As Major League Baseball’s new player developmental structure goes into effect in 2021, the Atlanta Braves announced who their four primary affiliates would be.
The Braves will be maintaining their three team-owned affiliations, while adding an affiliation with the Augusta GreenJackets.
Augusta will be the Braves’ Class A affiliate, while the Rome Braves will be making the leap from Class A to the advanced Class A level. The Double-A Mississippi Braves and Triple-A Gwinnett Stripers will complete the Atlanta farm system.
“We are excited to invite these four teams to be part of the Braves player development system,” said Chip Moore, the Braves’ executive vice president of minor league affiliates and strategic planning, in a release. “The potential of having our four affiliates all within Braves Country allows our fans to follow their favorite players as they develop from prospects to major leaguers.”
The Braves’ previous advanced Class A affiliate was the Florida Fire Frogs, based at the parent club’s spring training complex in North Port, Florida. The rookie-level Appalachian League, of which the Braves had an affiliate in Danville, Virginia, will be transitioning into a collegiate summer league.
The inclusion of Gwinnett, a five-time International League champion, lengthens the longest-running affiliation in professional baseball to 56 years. The partnership began in 1966 when the Triple-A club was in Richmond, Virginia, and continued through the team’s relocation in 2009 to Coolray Field in Lawrenceville.
Mississippi has been the Braves’ Double-A affiliate since 2005. Based at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Mississippi, the team won a Southern League title in 2008, and has sent 150 players to the major leagues.
Rome will make the step up on the organizational ladder after serving as the Braves’ Class A affiliate since 2003, following the affiliate’s relocation from Macon. Rome, which plays at State Mutual Stadium, won two South Atlantic League titles in 2003 and 2016.
With its move, Rome would likely join the advanced Class A Carolina League.
Augusta will begin its affiliation with the Braves after spending seven years as an affiliate of the San Francisco Giants in the South Atlantic League. The GreenJackets, originally formed in 1988, play their home games at the three-year-old SRP Park in North Augusta, South Carolina, across the Savannah River from Augusta.