Jake Sanford’s Path to the Majors

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Jake Sanford will find himself at George M. Steinbrenner Field sooner or later (courtesy MLB.com)

Let’s take a quick moment to discuss Jake Sanford’s future.  As a baseball player, it’ll probably be three years or so before he makes the Major Leagues.  That means he’ll spend the next number of years riding the buses in the minors.  But where will he play?  Let’s examine the Yankees farm system to see where Sanford may be calling home in the future.  Keep in mind this is the Yankee’s present farm system, things are subject to change in the future in regards to things like franchise relocation and changes to affiliation agreements.

Rookie Leagues – The Yankees have two Gulf Coast League teams, names Yankees East and Yankees West.  Both teams play out of the team’s spring training complex in Tampa, Florida.  The more advanced rookies play for the Pulaski Yankees of the Appalachian League.  This team plays at Calfee Park in Pulaski, Virginia.  They have been affiliated with the Yankees since the 2015 season.  Blue Jays fans may remember them being the Pulaski Blue Jays from 2003 to 2006.

Short A – The Yankees (short season) Class A affiliate is the Staten Island Yankees.  These Yankees play out of the Richmond County Bank Ballpark on Staten Island.  The club has been successful since making their New York Penn League debut in 1999, winning six league championships but none since 2011.

Class A – The Yankees Class A affiliate is the Charleston RiverDogs of the South Atlantic League.  They play out of Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park in Charleston, South Carolina.  The RiverDogs have been a Yankees farm club since 2005.  The club has been playing out of Charleston since 1973, save for the 1979 season.

Class A Advanced – The Yankees Advanced Class A team (that’s right, Minor League Baseball has three divisions that go by Class A) are the Tampa Tarpons of the Florida State League.  The team plays out of George M. Steinbrenner Field, which is also the main spring training stadium of the parent New York Yankees.  The club has been Tampa based since 1994, taking on the Tarpons name last year, after being known as the Yankees.  The original Tampa Tarpons played from 1957-88, the Rays have actually worn their jerseys as throwbacks on previous occasions.

Double A – The club’s AA affiliate is the Trenton Thunder of the Eastern League.  The Yankees have had this affiliation since 2003, taking the affiliation over from the rival Boston Red Sox.  The Thunder play out of Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton, New Jersey.  People from London, Ontario may remember the franchise when they were the London Tigers from 1989 to 1993 before relocating to their present location in the Garden State.

Triple A – The Yankee’s top farm club are the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders of the International League.  The team is based out of PNC Field, located in Moosic, Pennsylvania.  The franchise has bounced around over the years (but not since 1989), being located in previous locations such as Ottawa, ON and Old Orchard Beach, ME.  The Yankees have sent prospects here since 2007, after the club was a Phillies farm team.

So that is Sanford’s patch to the Majors assuming he can advance that far.  It is also dependent on the teams staying in their current locations which affiliations with the Yankees.  There is also the possibility of Sanford being traded to another organization.  This is a possibility as the Yankees are usually in contention and therefore trading prospects for Major League talent at the deadline.  But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves.  If he can keep up the good work, these are the steps Sanford needs to take to make it to Yankee Stadium sometime in the future.

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