA Baseball Collegiate National Team.


What are the roster sizes for each team?

Each team will maintain a 32-man roster for a total of 320 total players in the Appalachian League. Each roster will feature 20 pitchers and 12 position players.


What is the benefit of playing in the Appalachian League?

Athletes who play in the Appalachian League will benefit from 10 weeks of competitive baseball against the top talent in the United States. Appalachian League participants will receive extensive visibility to MLB Club scouts through both in-person observation and state-of-the-art scouting technology, and players will receive instruction from former MLB players and educational programming designed to prepare them for careers as professional athletes. Additionally, the Appy League will be an integral part of the identification and development process for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team and other future national teams.


What will compose each team’s coaching and administrative staffs?

Each team’s coaching staff will include a manager, hitting coach, pitching coach and player development coach. Also on staff for each team will be a certified athletic trainer, a strength and conditioning coach, a baseball operations coordinator and a data analytics coordinator. The Appy League will also employ a nutritionist to assist athletes on all 10 Clubs during the summer.


What technology will be used in the Appalachian League? Will it be available to their college coaches?

The Appalachian League, as part of the joint MLB and USA Baseball Prospect Development Pipeline (PDP), will use Rapsodo, Synergy and Trackman during training and games, and every athlete will undergo PDP testing during the summer. All of the data and analytics aggregated throughout the summer season will be shared with the athletes, their college coaches and MLB scouts. Additionally, this data will be shared with USA Baseball national team coaches and staff as an identification tool for the following year’s Collegiate National Team selection process.


How will the Appalachian League house its players and staff?

Players who participate in the Appalachian League will be housed in apartments, dorms or hotels free of charge by their assigned team during the season. All 10 Clubs have a demonstrated history of caring for athletes during their extended history within professional baseball. The Appalachian League will not utilize a host family program.


Will players be responsible for their own meals during the season?

Players will receive daily meal per diem in addition to a pre- and post-game meal at the facilities.


What if my team is still playing in the postseason when the Appalachian League begins?

If your team is still playing in the postseason when the Appalachian League begins, your Appy League team will reschedule your arrival date for a later time. Athletes will not lose their spot on the roster due to their postseason schedule.


What precautions will the Appalachian League implement to protect its athletes and staffs from COVID-19?

The Appalachian League and USA Baseball will employ every precaution necessary to protect the athletes, staffs and fans from COVID-19. Strict COVID-19 guidelines will be implemented regarding athlete housing, playing facilities, transportation and player meals, and will be communicated to all participants prior to their arrival in the Appalachian League.


How are players selected for the Appalachian League?

The Appalachian League employs a Player Identification Committee comprised of USA Baseball staff members, MLB staff members, representatives from MLB Clubs and college coaches. The Player Identification Committee members are:

USA BASEBALL

Eric Campbell General Manager, National Teams

Ashley Bratcher Senior Director, Baseball Operations

MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL

John D’AngeloVice President, Amateur & Medical

Jalen PhillipsCoordinator, Draft Operations

COLLEGE COACHES

Dan Hartleb Head Baseball Coach at Illinois

Kevin O’Sullivan Head Baseball Coach at Florida

Rob Walton Pitching Coach at Oklahoma State

Mark Wasikowski Head Baseball Coach at Oregon

Rusty Filter Head Baseball Coach at Santa Clara

Joe Urso Head Baseball Coach at Tampa (DII)

Paul Rozelle Head Baseball Coach at Catawba Valley Community College (JUCO)

Victor Solis Head Baseball Coach at Paradise Valley Community College (JUCO)

CLUB REPRESENTATIVES

Michael Holmes Scouting Director at San Francisco Giants

Brad Meador Scouting Director at Cincinnati Reds

DJ Svihlik Scouting Director at Miami Marlins

Kip Fagg Scouting Director at Texas Rangers

Lonnie Goldberg Scouting Director at Kansas City Royals

Sean Johnson Scouting Director at Minnesota Twins


How are players assigned to the Appalachian League teams?

The Appalachian League Steering Committee will be responsible for assigning athletes to each of the 10 Clubs. During the allocation process, the Steering Committee will use its best efforts to construct each roster prioritizing competitive balance between every team. Considerations for an athlete’s personal ties to a particular city or region will be taken into account during the assignment process.


Are there any fees required to participate in the Appalachian League?

It is free for athletes to play in the Appalachian League and there are no additional fees required throughout the season. The Appalachian League will cover transportation costs for athletes to arrive at their assigned city and when returning home.


How will the Appalachian League protect its pitchers?

The Appalachian League will utilize Pitch Smart, a series of practical, age-appropriate guidelines to help avoid overuse injuries and foster long, healthy careers for pitchers, for the 2021 season, and will require one off-day per week for each team. The Appalachian League is also dedicating 20 of the 32 roster spots for pitchers. Additionally, all Sunday games will be seven (7) innings in order to limit innings, the league will not schedule doubleheaders and games cancelled due to weather will not be rescheduled.


How can I become a coach or manager for a team in the Appalachian League?

Any coaches interested in serving on a coaching staff for one of the 10 Clubs in the Appalachian League should fill out the “Appalachian League Interest Form” or email [email protected]. All form submissions are immediately delivered to the league’s Steering Committee.


How can I nominate a player to participate in the Appalachian League?

In order to nominate a player to play in the Appalachian League, you must fill out the “Appalachian League Interest Form” or email [email protected]. All form submissions are immediately delivered to the league’s Steering Committee.


How can I play in the Appalachian League?

If you are interested in playing in the Appalachian League, you must fill out the “Appalachian League Interest Form” or email [email protected]. All form submissions are immediately delivered to the league’s Steering Committee.


How can I stay up-to-date with all that is happening in the Appalachian League?

Stay up-to-date on the Appalachian League by follow @AppyLeague on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. You can also visit AppyLeague.com for all the latest news on the league and its 10 Clubs.

To receive press releases and post-game recaps from the Appalachian League, fill out the media distribution list here.