It has been a while. When the Sacramento River Cats beat the Columbus Clippers, 4-0, in the Triple-A National Championship Game on Sept. 17, 2019, there was no way of knowing there would be no Minor League Baseball for the next 588 days. Yes, it has been a long winter. But spring is here.
The 2021 Minors campaign kicks off Tuesday at 6 p.m. ET, as two Double-A Northeast games get underway – the Portland Sea Dogs host the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, and the Bowie Baysox visit the Altoona Curve. When first pitch is thrown in two Low-A West games – the Stockton Ports at the Modesto Nuts and the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes at the Inland Empire 66ers – at 10:05 ET, 110 of the 120 affiliated teams in the Minors, weather permitting, will have begun the most long-awaited “next year” in recent memory.
The new season will also be the first in a newly restructured Minors, with new affiliations, new rules, new top prospects and new promotions. Here is all the information you need to get into midseason form for Minor League Opening Night and the next four months.
STARTING SPOTS FOR TOP 100 PROSPECTS
We’ve all waited a long time for this, haven’t we? On Tuesday, there will be Minor League Baseball for the first time in over a year and a half!
THE MOST LOADED MINOR LEAGUE ROSTERS
Real, glorious Minor League rosters arrived on the digital doorsteps of fans over the last couple of days, and they came as virtual oases following the Minor League desert that was 2020. Last year's canceled season only added more intrigue to the decisions each organization made on where to send their prospects ahead of Opening Day on May 4. Some clubs were willing to push their best talents even after a lost season. Others opted to be more conservative.
What's left after each of those calls are rosters that will get to play across the four full-season levels of Minor League Baseball starting Tuesday. These are MLB Pipeline's picks for the most loaded Opening Day rosters heading into the 2021 season, based on quality and depth of prospects. More »
NOTABLE MINOR LEAGUE OPENING DAYS
Opening night is guaranteed to take a place in history among others that were harbingers of a return to normalcy or changed the Minors for good.
Here are the stories of a few of those openings, presented with the certainty that we’ll appreciate this year’s just as much. More »
PROMOS TO LOOK FORWARD TO
If you're a fan of bobbleheads, absurd theme nights, regional food-based alternate identities, grassroots community initiatives and all manner of pop culture-based commemorations, then Minor League Baseball is the place for you. What follows is an overview of notable 2021 Minor League team promotions, encompassing many styles and moods. As the weather warms, the days get longer and ballpark capacity (hopefully) increases, more promotions are sure to be announced. Many will be familiar, some won't go as planned and a select few just may enter the pantheon of all-time classics. More »
UPDATES ON EACH TEAM'S TOP PROSPECT
There's only one No. 1 prospect for any team at any given time, and that prospect's progress in the farm system and proximity to making a Major League debut are always of great interest. Here's a one-stop shop for getting the latest information about each club's top prospect with the help of all 30 MLB.com beat writers. More »
WHY WE'RE GLAD MILB IS BACK
We haven't had Minor League Baseball since 2019. That's been tough on the players, the fans, the Minor League teams and their staffs ... and us. MLB Pipeline prides itself on prospect content, from the stars of tomorrow to the wacky goings-on that only seem to happen in the friendly confines of a Minor League ballpark. We're looking forward to every bit of it, but each staffer has something particularly special to anticipate. More »