Yanks announce Minor League restructure
NEW YORK -- The road to Yankee Stadium now runs through Somerset and Hudson Valley.
The Yankees announced sweeping changes to their Minor League affiliation structure on Saturday, identifying the Somerset Patriots as their new Double-A farm club and the Hudson Valley Renegades as their Class A Advanced affiliate. The Tampa Tarpons will transition into the organization’s Class A club.
“Restructuring our Minor League affiliations -- especially with the additions of Somerset and Hudson Valley -- gives us greater continuity to streamline and improve the development of our Minor League system,” Yankees general manager Brian Cashman said in a statement. “The relationships we have formed with all of our teams will allow for a more consistent application of training with similarly aligned facilities in terms of structure, quality and ease of travel.”
The home stadiums for the top three levels of the Yankees’ Minor League system (Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, Somerset and Hudson Valley) are now located within easy driving distance of The Bronx.
According to the team, the changes resulted from the expiration of the Professional Baseball Agreement between the Majors and Minors and the creation of the Prospect Development Pipeline. The Yankees are reducing their overall number of Minor League teams from 10 to six.
The Yankees will maintain their Triple-A affiliation with the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, whose home diamond of PNC Field in Moosic, Pa., hosted the club’s alternate training site during the 2020 season. Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has been a Yankees affiliate since '07.
“We are grateful the Yankees have the confidence in our organization, facility and community to select the RailRiders to remain their Triple-A Affiliate,” said John Adams, the RailRiders’ team president. “PNC Field is one of the best facilities in Minor League Baseball thanks to the hard work and support of ownership, community leaders, media, partners, fans and all the staff -- past and present. We will work hard to do our part in helping the Yankees develop talent that will lead to future world championships.”
Somerset plays its home games at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, N.J. The team said that it selected Somerset over continuing an 18-year affiliation with the Trenton Thunder “strictly on the basis of what we believe to be the best facility to develop our young players.” The Thunder, based in Trenton, N.J., will be offered Somerset’s membership within the Atlantic League.
Hudson Valley, which plays at Dutchess Stadium in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., was most recently a New York-Penn League affiliate of the Rays. The club said that it determined that Hudson Valley would be a good fit for its players, mentioning a longstanding relationship with Marvin Goldklang, a partner and associate of the Steinbrenner family and the team. Goldklang’s group operates the Charleston Riverdogs, which will no longer be a Yankees farm club.
With the elimination of the short-season New York-Penn League, the Yankees considered hosting their high Class A affiliate at Richmond County Bank Ballpark in Staten Island, N.Y., but expressed concerns with the ability to transition the facility into full-season use. The Yankees pledged to work with Major League Baseball and the City of New York Economic Development Corporation to ensure that professional baseball will continue in Staten Island.
The Tampa Tarpons play at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Fla., which has served as the Yankees’ Spring Training home since 1996.
In addition to their top four affiliates, the Yankees will continue to field short-season teams in the Gulf Coast League (based at the Yankees player development complex in Tampa) and Dominican Summer League (located at the Yankees Latin Béisbol Academy in Boca Chica).
“We are confident that these changes will greatly benefit our players and Yankees fans for many years to come,” Cashman said.