Two days ago, one could read about the Batavia MuckDogs joining the Perfect Game Collegiate League. Today, it was announced that another former minor league club has found a new home after the money grab move by MLB.
The Clinton LumberKings announced that it will join the Prospect League, a wood bat collegiate league, for the 2021 season. The LumberKings were one of the 42 minor league clubs that did not get an invitation by one of the thirty MLB clubs. Since the club wasn’t offered a spot in one of the “partner” leagues of MLB, it had to look for other options even though the club was the only charter member of the Midwest League (which started to play in 1956) that was left.
The Porspect League spreads across the Midwest from eastern Missouri to western Pennsylvania. For the LumberKings it is a good opportunity. Like playing in affiliated ball, the club doesn’t have to pay the players as they are still bound to their university and are not allowed to receive any payment in any form whatsoever. What changes for the team is that it doesn’t have to pay a certain percentage of the income to MLB anymore.
“We are looking forward to playing baseball in the Prospect League,” stated LumberKings General Manager Ted Tornow. “LumberKings’ fans will see players who could be drafted by any of the 30 MLB clubs, instead of only prospects in one MLB organization. We will still have that connectivity to MLB as changes are being made by MLB in how baseball is being structured through their One Baseball Plan. As we have previously said, baseball will be played here at NelsonCorp Field in 2021. Today’s announcement is proof of that promise. We have a great ballpark and fans that have been supportive of the club since its inception in 1937.”
With the LumberKings added to the Prospect League, it will have fifteen teams, so likely a sixteenth team will be added soon. The fourteen teams come from the following states: Missouri, Ohio, Illinois, Indiana, West Virginia, and Pennsylvania. With the addition of the LumberKings, a seventh state, Iowa, will be added.