NILES, Ohio (WKBN) – The Mahoning Valley Scrappers will maintain its affiliation with Major League Baseball, albeit in a different way, beginning this summer.
The Scrappers, in conjunction with Major League Baseball (MLB) and Prep Baseball Report (PBR), have announced the formation of the MLB Draft League beginning in the 2021 season.
The Scrappers will remain affiliated with MLB under the long-term partnership. The league will focus on top college-level prospects who are eligible to be drafted that summer by MLB teams. The partnership preserves high-level baseball in the Mahoning Valley for years to come.
“After many months of calls, letters, legislation and tough discussions with Major League Baseball to ensure the Scrappers stay in the Mahoning Valley, I’m proud to say that this announcement will not only protect the Scrappers but add value to our community and local baseball fans,” said Congressman Tim Ryan. “By showcasing the best draft-eligible talent in our nation, the Scrappers are poised to continue providing our community amazing entertainment for many years to come.”
Mahoning Valley had previously been a long-time single-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians in the New York-Penn League since 1999.
“So many of us have fought hard to protect the Mahoning Valley Scrappers because the team represents so much of what makes the Valley great — grit, determination and the ability to overcome adversity no matter the odds,” said Senator Sherrod Brown. “I’m glad that MLB listened. The formation of the MLB Draft League is good news for baseball and for fans in the Valley, who will get to continue to see high-level prospects in their own backyard and rally around the Scrappers again soon.”
The founding members of the MLB Draft League will be the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, State College Spikes, West Virginia Black Bears, Williamsport Crosscutters and Trenton Thunder. The League is in advanced discussions with a sixth team and hopes to announce in the coming weeks.
“We appreciate the opportunity to continue our affiliation with Major League Baseball in the brand new MLB Draft League,” said Jordan Taylor, HWS Baseball vice president and general manager of the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. “This exciting new venture will allow Scrappers fans the opportunity to see the best current Major League Baseball draft prospects at Eastwood Field. The partnership will ensure our community will get the opportunity to watch the future stars of Major League Baseball for years to come.”
MLB Draft League participants will receive unprecedented visibility to MLB club scouts through both in-person observation and state-of-the-art scouting technology, along with educational programming designed to prepare them for careers as professional athletes.
PBR will provide support for the league’s staffing, player and coach recruitment, on-field operations and administrative functions. PBR will also use its media and technology platforms to promote the league and its players throughout the season.
Plans include a 68-game regular season with an annual All-Star Break centered around the MLB Draft.
“We are thrilled to partner with Prep Baseball Report and the founding members of the MLB Draft League to create a one-of-a-kind league that will attract the nation’s top players who are eligible for each year’s MLB Draft and allow local fans to see top prospects and future big-league stars in their hometowns. This announcement continues MLB’s commitment to preserving and growing baseball in communities around the United States,” said Morgan Sword, MLB’s executive vice president, baseball economics and operations.
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