Valley Cats Face “Strike One” After MLB Leaves Them Out Of New Draft League
The fears that the Tri-City Valley Cats could be left out of the MLB's future Minor League plans got a little closer to reality today. Major League Baseball has announced a five-team "MLB Draft League" today and our Cats are not on the list. This is only the first step in the restructuring of the minor league system but any news that doesn't include the Valley Cats will be a tough pill to swallow here in the Capital Region.
The MLB sent out a press release this morning outlining its new venture in collaboration with the PBR (no, not Pro Bull Riding) Prep Baseball Report:
Major League Baseball, Prep Baseball Report (PBR), and five founding members today announced the formation of the MLB Draft League, which will become the first league in the country focused on top prospects who are eligible to be drafted by MLB Clubs that summer. With the 2021 MLB Draft moved back to July and being held as part of All-Star Week, draft-eligible players will have a unique opportunity to showcase their abilities and gain exposure to MLB Clubs and fans next summer. The new format affirms MLB’s commitment to the region and assures that communities of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and New Jersey will continue to host high-caliber baseball and future Major Leaguers for years to come.
The five-teams that will make up the new league are the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, the State College Spikes, the Trenton Thunder, the West Virginia Black Bears, and the Williamsport Crosscutters. The new league is reportedly looking to add a sixth team and would hope to have a 68 game season with an All-Star break centered around the MLB Draft.
I know it's possible the Valley Cats are part of a future plan or maybe even the mysterious sixth team(though I doubt they're in the Draft League's plans) but I have to admit the line where they say "The new format affirms MLB’s commitment to the region and assures that communities of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New Jersey will continue to host high-caliber baseball and future Major Leaguers for years to come." makes me a little salty. Where's the MLB"s commitment to our region? I suspect this is the first of many moves in the MLB's plans to drop from 160 Minor League teams to approximately 120 but I feel like waiting patiently is a mistake. The squeaky wheel gets the grease as they say. So you can count on me to complain each and every time MLB makes an announcement regarding the Minor Leagues and the Valley Cats aren't a part of it.