Image credit: (Photo by Brian Westerholt/Four Seam)
Later today, Major League Baseball is expected to send invitations to the 120 teams it is inviting to be part of its minor league system.
Over the last few days, MLB has also been reaching out to teams that will not be on that invite list and laying out possible alternative options for them.
Baseball America has learned from multiple sources that Frederick, formerly the Orioles high Class A affiliate, will be the sixth member of the newly formed MLB Draft League for amateur players. The other five members—Mahoning Valley, State College, Trenton, West Virginia and Williamsport—were announced last week.
The addition of Frederick gets the Draft League to the six teams it needs to be a viable league. At the time the formation of the league was announced, MLB said that a sixth team would be added soon after.
The MLB Draft League is a new summer amateur wood bat league that is designed to attract draft-eligible players in the lead-up to the July draft.
It also means that Frederick will not be among the 120 teams receiving invites on Wednesday. It has been the Orioles’ high Class A affiliate since 1989.
The addition of Frederick to the MLB Draft League also provides a pair of “parked” teams for MLB that could fill in any holes that come open.
There is no guarantee that all 120 invited teams will end up signing the Professional Development License contract. If not all do, Trenton and Frederick have two viable facilities in convenient geographical situations that provide back-up plans in the case any East Coast team declines to sign.