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

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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.

OrganizationTriple-A OldTriple-A NewMiles Saved
NationalsFresno, CARochester, NY2,412
MarlinsWichita, KSJacksonville, FL1,285
TwinsRochester, NYSt. Paul, MN999
BrewersSan Antonio, TXNashville, TN718
RangersNashville, TNRound Rock, TX495
AstrosRound Rock, TXSugar Land, TX144

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.

OrgTriple-AStateMiles
TwinsSt. PaulMN12
AstrosSugar LandTX22
BravesGwinnettGA36
MarinersTacomaWA36
Red SoxWorcesterMA44
TigersToledoOH58
PhilliesLehigh ValleyPA69
GiantsSacramentoCA84
RedsLouisvilleKY98
Blue JaysBuffaloNY98
OrgTriple-AStateMiles
YankeesScranton/W-BPA128
IndiansColumbusOH142
RangersRound RockTX186
RoyalsOmahaNE193
OriolesNorfolkVA232
MetsSyracuseNY264
CardinalsMemphisTN284
CubsIowaIA339
MarlinsJacksonvilleFL345
PiratesIndianapolisIN361
OrgTriple-AStateMiles
NationalsRochesterNY384
RockiesAlbuquerqueNM452
AthleticsLas VegasNV554
BrewersNashvilleTN568
AngelsSalt LakeUT682
RaysDurhamNC697
PadresEl PasoTX723
D-backsRenoNV750
White SoxCharlotteNC754
DodgersOklahoma CityOK1,330
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