PITTSBURGH — A month ago, the Pirates officially lost one of their minor league affiliates when the Bristol Pirates and the rest of the Appalachian League agreed to become a collegiate wooden bat league.
Now it’s looking like another affiliate could meet a similar fate.
Major League Baseball is proposing converting the New York-Penn League into a collegiate wooden bat league for rising seniors ahead of the amateur draft, according to J.J. Cooper of Baseball America. The Pirates' short-season A affiliate, the West Virginia Black Bears, play in that league.
DK Pittsburgh Sports reached out to the Black Bears, who declined to comment as to respect the process the league and MLB are going through.
The Black Bears were not originally listed as one of the teams MLB proposed cutting after the 2020 season. Some of the teams in the league could change their affiliation or class. MLB is trying to keep some sort of baseball presence in areas that are losing an affiliated club.