MLB has announced that three independent baseball leagues are now officially “Partner Leagues.” Those leagues are the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB), the Frontier League (FL), and the American Association of Professional Baseball (AA).
Previously, the ALPB was used to test an automated strike zone, pitch clocks, and even the extra-innings runner on second base rule, so that will likely be expanded across the three leagues.
It is hard not to be extra concerned about the future of Minor League Baseball as we know it. The MLB-MiLB agreement expires soon, and there were rumblings about a desire to remove some MiLB teams back in April 2020. It’s just speculation at this point because these “partners” aren’t affiliates, but if an owner has a choice between financing a Single-A affiliate team or using a self-sustaining independent league team as part of their farm system, which one do you think they go with?
It is exciting to be able to say that there are now three Chicago baseball teams associated with MLB: the White Sox, the Cubs, and everyone’s favorite Chicago Dogs.