“This is a historic day for the Somerset Patriots,” said team President/General Manager Patrick McVerry. “We are proud to begin our time as a Yankees affiliate as part of the new system created by MLB. As we’ve always done, we will do everything possible to create the best fan experience. It will only be enhanced by the opportunity to see future New York Yankees play at TD Bank Ballpark.”
Major League Baseball announced that all 120 Minor League Clubs offered an invitation to become Professional Development League (“PDL”) license holders have officially agreed to accept. These teams, selected as partners by Major League Clubs, will provide both facilities and communities that are essential to the development of the next generation of big-league stars.
The Somerset Patriots join the Bingham Rumble Ponies (New York Mets), Hartford Yard Goats (Colorado Rockies), New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Toronto Blue Jays), Portland Sea Dogs (Boston Red Sox), Reading Fightin’ Phils (Philadelphia Phillies), Akron RubberDucks (Cleveland Indians), Altoona Curve (Pittsburgh Pirates), Bowie Baysox (Baltimore Orioles), Erie Seawolves (Detroit Tigers), Harrisburg Senators (Washington Nationals), and the Richmond Flying Squirrels (San Francisco Giants).
As a part of MLB’s realignment, many Minor League affiliates will be in significantly closer geographic proximity to the Major League Clubs with which they are associated. On average, Major League Clubs will now be over 200 miles closer to their Triple-A affiliates. By creating better geographical synergy between a Major League Club and its affiliates, more fans will be able to watch an organization’s players progress in their careers from the Minor Leagues to the big leagues in their home region.
“We are excited to create this partnership with Major League Baseball and the New York Yankees,” said Somerset Patriots Chairman Emeritus Steve Kalafer. “We have significantly reinvested in our team, ballpark, and community. Our fans can be sure that we will always keep their best interest at heart and the future of baseball in Somerset County is stronger than ever.”
An invitation from the Yankees to the Somerset Patriots was confirmed in early November and officially extended in early December as a part of the MLB plan to restructure the Minor League Baseball system. This came after the expiration of their previous working arrangement, the Professional Baseball Agreement (PBA), in late September of 2020.
“We look forward to growing our brand locally and throughout the baseball community,” said Somerset Patriots Co-Chairman Jonathan Kalafer. “By entering this extraordinary partnership with MLB and the Yankees, we have committed to do our part to preserve the history and tradition of minor league baseball, while taking the necessary steps for modern player development.”
The Somerset Patriots were a founding member and the longest-tenured franchise of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. They won a league-best six championships across 22 seasons in the Atlantic League, drawing over 7.5 million fans through the gates at the award-winning TD Bank Ballpark.
“Everyone at our team is ready to meet the challenges ahead,” said Somerset Patriots Co-Chairman Josh Kalafer. “The ability to engage with MLB, and have access to the many tools and technologies provided to us, will help us enhance fan experience and improve player development on their journey to the big leagues.”
The remainder of the Yankees minor league system will feature: Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders (Triple-A), Hudson Valley Renegades (High-A), and the Tampa Tarpons (Low-A).
Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. said: “We are excited to unveil this new model, which not only provides a pipeline to the Majors, but continues the Minor Leagues’ tradition of entertaining millions of families in hundreds of communities. In modernizing our Minor League system, we prioritized the qualities that make the Minor Leagues such an integral part of our game while strengthening how we develop professional athletes on and off the field. We look forward to demonstrating the best of our game throughout local communities, supporting all those who are working hard to grow the sport, and sharing unrivaled technology and resources with minor league teams and players.”
The 2021 season will now officially mark the first season in franchise history with a Major League affiliation. Additional information on a schedule, coaching staff, and roster will be made public in the near future.
About The Somerset Patriots
The Somerset Patriots are the new Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees. Stay up to date on all Somerset Patriots news online; on all of our social media platforms, and on our mobile app. For more information, visit www.somersetpatriots.com.