Rays Affiliates Dominate 2021 Minor League Playoff Picture
With the regular season now complete in all domestic U.S. affiliated minor leagues, the Rays dominance across all levels of the minors has come into sharp focus.
This year, the playoffs have been shortened to have the top two teams for each Double-A, High-A and Low-A league play each other for the title. There are no playoffs in the Complex Leagues this year—the best regular season record was crowned the champ. The Triple-A level has a hybrid—the champions were chosen by which team had the best record in the league through the games of Sept. 19 in Triple-A East and Sept. 21 in Triple-A West. All 30 Triple-A teams will play a 10-game "final stretch" tournament as well.
So with the regular season now in the books, the Rays clubs have a chance to go 5-for-5 with all five domestic US teams winning their respective leagues. Four of the five Rays minor league clubs in the U.S. finished with the best record in their league while the fifth (Montgomery) finished with the second-best in its league.
The Triple-A Durham Bulls (77-43, .642) have already posted the best record in Triple-A East to win that title (they also have the best record of any Triple-A team). The Rays' Florida Complex League team also won its title by posting the best record among the 18 teams in that league. The FCL Rays (42-15, .737) posted the best winning percentage of any US affiliated minor league team.
At Double-A the Rays' Montgomery club (62-55, .530) earned a spot in the Double-A South playoffs by winning a head-to-head tiebreaker against Birmingham for second place in the league—the Biscuits will face Mississippi beginning on Sept. 21.
At High-A, the Rays' Bowling Green team (82-36, .695) will face Greensboro beginning on Sept. 21 in the High-A East playoffs. Bowling Green finished with the best winning percentage of any full-season minor league club.
At Low-A, the Rays' Charleston club (82-38, .683) will face Down East in the Low-A East championship beginning on Sept. 21. Charleston had the second-best record of any full-season minor league club and joined Bowling Green as the only other team to top 80 wins in this year's 120-game season.
The Rockies have three teams in the postseason with the ACL Rockies winning their complex league while the club's High-A Spokane and Low-A Fresno clubs are both playing in their respective championship series.
The Pirates, Twins, Giants and Royals are the only other clubs with two teams who either won their league or advanced to the playoffs. Only 12 of the 30 organizations placed at least one team in the postseason.
Here's how the 2021 MiLB playoffs shake out.
Triple-A East: Durham (Rays) crowned champion.
Triple-A West: Tacoma (Mariners) crowned champion.
Double-A Central: Wichita (Twins) vs. Northwest Arkansas (Royals) in best-of-five series. First two games at Northwest Arkansas, final three (as necessary) at Wichita.
Double-A Northeast: Akron (Indians) vs. Bowie (Orioles) in best-of-five series. First two games at Bowie, final three (as necessary) at Akron, beginning on Sept. 21.
Double-A South: Mississippi (Braves) vs. Montgomery (Rays) in best-of-five series. First two games at Montgomery, final three (as necessary) at Mississippi, beginning on Sept. 21.
High-A Central: Quad Cities (Royals) vs. Cedar Rapids (Twins) in best-of-five series. First two games at Cedar Rapids, final three (as necessary) at Quad Cities, beginning on Sept. 21.
High-A East: Bowling Green (Rays) vs. Greensboro (Pirates) in best-of-five series. First two games at Greensboro, final three (as necessary) at Bowling Green, beginning on Sept. 21.
High-A West: Eugene (Giants) vs. Spokane (Rockies) in best-of-five series. First two games at Spokane, final three (as necessary) at Eugene, beginning on Sept. 21.
Low-A East: Down East (Rangers) vs. Charleston (Rays) in best-of-five series. First two games at Down East, final three (as necessary) at Charleston, beginning on Sept. 21.
Low-A Southeast: Tampa (Yankees) vs. Bradenton (Pirates) in best-of-five series. First two games at Bradenton, final three (as necessary) at Tampa, beginning on Sept. 21.
Low-A West: San Jose (Giants) vs. Fresno (Rockies) in best-of-five series. First two games at San Jose, final three (as necessary) at Fresno, beginning on Sept. 21.
Florida Complex League: FCL Rays crowned as champion.
Arizona Complex League: ACL Rockies crowned as champion.