The affiliate carousel appears to be complete and the Brewers have made their announcement.
After a tumultuous several months for minor league teams amid the reorganization effort by MLB, the affiliates that remain have been chosen and the invites have been sent out. The Brewers have a clear picture of who their minor league affiliates are and what level they will play at in 2021 and beyond.
There are several changes that need to be noted.
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Brewers Back In Nashville
From 2005-14, the Brewers had their Triple-A affiliate in Nashville. It was a very successful partnership that saw players like Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, Rickie Weeks, and Yovani Gallardo come through the Music City.
However, something happened in 2014 to end that partnership as Nashville linked up with the Oakland A’s. The Brewers were left to head to Colorado Springs and then San Antonio.
Now, after six years apart, the Brewers are back in the Music City.
This is the best possible outcome for the Milwaukee Brewers. It’s far closer than San Antonio or Colorado Springs, the ballpark is beautiful, and the conditions in Nashville won’t put any pitching prospects at a major disadvantage.
The only other known opening was Round Rock and the Texas Rangers, who were the most recent team to be affiliated with Nashville, have likely gone there. Getting back into Round Rock seems like a win for the Rangers and getting back into Nashville is a win for the Brewers.
Flipping High-A to Low-A
Another change this year is that the A-level teams have flipped. The formerly Low-A Wisconsin Timber Rattlers are now the High-A affiliate while the formerly High-A Carolina Mudcats are now the Low-A affiliate.
Why make this change?
With the elimination of Rookie-ball, the idea is to get the younger players, the ones who were just drafted, etc., better acclimated to professional baseball in warmer weather areas. If a young player is just coming up for their first full season in pro ball and they have to go up to Appleton in April, that can be tough.
So the Midwest League went from a Low-A league to a High-A league and the Carolina League and others dropped from High-A to Low-A.
Now once Brewers draftees and young prospects graduate from the Brewers complex team at Maryvale, they will head straight to Carolina instead of Appleton.
Best Possible Outcome
This is a great situation for the Brewers. Their young players can come up and learn in the warm weather of the Carolinas before moving up to Appleton, the closest affiliate to Milwaukee. The Crew remains in Biloxi with their Double-A affiliate, another great partnership. And the Brewers get one of the best locations in Triple-A with Nashville.
The Brewers have had bad luck with their Triple-A affiliate for the last six years. Now they’re back to where they were comfortable and where they built their initial contending rosters for 2008 and 2011.
Several minor league teams are losing their affiliation today, and while we already knew the Rocky Mountain Vibes would be dropped, some teams didn’t find out until today.