Minor League Baseball Classifications Based on Population

2016 Census

Happy Census Day Canada!  In honour of today (Tuesday, May 10, 2016) being the reference date of the 2016 Census of Canada, I am posting a fun list based on population.

If MLB & Minor League Baseball classifications were based solely on population, here is how the leagues would look.  I have listed each city under what classification they would fit under in such a scenario.  I have also included what classification they currently play under.  The classifications included for this purpose are MLB, MiLB (all levels), independent league, summer collegiate league and NCAA Division 1.  I only included the highest level league for each city/metro.  For example, if a metro has both a AA team and an NCAA team, then they are counted as a AA city.

I have not divided the cities up into hypothetical leagues.  Cities are listed in order of population (2010 US Census & 2011 Canadian Census).  Populations and baseball history of each metro can be viewed here.

Note: AAA, AA, High A & Low A each have one affiliation with every MLB team.  While Short Season A & Rookie Advanced don’t.

Major Leagues
  1. New York, NY (Mets & Yankees) (MLB)
  2. Los Angeles, CA (Angels & Dodgers) (MLB)
  3. Chicago, IL (Cubs & White Sox) (MLB)
  4. Dallas, TX (MLB)
  5. Philadelphia, PA (MLB)
  6. Houston, TX (MLB)
  7. Toronto, ON (MLB)
  8. Washington, DC (MLB)
  9. Miami, FL (MLB)
  10. Atlanta, GA (MLB)
  11. Boston, MA (MLB)
  12. San Francisco, CA (Athletics & Giants) (MLB)
  13. Detroit, MI (MLB)
  14. Riverside, CA (High A)
  15. Phoenix, AZ (MLB)
  16. Montreal, QC (No baseball)
  17. Seattle, WA (MLB)
  18. Minneapolis, MN (MLB)
  19. San Diego, CA (MLB)
  20. St. Louis, MO (MLB)
  21. Tampa, FL (MLB)
  22. Baltimore, MD (MLB)
  23. Denver, CO (MLB)
  24. Pittsburgh, PA (MLB)
  25. Vancouver, BC (Short Season A)
  26. San Juan, PR (Winter league)

AAA

  1. Portland, OR (Short Season A)
  2. Sacramento, CA (AAA)
  3. San Antonio, TX (AA)
  4. Orlando, FL (Complex leagues)
  5. Cincinnati, OH (MLB)
  6. Cleveland, OH (MLB)
  7. Kansas City, MO (MLB)
  8. Las Vegas, NV (AAA)
  9. San Jose, CA (High A)
  10. Columbus, OH (AAA)
  11. Charlotte, NC (AAA)
  12. Indianapolis, IN (AAA)
  13. Austin, TX (AAA)
  14. Hampton Roads, VA (AAA)
  15. Providence, RI (AAA)
  16. Nashville, TN (AAA)
  17. Milwaukee, WI (MLB)
  18. Jacksonville, FL (AA)
  19. Memphis, TN (AAA)
  20. Louisville, KY (AAA)
  21. Richmond, VA (AA)
  22. Oklahoma City, OK (AAA)
  23. Ottawa, ON (Indy league)
  24. Calgary, AB (Summer Collegiate)
  25. Hartford, CT (AA)
  26. New Orleans, LA (AAA)
  27. Edmonton, AB (Summer Collegiate)
  28. Buffalo, NY (AAA)
  29. Raleigh, NC (NCAA – see Durham)
  30. Birmingham, AL (AA)

AA

  1. Salt Lake City, UT (AAA)
  2. Rochester, NY (AAA)
  3. Tucson, AZ (Indy league)
  4. Honolulu. HI (NCAA)
  5. Tulsa, OK (AA)
  6. Fresno, CA (AAA)
  7. Bridgeport, CT (Indy league)
  8. Albuquerque, NM (AAA)
  9. Albany, NY (Short Season A)
  10. Omaha, NE (AAA)
  11. New Haven, CT (NCAA)
  12. Dayton, OH (Low A)
  13. Bakersfield, CA (High A)
  14. Oxnard, CA (Summer Collegiate)
  15. Allentown, PA (AAA)
  16. Baton Rouge, LA (NCAA)
  17. El Paso, TX (AAA)
  18. Worcester, MA (Summer Collegitate)
  19. McAllen, TX  (No baseball
  20. Grand Rapids, MI (Low A)
  21. Columbia, SC (Low A)
  22. Quebec City, QC (Indy league)
  23. Winnipeg, MB (Indy league)
  24. Greensboro, NC (Low A)
  25. Hamilton, ON (Semi-pro)
  26. Akron, OH (AA)
  27. Sarasota, FL (Complex league)
  28. Little Rock, AR (AA)
  29. Knoxville, TN (AA)
  30. Springfield, MA (Summer collegiate)

High A

  1. Stockton, CA (High A)
  2. Poughkeepsie, NY (Short Season A)
  3. Charleston, SC (Low A)
  4. Syracuse, NY (AAA)
  5. Toledo, OH (AAA)
  6. Colorado Springs, CO (AAA)
  7. Greenville, SC (Low A)
  8. Wichita, KS (Indy league)
  9. Fort Myers, FL (High A)
  10. Boise, ID (Short Season A)
  11. Lakeland, FL (High A)
  12. Des Moines, IA (AAA)
  13. Madison, WI (Summer Collegiate)
  14. Youngstown, OH (NCAA)
  15. Scranton-Wilks Barre, PA (AAA)
  16. Augusta, GA (Low A)
  17. Harrisburg, PA (AA)
  18. Ogden, UT (Advance Rookie)
  19. Melbourne, FL (Complex league)
  20. Jackson, MS (AA)
  21. Chattanooga, TN (AA)
  22. Provo, UT (Advanced Rookie)
  23. Lancaster, PA (Indy league)
  24. Modesto, CA (High A)
  25. Portland, ME (AA)
  26. Durham, NC (AAA)
  27. Daytona Beach, FL (High A)
  28. Santa Rosa, CA (No baseball)
  29. Winston-Salem, NC (High A)
  30. Kitchener, ON (Semi-pro)

Low A

  1. London, ON (Semi-pro)
  2. Lexington, KY (Low A)
  3. Spokane, WA (Short Season A)
  4. Lansing, MI (Low A)
  5. Fayetteville, AR (Summer Collegiate)
  6. Pensacola, FL (AA)
  7. Visalia, CA (High A)
  8. Springfield, MO (AA)
  9. York, PA (Indy league)
  10. Corpus Christi, TX (AA)
  11. Flint, MI (No baseball)
  12. Reno, NV (AAA)
  13. Asheville, NC (Low A)
  14. Port St. Lucie, FL (High A)
  15. Santa Barbara, CA (Summer Collegiate)
  16. Huntsville, AL (NCAA)
  17. Fort Wayne, IN (Low A)
  18. Salinas, CA (No baseball)
  19. Vallejo, CA (Indy league)
  20. Mobile, AL (AA)
  21. Reading, PA (AA)
  22. Brownsville, TX (No baseball)
  23. Killeen, TX (No baseball)
  24. Canton, OH (Summer Collegiate)
  25. Manchester, NH (AA)
  26. Shreveport, LA (No baseball)
  27. St. Catherines, ON (No baseball)
  28. Salem, OR (Short Season A)
  29. Halifax, NS (No baseball)
  30. Beaumont, TX (NCAA)

Short Season A (22 teams)

  1. Anchorage, AK (Summer Collegiate)
  2. Davenport, IA (Low A)
  3. Peoria, IL (Low A)
  4. Montgomery, AL (AA)
  5. Tallahassee, FL (NCAA)
  6. Trenton, NJ (AA)
  7. Fayetteville, NC (Summer collegiate)
  8. Hickory, NC (Low A)
  9. Wilmington, NC (Summer collegiate/NCAA)
  10. Evansville, IN (Indy league)
  11. Oshawa, ON (No baseball)
  12. Eugene, OR (Short Season A)
  13. Rockford, IL (Summer Collegiate)
  14. Savannah, GA (Summer Collegiate)
  15. Ann Arbor, MI (NCAA)
  16. Victoria, BC (Summer Collegiate)
  17. Ocala, FL (No baseball)
  18. Kalamazoo, MI (Summer Collegiate)
  19. Ponce, PR (No baseball)
  20. Aguadilla, PR (No baseball)
  21. Naples, FL (No baseball)
  22. Windsor, ON (No baseball)

Rookie Advanced (18 teams)

  1. Send Bend, IN (Low A)
  2. Kingsport-Bristol, TN (Advanced Rookie)
  3. Roanoke, VA (High A – Salem)
  4. Green Bay, WI (Summer Collegiate)
  5. Charleston, WV (Low A)
  6. Lincoln, NE (Indy league)
  7. Fort Collins, CO (No baseball)
  8. Utica, NY (Summer Collegiate)
  9. Fort Smith, AR (No baseball)
  10. Columbus, GA (No baseball)
  11. Boulder, CO (No baseball)
  12. Huntington, WV (NCAA)
  13. Lubbock, TX (NCAA)
  14. Spartanburg, SC (Summer Collegiate/NCAA)
  15. Erie, PA (AA)
  16. Duluth, MN (Summer Collegiate)
  17. Atlantic City, NJ (No baseball)
  18. Norwich, CT (AA)

Complex leagues (Being ignored, staying as is under this scenerio)

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2 Responses to Minor League Baseball Classifications Based on Population

  1. Allyn says:

    A couple of quick thoughts.

    Under AAA, you have, “Raleigh, NC (NCAA – see Durham).” And then Durham, which has a AAA team, is further down in High-A. There’s some interesting history with the business of baseball in the Triangle (the greater Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area).

    When the Carolina Mudcats, then a AA franchise in the Southern League, relocated to North Carolina in the 1980s, the intention of the owner was for the team to go in Raleigh proper. Unfortunately, the then-ownership of the Durham Bulls (then a High-A team) vetoed Raleigh; the city fell entirely within the thirty-five mile territorial radius of their ballpark. The owner took out a road map, got a compass, and drew a 35 mile circle centered on the Bulls’ park. Zebulon, a small town about twenty miles east of Raleigh, was the closest town outside the 35-mile circle. That’s where Five County Stadium went.

    In the late 1990s, when the Durham Bulls were upgraded to AAA status, they needed a new ballpark. The Bulls owners wanted to build the park near RDU, the airport just outside Raleigh, because the team would have to draw from both cities, but now the Mudcats owner vetoed that; RDU was within his thirty-five mile radius. Because of a decision Bulls’ ownership made fifteen-odd years earlier, they were limited in where their ballpark could go, which is why the Durham Bulls Athletic Park is is downtown Durham, just a few miles from the old High-A park.

    Several years back, the AA Mudcats relocated to (I believe) Georgia; the Southern League instituted new rules about bus trip distances, which meant a number of teams in the league would have to fly to North Carolina, and that was cost-prohibitive. The High-A Kinston Indians relocated west to Zebulon and became the High-A Mudcats. Kinston may get a new team in a few years; though relocation of the Wilmington Blue Rocks fell through, there’s talk of relocating two California League teams to the Carolina League, and Fayetteville is looking at building a High-A facility for the other relocated team.

    When I lived in Raleigh, I went to both Bulls and Mudcats games. It was easier to get to Zubulon than it was to get to Durham. I don’t know that Raleigh will ever get an affiliated minor league team. I don’t know if there’s any interest with Durham and Zebulon nearby. Plus, its few collegiate summer teams in the Coastal Plains League have folded within a season or two. (So I’m curious to see how long the Holly Springs Salamanders stay in business.)

    Going back to the distance thing, Halifax’s best bet would be, imho, relocating an International League team. The IL is spread out, teams usually fly. I can’t imagine the grind that the Akron-to-Halifax (in the Eastern League) or Morgantown-to-Halifax (in the New York-Penn League) would be.

    Perhaps the most workable solution for high level baseball in the Maritime Provinces would be a collegiate summer league, such as the Cape Cod, the Northwoods, the New England, the Valley, or the Alaska Leagues.

  2. agalley says:

    Thanks for the information, Allyn! Sorry for the delay in responding, as I was recently married.

    Despite being in the same area, I included both Raleigh and Durham in this list as their listed as separate Metropolitan Statistical Areas by the U.S. Census Bureau (but in the same Combined Statistical Area). I used MSAs as opposed to CSAs as the Canadian equivalent (census metropolitan areas) is the equivalent of a MSA. A similar situation happened in the Bay Area as San Francisco / Oakland is a separate MSA from San Jose.

    I agree that Raleigh is unlikely to get an affiliated team due to the nearby competition. Such a team would have to go up against the Mudcats, Bulls, summer collegiate teams and, of course, Duke, UNC & NC State. Nor would the two current affiliated teams ever give permission for a Raleigh startup as it’ll cut into their current fan bases. The area is more likely to land a Major League team than having that happen. The old Mudcats, BTW, are now the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (the Reds AA affiliate).

    I tend to agree with you that the Maritime’s best bet for high level baseball is a summer collegiate league. Can Am League may work with multiple teams in the region (for travel & rivalry purposes). As of right now, I don’t see an affiliated league working in the region. This is because of geography and lack of baseball tradition. I don’t see anyone building a AA (Eastern) or AAA (International) level park without testing the market out for baseball first (through summer college or independent league first). All lower level leagues are just too far away. The NYPL is the only one that’s even remotely close. But commutes like Halifax to Morgantown would be too far (2015 km / 1252 mi). If there was a four team division made up of teams just from the Maritimes and Maine, then maybe but still a stretch.

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