The Tampa Bay Rays will have a slightly different look in its farm system beginning next year, adding the Charleston RiverDogs (Low A; Sally League) and promoting the Bowling Green Hot Rods as a High-A affiliate.
The RiverDogs had previously been the Low-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, but that relationship ended with the decision by MLB to drop the Florida State League to Low-A status. Meanwhile, the Hot Rods were in the Midwest League as a Low-A team, and although that circuit is moving to High-A, it looks like Bowling Green will become part of the new Mid-Atlantic League High-A circuit. The Hot Rods replace the Charlotte Stone Crabs as High-A affiliate of the Rays.
“We are thrilled for the opportunity to continue partnering with our friends in Durham, Montgomery and Bowling Green in developing the next wave of Rays players. They have been tremendous partners,” said Rays Vice President, Player Development and International Scouting Carlos Rodriguez, in a press statement. “Likewise, our relationship with Charleston many years ago was very fruitful. The RiverDogs staff and fans create an environment where young prospects can flourish and grow, and we are excited to invite them back in to the Rays family.”
“The Rays would like to thank the Charlotte Stone Crabs, Hudson Valley Renegades and Princeton Rays for their many years of affiliation with our organization,” said Rays Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Erik Neander, in a press statement. “The Rays were very fortunate to have close, long-standing relationships at every level, and we appreciate the pivotal role all our affiliates play in helping our players develop on their journeys to the big leagues.”
“We are very pleased to have the opportunity to be extending our affiliation with the Rays,” said Jack Blackstock, the Hot Rods principal owner, in a press statement. “The Rays consistently have one of the top farm systems in professional baseball, which translates to fabulous teams and exciting professional baseball in Bowling Green.”
“The RiverDogs are thrilled to welcome home the defending American League Champion Rays,” said Jeff Goldklang, president of the RiverDogs’ ownership group, in a press statement. “Our group has had an uninterrupted relationship with Tampa Bay for over 25 years, and simply put, they’re consistently one of the best-run teams in all of Major League Baseball. The quality of prospects and on-field success of their farm teams is unmatched, and we can’t wait for our fans and partners to enjoy the Rays experience.”
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