Triple-A (baseball)

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Triple-A (or Class AAA) is the highest level of play in minor league baseball (MiLB) in the United States and Mexico. Until recently, Triple-A leagues fielded teams in Canada as well.[1] Triple-A teams are typically located in the largest metropolitan areas that do not have Major League Baseball (MLB) teams, such as Austin, Texas, and Columbus, Ohio.

Purpose[edit]

Triple-A teams' main purpose is to prepare players for the Major Leagues. ESPN wrote in 2010:[2]

Winning is nice, but secondary. It's much more important for a young prospect like outfielder Xavier Paul to get regular at-bats against lefties, or work on dropping down sacrifice bunts with a runner on first, than it is to take three of four from the Portland Beavers.[2]

Both young players and veterans play for Triple-A teams:

There are the young prospects speeding through the organization on the fastest treadmill, the guys who used to be young prospects who are in danger of topping out in Triple-A, the 30-somethings trying to get back to the majors after an injury or a rough patch, and the guys just playing a few more seasons because someone still wants them and they still want to.[2]

Players at this level who are on the 40-man roster of a major league team can be invited to come up to the major league club once the major league roster expands on September 1 (though teams will usually wait until their affiliates' playoff runs are over, should they qualify). For teams in contention for the post-season, these players create the flexibility needed to rest regular starters in late regular season games. For those not in contention, recalling such players gives them an opportunity to evaluate their future players under game conditions.

Leagues[edit]

Teams at this level are divided into three leagues: the International League, the Pacific Coast League, and the MLB-independent Mexican League. The Mexican League fields teams throughout Mexico. The International League traditionally fielded teams in the Northeastern United States, and now fields teams in the Midwest and South as well. The Pacific Coast League originally fielded teams on the West Coast, but now fields teams throughout the western part of the United States. For much of the 20th century, the American Association, which consisted of teams in the Midwestern United States, was also at this level, but it disbanded in 1997 and its teams were divided among the IL and PCL. Each of the 30 Major League Baseball teams has an affiliation with one Triple-A team in the United States. However, Mexican Triple-A teams are not included in the organized farm team system.

Current teams[edit]

International League[edit]

Division Team Founded1 MLB Affiliation City Stadium Capacity2
North Buffalo Bisons 1979 Toronto Blue Jays Buffalo, New York Coca-Cola Field 18,025
Lehigh Valley IronPigs 2008 Philadelphia Phillies Allentown, Pennsylvania Coca-Cola Park 10,100
Pawtucket Red Sox 1973 Boston Red Sox Pawtucket, Rhode Island McCoy Stadium 10,031
Rochester Red Wings 1899 Minnesota Twins Rochester, New York Frontier Field 13,500
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders 1989 New York Yankees Moosic, Pennsylvania PNC Field 10,000
Syracuse Chiefs 1961 Washington Nationals Syracuse, New York NBT Bank Stadium 11,071
South Charlotte Knights 1993 Chicago White Sox Charlotte, North Carolina BB&T Ballpark 10,200
Durham Bulls 1998 Tampa Bay Rays Durham, North Carolina Durham Bulls Athletic Park3 10,000
Gwinnett Braves 2009 Atlanta Braves Lawrenceville, Georgia Coolray Field 10,475
Norfolk Tides 1969 Baltimore Orioles Norfolk, Virginia Harbor Park 12,067
West Columbus Clippers 1977 Cleveland Indians Columbus, Ohio Huntington Park 10,100
Indianapolis Indians 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates Indianapolis, Indiana Victory Field 14,230
Louisville Bats 1982 Cincinnati Reds Louisville, Kentucky Louisville Slugger Field 13,131
Toledo Mud Hens 1965 Detroit Tigers Toledo, Ohio Fifth Third Field 10,300
1 Indicates current IL franchise's first year in current city. Some franchises have prior history in other cities, or had local predecessor franchises at other levels that shared their current name.
2 Many stadiums have lawn seating and thus capacity is approximate.
3 Hosted the 2014 Triple-A All-Star Game

Pacific Coast League[edit]

American Conference
Division Team MLB Affiliation City Stadium Capacity
North Colorado Springs Sky Sox Milwaukee Brewers Colorado Springs, Colorado Security Service Field 8,500
Iowa Cubs Chicago Cubs Des Moines, Iowa Principal Park 11,500
Oklahoma City RedHawks Los Angeles Dodgers Oklahoma City, Oklahoma Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark 13,066
Omaha Storm Chasers Kansas City Royals Papillion, Nebraska Werner Park 9,023
South Memphis Redbirds St. Louis Cardinals Memphis, Tennessee AutoZone Park 14,384
Nashville Sounds Oakland Athletics Nashville, Tennessee First Tennessee Park 10,000
New Orleans Zephyrs Miami Marlins Metairie, Louisiana Zephyr Field 10,000
Round Rock Express Texas Rangers Round Rock, Texas Dell Diamond 11,000
Pacific Conference
Division Team MLB Affiliation City Stadium Capacity
North Fresno Grizzlies Houston Astros Fresno, California Chukchansi Park 12,500
Reno Aces Arizona Diamondbacks Reno, Nevada Aces Ballpark 9,100
Sacramento River Cats San Francisco Giants West Sacramento, California Raley Field 14,014
Tacoma Rainiers Seattle Mariners Tacoma, Washington Cheney Stadium 9,600
South Albuquerque Isotopes Colorado Rockies Albuquerque, New Mexico Isotopes Park 13,279
El Paso Chihuahuas San Diego Padres El Paso, Texas Southwest University Park 9,500
Las Vegas 51s New York Mets Las Vegas, Nevada Cashman Field 9,334
Salt Lake Bees Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Salt Lake City, Utah Smith's Ballpark 15,411


Mexican League[edit]

Zone Team Location Stadium Capacity
North Rieleros de Aguascalientes (Aguascalientes Railroaders) Aguascalientes, Aguascalientes Parque Alberto Romo Chávez 9,000
Vaqueros Laguna (Laguna Cowboys) Torreón, Coahuila Estadio Revolución 12,000
Diablos Rojos del México (Mexico City Red Devils) Mexico D.F. Foro Sol 26,000
Acereros de Monclova (Monclova Steelers) Monclova, Coahuila Estadio De Béisbol Monclova 9,000
Sultanes de Monterrey (Monterrey Sultans) Monterrey, Nuevo León Estadio de Beisbol Monterrey 27,000
Toros de Tijuana (Tijuana Bulls) Tijuana, Baja California Estadio Gasmart 18,500
Broncos de Reynosa (Reynosa Broncos) Reynosa, Tamaulipas Estadio Adolfo López Mateos 7,000
Saraperos de Saltillo (Saltillo Sarape Makers) Saltillo, Coahuila Estadio de Beisbol Francisco I. Madero 16,000
South Piratas de Campeche (Campeche Pirates) Campeche, Campeche Estadio Nelson Barrera 6,000
Delfines de Ciudad del Carmen (Ciudad del Carmen Dolphins) Ciudad del Carmen, Campeche Estadio Resurgimiento 5,000
Pericos de Puebla (Puebla Parrots) Puebla, Puebla Estadio Hermanos Serdán 7,500
Guerreros de Oaxaca (Oaxaca Warriors) Oaxaca, Oaxaca Eduardo Vasconcelos Stadium 7,200
Tigres de Quintana Roo (Quintana Roo Tigers) Cancún, Quintana Roo Estadio de Béisbol Beto Ávila 9,000
Olmecas de Tabasco (Tabasco Olmecs) Villahermosa, Tabasco Estadio Centenario 27 de Febrero 10,500
Rojos del Águila de Veracruz (Veracruz Red Eagles) Veracruz, Veracruz Estadio Universitario Beto Avila 7,782
Leones de Yucatán (Yucatan Lions) Mérida, Yucatán Estadio de Béisbol Kukulkán 13,600


Triple-A All-Star Game[edit]

The Triple-A All-Star Game is a single game held between the two affiliated Triple-A leagues. Each league fields a team composed of the top stars in their respective leagues as voted on by fans, the media, and club field managers and general managers.

The event has taken place every year since 1988 when the first Triple-A All-Star Game was played in Buffalo, New York. Prior to 1998, a team of American League Triple-A All-Stars faced off against a team of National League Triple-A All-Stars. Traditionally, the game has taken place on the day after the mid-summer Major League Baseball All-Star Game.

Triple-A Championship[edit]

Since 2006, the annual Triple-A Baseball National Championship Game has been held to serve as a single championship game between the champions of the International League and Pacific Coast League to determine an overall champion of Triple-A baseball. It was originally held annually at AT&T Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; beginning in 2011, it will be held in a different city every year.[3][4]

References[edit]

Notes
  1. ^ "Lynx are outta here: Team sold, will move to U.S.". www.canada.com. Ottawa Citizen. 29 August 2006. Retrieved 20 September 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c Shelburne, Ramona (September 1, 2010). "John Lindsey waits for his chance". ESPN. Retrieved September 28, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Bricktown Showdown To Determine Triple-A Baseball Champion." Triple-A Baseball. Press Release. July 12, 2006.
  4. ^ "Triple-A championship game renamed." Pacific Coast League. August 7, 2009. Retrieved on August 8, 2009.

External links[edit]