MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WMBF) - Minor League Baseball in the Grand Strand could look a little different when the Myrtle Beach Pelicans take the field in 2021.
The Chicago Cubs announced Wednesday that the franchise invited the Pelicans to be a Class A affiliate for the upcoming season. The South Bend Cubs would take Myrtle Beach’s place as Chicago’s Class A-Advanced affiliate next year with the change.
“The Myrtle Beach Pelicans are honored to have received an invitation from Major League Baseball and the Chicago Cubs to be a member of the MLB’s new player development structure as a Cubs affiliate,” said Pelicans president and general manager Ryan Moore in a statement. “We look forward to reviewing the complete terms of the Player Development License once we receive it to assure that it works for the team, the fans and the community.”
The move is part of a massive restructuring for the minor leagues, after reports that Major League Baseball wanted to cut down the number of minor league teams.
Class A-Advanced typically features high draft picks, players with college experience and other players that have been promoted throughout the minor leagues. Normal Class A features players moving up from the lower short season or rookie ranks, along with other first-year players.
If the Pelicans were to accept, it would likely mean a move to the South Atlantic League beginning next season. The SAL includes several teams in South Carolina, including the Charleston RiverDogs, Columbia Fireflies and the Greenville Drive.
The Pelicans have been a member of the Class A-Advanced’s Carolina League since coming to Myrtle Beach in 1999 as an affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. Since then, the team’s affiliation has gone to the Texas Rangers from 2011-2014 before moving to the Cubs in 2015, when the team won back-to-back Carolina League titles.
“We have had a great six years as a member of the Chicago Cubs family and are thrilled for the invitation to continue as a part of their player development system for many more years to come,” said Moore. “As we move into 2021 and beyond, we are eager for the many memories sure to come for all fans at Pelicans Ballpark.”
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