The Appalachian League (Rookie), where Dutch (Antillian) players Gianfranco Wawoe, Ozaino Albies and Danny Arribas have played in 2014, may expand despite messages of a few years ago that the league would contract.
A new trend is dawning: MLB teams are looking to add more rookie league teams. The Appalachian League could be a perfect fit, especially for the East Coast MLB clubs.
According to Lee Landers, the league’s president, this issue came up at the winter meetings at San Diego. The 2015 schedule for the league has been made already, so an expension for this season is out of the question. But an expansion for the 2016 season is on the table.
Right now the league has ten teams: Pulaski Yankees, Bristol Pirates, Danville Braves, Bluefield Blue Jays, Burlington Royals, Elizabethton Twins, Greenville Astros, Johnson City Cardinals, Kingsport Mets and Princeton Rays.
At least one possible location for a new Appalachian League team is Kinston, home of the former Kinston Indians (now Carolina Mudcats). In the days of the Indians (A Advanced Carolina League) the team didn’t draw that many fans. But the team had a solid group of diehard fans that would be a perfect fit for rookie league ball. But there are a couple of Collegiate Summer league teams in the area to share a ballpark with.
There is at least one team that would be interested in a new Appalachian League team: The Seattle Mariners. After the former owners of the Pulaski Mariners sold the team, the Mariners pulled out. At that moment the Yankees stepped in and signed a PDC with the new owners. But there is no other information about other teams than the Mariners to be interested.