Triple-A Optimization: Ranking Every MLB Organization By Driving Distance To Its Triple-A Affiliate

When Major League Baseball formally took control of the minor leagues last fall, one of its stated goals was to better serve MLB organizations by reducing the amount of travel time between affiliates.

Because time is money, the diminished travel between minor league affiliates would translate to lower player development costs.

Of particular interest was shortening travel time between Triple-A affiliates and the major leagues, where promotions, demotions and rehab assignments are the most frequent and weighty.

In its restructured minor leagues, MLB improved or kept the same the distance between Triple-A affiliates and parent clubs for all 30 organizations.

Ten MLB clubs have their Triple-A affiliate located less than 100 miles from their major league home base. Another 12 clubs have their top affiliate within 500 miles of their major league headquarters.

Six MLB clubs partnered with new Triple-A affiliates. They are listed below, sorted by mileage saved by comparing old with new.

Organization Triple-A Old Triple-A New Miles Saved
Nationals Fresno, CA Rochester, NY 2,412
Marlins Wichita, KS Jacksonville, FL 1,285
Twins Rochester, NY St. Paul, MN 999
Brewers San Antonio, TX Nashville, TN 718
Rangers Nashville, TN Round Rock, TX 495
Astros Round Rock, TX Sugar Land, TX 144

With their Triple-A affiliate changes, the Twins and Astros join the Braves and Mariners as organizations having their top affiliate in the same metropolitan area as the major league city. Those four clubs have the most convenient Triple-A affiliate arrangements.

The Twins added St. Paul as their Triple-A affiliate, and the Astros partnered with Sugar Land. Both of those clubs were formerly independent franchises.

The Dodgers kept their affiliation with Triple-A Oklahoma City, which is 1,330 miles from Dodger Stadium. Not only is that by far the largest physical distance between Triple-A affiliate and parent club, but the gap is 43% larger than the second-largest gap, which is the 754 miles between the White Sox and Triple-A Charlotte.

See full details below, which sorts organizations in ascending order of the driving distance between Triple-A affiliate and big league club.

Org Triple-A State Miles
Twins St. Paul MN 12
Astros Sugar Land TX 22
Braves Gwinnett GA 36
Mariners Tacoma WA 36
Red Sox Worcester MA 44
Tigers Toledo OH 58
Phillies Lehigh Valley PA 69
Giants Sacramento CA 84
Reds Louisville KY 98
Blue Jays Buffalo NY 98
Org Triple-A State Miles
Yankees Scranton/W-B PA 128
Indians Columbus OH 142
Rangers Round Rock TX 186
Royals Omaha NE 193
Orioles Norfolk VA 232
Mets Syracuse NY 264
Cardinals Memphis TN 284
Cubs Iowa IA 339
Marlins Jacksonville FL 345
Pirates Indianapolis IN 361
Org Triple-A State Miles
Nationals Rochester NY 384
Rockies Albuquerque NM 452
Athletics Las Vegas NV 554
Brewers Nashville TN 568
Angels Salt Lake UT 682
Rays Durham NC 697
Padres El Paso TX 723
D-backs Reno NV 750
White Sox Charlotte NC 754
Dodgers Oklahoma City OK 1,330

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