Major League Baseball, Prep Baseball Report (PBR), and five founding members announced the formation of the MLB Draft League, which will become the first league in the country focused on top prospects who are eligible to be drafted by MLB Clubs that summer. With the 2021 MLB Draft moved back to July and being held as part of All-Star Week, draft-eligible players will have a unique opportunity to showcase their abilities and gain exposure to MLB Clubs and fans next summer. The new format affirms MLB’s commitment to the region and assures that communities of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia and New Jersey will continue to host high-caliber baseball and future Major Leaguers for years to come.
The founding members of the MLB Draft League will be the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, the State College Spikes, the Trenton Thunder, the West Virginia Black Bears, and the Williamsport Crosscutters. The League is in advanced discussions with a sixth team and hopes to announce in the coming weeks. Plans include a 68-game regular season with an annual All-Star Break centered around the MLB Draft. MLB Draft League participants will receive unprecedented visibility to MLB Club scouts through both in-person observation and state-of-the-art scouting technology, and educational programming designed to prepare them for careers as professional athletes. PBR will provide support for the league’s staffing, player and coach recruitment, on-field operations, and administrative functions. PBR will also use their media and technology platforms to promote the league and its players throughout the season.
Monday’s announcement follows the late September announcement of the Appalachian League’s evolution into the premier college wood bat league for the nation’s top rising freshmen and sophomores, and is part of MLB’s broader efforts to modernize player development while preserving baseball in the local communities in which it is currently played. More announcements, including additional members of the MLB Draft League, other MLB-sponsored leagues as well as licensed affiliates, will follow in the coming weeks.
Kerrick Jackson will serve as President of the MLB Draft League. Prior to joining PBR, Jackson served as the head coach at Southern University, where he led a nine-win team to the NCAA Tournament in three years. For three years, Jackson was the Midwest Area Scouting Supervisor for the Washington Nationals, overseeing Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska and the Dakotas. Jackson served as the recruiting coordinator at the University of Missouri for five years (2010-2015) and has held assistant roles at Nicholls State University, Fairfield University, Emporia State University and Coffeyville Community College. He has coached in the Cape Cod League and New England Collegiate Baseball League.
Morgan Sword, MLB’s Executive Vice President, Baseball Economics & Operations, said: “We are thrilled to partner with Prep Baseball Report and the founding members of the MLB Draft League to create a one-of-a-kind league that will attract the nation’s top players who are eligible for each year’s MLB Draft and allow local fans to see top prospects and future big-league stars in their hometowns. This announcement continues MLB’s commitment to preserving and growing baseball in communities around the United States.”
Sean Duncan, President of Prep Baseball Report, said: “We are honored to work with these ownership groups and Major League Baseball to assure the future of impactful, high-level baseball to the region and continue the legacy of deep community involvement from all of these teams. With more than 150 scouts and operations personnel coast-to-coast at the high school, collegiate and junior college levels, we take great pride in our ability to identify the nation’s top amateur draft prospects, which will ultimately make the MLB Draft League the preeminent league for draft-eligible players.”
The Cleveland Indians said, "“Following today’s confirmation of the MLB Draft League, the Cleveland Indians would like to thank the Mahoning Valley Scrappers and the surrounding community for the unwavering support they provided the organization and its players during their twenty seasons as our New York-Penn League affiliate. The MLB Draft is instrumental to our organizational success and we know that Mahoning Valley will excel at providing a competitive atmosphere for amateur prospects to boost their stock while preparing them for the transition to professional baseball. “