White Sox emerge from minor league realignment with no changes proposed

Major League Baseball’s giant, economically punishing game of musical chairs is over, and the White Sox might be the biggest winners.

The White Sox announced that they invited their four previous full-season affiliates to remain in their player development system, and in the same order. According to the Céspedes Family BBQ guys, the White Sox are the only team to enjoy that privilege.

They noted that 13 other teams will maintain all their current affiliates, but not in the same hierarchy due to league shifts.

It’s probably safe to assume that the partnerships with the Charlotte Knights, Birmingham Barons, Winston-Salem Dash and Kannapolis Cannon Ballers will hold. Baseball America has the full chart of 119 teams, which will be 120 pending the result of the situation with the Fresno Grizzlies. From here, the affiliates have to accept the invitations, after which MLB will finalize the new structure. The White Sox’s press release gave the timetable of “early 2021.”

With the White Sox enjoying the geographical proximity of their four full-season affiliates, and with Kannapolis’ new ballpark making it 4-for-4 in modern facilities, it seemed like a given that the White Sox would press to hold their ground.

The only question was whether realignment of East Coast A-ball teams would shuffle Winston-Salem and Kannapolis into the same league. The Dash and Cannon Ballers maintained their High-A and Low-A designations, so they’ll just have to learn the name of their respective leagues.

With the White Sox announcing one complex team in the Arizona League, the elimination of the Pioneer League and the Great Falls Voyagers from the affiliated system looks like the only change going forward.

In other affiliates I personally care about:

*The Nashville Sounds are now the Triple-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers. I’m more concerned about whether the Pacific Coast League’s easternmost team will get to shift to the International League, because I wouldn’t mind seeing the Knights play 15 minutes from my house a few times a year.

*The Tri-City ValleyCats, the local New York-Penn League team up in Albany, wasn’t invited to the dance despite tremendous local support as an affiliate of the Houston Astros. They averaged more than 4,000 fans for 11 consecutive seasons.

Take a second to support Sox Machine on Patreon
Jim Margalus
Jim Margalus

Writing about the White Sox for a 16th season, first here, then at South Side Sox, and now here again. Let’s talk curling.

Articles: 3917
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

I’m surprised the Mets are keeping their AA team in Binghamton. Why not move it to a larger metro area with better transportation options? Initial rumors had the Brooklyn Cyclones bumping up to AA, but they’ll be full-season High-A. Relocating the Rumble Ponies to Albany would put them in a much larger market.


independent leagues should gain quite a bit of talent from all this.

Joliet Orange Sox

I’ve been to Kassapolis. The mayor John Kass is a big Sox fan who spends most of his time yelling at clouds to get off of his lawn.

Right Size Wrong Shape

He hasn’t been the same since his wife died from choking on a ham sandwich.


No surprise given how full the roster is now.

Right Size Wrong Shape

The Braves took AJ Puckett. I forgot he existed.


In the AAA phase, the Sox drafted RHP Martin Carrasco from the Padres and lost AJ Puckett to the Braves. Puckett was a polished pitching prospect the Sox got in the Melky Cabrera trade who last threw a pitch for the organization in 2017.


Carrasco is a 21-year old pitcher the Padres signed out of Mexico in 2016. After the 2019 season, MadFriars’ David Jay wrote:

Martin Carrasco, signed out of Tijuana early in the 2016 international free agency period, posted a ridiculous 41:4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 24.2 innings after getting limited action as he dealt with injuries last summer. The righty has an advanced change-up-centric approach.


What are the rules around Rule 5 draftees for the AAA phase? I know for the MLB portion you have to keep them on the active roster (or IL) all year. Is there a similar requirement?


You draft ’em, you keep ’em. From Baseball America:

There is also a minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft. Any player who is on the 38-player Triple-A roster is protected from being picked in the minor league Rule 5 draft.

There are no eligibility rules that have to be maintained in the minor league phase. The player is drafted, the player’s old organization is paid $24,500 and immediately the player becomes a member of his new organization. Almost all of the players picked in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft are viewed as useful organizational players for their new team, but occasionally a player does find his way to the majors with his new organization.

Eagle Bones

Were there ever any reports on why Puckett never resurfaced? I’m assuming it was complications from his surgery (I think it was TJ, right?)