Triple-A or Class AAA is the highest level of play in Minor League Baseball in the United States and Mexico. Before 2008, Triple-A leagues also fielded teams in Canada. teams play in the Triple-A International League (IL) and Pacific Coast League (PCL), with 14 teams in the IL and 16 in the PCL. The MLB-independent Mexican League fields 16 teams. Triple-A teams are typically located in large metropolitan areas that do not have Major League Baseball teams, such as San Antonio; Austin; Columbus; and Indianapolis.A total of 30
Minor League Baseball is a hierarchy of professional baseball leagues in the Americas that compete at levels below Major League Baseball (MLB) and provide opportunities for player development and a way to prepare for the major leagues. All of the minor leagues are operated as independent businesses. Most are members of the umbrella organization known as Minor League Baseball (MiLB), which operates under the Commissioner of Baseball within the scope of organized baseball. Several leagues, known as independent baseball leagues, do not have any official links to Major League Baseball.
The International League (IL) is a Minor League Baseball league that operates in the eastern United States and is headquartered in Dublin, Ohio. Like the Pacific Coast League and the Mexican League, it plays at the Triple-A level, which is one step below Major League Baseball.
The Pacific Coast League (PCL) is a Minor League Baseball league operating in the Western, Midwestern, and Southeastern United States. Along with the International League and the Mexican League, it is one of three leagues playing at the Triple-A level, which is one grade below Major League Baseball. It is officially named the Pacific Coast League of Professional Baseball Clubs, Inc. Its headquarters are in Round Rock, Texas.
Interleague play between the International League and Pacific Coast League occurs twice each season. In July, each league's All-Star team competes in the Triple-A All-Star Game. In September each league's regular season champions play each other in the Triple-A National Championship Game to determine an overall champion of Triple-A baseball.
The Triple-A All-Star Game is an annual baseball game sanctioned by Minor League Baseball between professional players from the two affiliated Triple-A leagues—the International League (IL) and the Pacific Coast League (PCL). Each league fields a team composed of players in their respective leagues as voted on by fans, the media, and each club's field manager, coaches, and general manager. From the inaugural 1988 event through 1997, teams of American League-affiliated Triple-A All-Stars faced off against teams of National League-affiliated Triple-A All-Stars.
The Triple-A National Championship Game, previously known as the Bricktown Showdown, is a single championship game held annually between the league champions of the International League (IL) and Pacific Coast League (PCL) affiliated Triple-A leagues of Minor League Baseball (MiLB) to determine an overall champion of the classification. The championship consists of a single nine-inning game to determine a champion. As the game is usually played at a neutral site, the host league has its team designated as the home team.
The Triple-A classification was created before the 1946 season. Prior to then, the top level of the minors had been designated as Double-A since 1912. The modern Double-A classification also dates to 1946, when the former Class A1 level was renamed.
Double-A is the second highest level of play in Minor League Baseball (MiLB) in the United States after Triple-A. There are thirty Double-A teams in three leagues at this classification: Eastern League, Southern League, and the Texas League. The modern Double-A classification was created in 1946 with the renaming of Class A1, which then contained the Texas League and the Southern Association. After the Southern Association disbanded in 1961, the Eastern League and the original South Atlantic "Sally" League were bumped up to Double-A in the 1963 minor league reorganization. The SAL changed its name to the Southern League in 1964.
Triple-A teams' main purpose is to prepare players for the Major Leagues. ESPN wrote in 2010:
Winning is nice, but secondary. It's much more important for a young prospect like outfielder Xavier Paul to get regular at-bats against lefties, or work on dropping down sacrifice bunts with a runner on first, than it is to take three of four from the Portland Beavers.
Xavier Brooks Paul, Jr. is an American former professional baseball outfielder. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Los Angeles Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds and Arizona Diamondbacks.
The Portland Beavers was the name of separate minor league baseball teams, which represented Portland, Oregon, in the Pacific Coast League (PCL). The team was established in 1903, the first year of the PCL.
Both young players and veterans play for Triple-A teams:
There are the young prospects speeding through the organization on the fastest treadmill, the guys who used to be young prospects who are in danger of topping out in Triple-A, the 30-somethings trying to get back to the majors after an injury or a rough patch, and the guys just playing a few more seasons because someone still wants them and they still want to.
Players on the 40-man roster of a major league team are eligible for promotion to the major league club once the major league roster expands on September 1 (though teams will usually wait until their affiliates' playoff runs are over, should they qualify). For teams in contention for the postseason, these players create the flexibility needed to rest regular starters in late regular-season games. For those not in contention, using such players lets the teams evaluate them under game conditions.
Teams at this level are divided into three leagues: the International League, the Pacific Coast League, and the MLB-independent Mexican League. The Mexican League fields teams throughout Mexico. The International League traditionally fielded teams in the Northeastern United States, and now fields teams in the Midwest and South as well. The Pacific Coast League originally fielded teams on the West Coast, but now fields teams throughout the western part of the United States, as far east as Nashville, Tennessee. For much of the 20th century, the American Association, which consisted of teams in the Midwestern United States, was also at this level, but it disbanded in 1997 and its teams were divided among the IL and PCL. Each of the 30 Major League Baseball teams has an affiliation with one Triple-A team in the United States. However, Mexican Triple-A teams are not included in the organized farm team system.
|Division||Team||Founded [a]||MLB Affiliation||Affiliated||City||Stadium||Capacity [b]|
|North||Buffalo Bisons||1985||Toronto Blue Jays||2013||Buffalo, New York||Sahlen Field||16,907|
|Lehigh Valley IronPigs||2008||Philadelphia Phillies||2007||Allentown, Pennsylvania||Coca-Cola Park||10,100|
|Pawtucket Red Sox||1973||Boston Red Sox||1970||Pawtucket, Rhode Island||McCoy Stadium||10,031|
|Rochester Red Wings||1899||Minnesota Twins||2003||Rochester, New York||Frontier Field||10,840|
|Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders||1989||New York Yankees||2007||Moosic, Pennsylvania||PNC Field||10,000|
|Syracuse Mets||1961||New York Mets||2019||Syracuse, New York||NBT Bank Stadium||11,731|
|South||Charlotte Knights||1993||Chicago White Sox||1999||Charlotte, North Carolina||BB&T Ballpark||10,200|
|Durham Bulls||1998||Tampa Bay Rays||1998||Durham, North Carolina||Durham Bulls Athletic Park||10,000|
|Gwinnett Stripers||2009||Atlanta Braves||1965||Lawrenceville, Georgia||Coolray Field||10,427|
|Norfolk Tides||1969||Baltimore Orioles||2007||Norfolk, Virginia||Harbor Park||11,856|
|West||Columbus Clippers||1977||Cleveland Indians||2009||Columbus, Ohio||Huntington Park||10,100|
|Indianapolis Indians||1902||Pittsburgh Pirates||2005||Indianapolis, Indiana||Victory Field||14,230|
|Louisville Bats||1982||Cincinnati Reds||2000||Louisville, Kentucky||Louisville Slugger Field||13,131|
|Toledo Mud Hens||1965||Detroit Tigers||1987||Toledo, Ohio||Fifth Third Field||10,300|
|Iowa Cubs||1969||Chicago Cubs||1981||Des Moines, Iowa||Principal Park||11,500|
|Memphis Redbirds||1998||St. Louis Cardinals||1998||Memphis, Tennessee||AutoZone Park||10,000|
|Nashville Sounds||1978||Texas Rangers||2019||Nashville, Tennessee||First Tennessee Park||10,000|
|Omaha Storm Chasers||1969||Kansas City Royals||1969||Papillion, Nebraska||Werner Park||9,023|
|New Orleans Baby Cakes||1993||Miami Marlins||2009||Metairie, Louisiana||Shrine on Airline||10,000|
|Oklahoma City Dodgers||1962||Los Angeles Dodgers||2015||Oklahoma City, Oklahoma||Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark||9,000|
|Round Rock Express||2000||Houston Astros||2019||Round Rock, Texas||Dell Diamond||11,631|
|San Antonio Missions||1888||Milwaukee Brewers||2019||San Antonio, Texas||Nelson W. Wolff Municipal Stadium||9,200|
|Fresno Grizzlies||1998||Washington Nationals||2019||Fresno, California||Chukchansi Park||12,500|
|Reno Aces||2009||Arizona Diamondbacks||2009||Reno, Nevada||Greater Nevada Field||9,013|
|Sacramento River Cats||2000||San Francisco Giants||2015||West Sacramento, California||Raley Field||14,014|
|Tacoma Rainiers||1960||Seattle Mariners||1995||Tacoma, Washington||Cheney Stadium||6,500|
|Albuquerque Isotopes||2003||Colorado Rockies||2015||Albuquerque, New Mexico||Isotopes Park||13,500|
|El Paso Chihuahuas||2014||San Diego Padres||2014||El Paso, Texas||Southwest University Park||9,500|
|Las Vegas Aviators||1983||Oakland Athletics||2019||Summerlin, Nevada||Las Vegas Ballpark||10,000|
|Salt Lake Bees||1994||Los Angeles Angels||2001||Salt Lake City, Utah||Smith's Ballpark||14,511|
|North||Acereros de Monclova||Monclova, Coahuila||Monclova||8,500||1974|
|Algodoneros de Unión Laguna||Torreón, Coahuila||Revolución||9,500||1940|
|Generales de Durango||Durango, Durango||Francisco Villa||4,983||2016|
|Rieleros de Aguascalientes||Aguascalientes City, Aguascalientes||Alberto Romo Chávez||6,494||1975|
|Saraperos de Saltillo||Saltillo, Coahuila||Francisco I. Madero||16,000||1970|
|Sultanes de Monterrey||Monterrey, Nuevo León||Monterrey||22,061||1939|
|Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos|| Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas |
| Nuevo Laredo |
|Toros de Tijuana||Tijuana, Baja California||Chevron||17,000||2004|
|South||Bravos de León||León, Guanajuato||Domingo Santana||6,500||1978|
|Diablos Rojos del México||Iztacalco, Mexico City||Alfredo Harp Helú||20,000||1940|
|Guerreros de Oaxaca||Oaxaca City, Oaxaca||Eduardo Vasconselos||7,200||1996|
|Leones de Yucatán||Mérida, Yucatán||Kukulcán Alamo||14,917||1954|
|Olmecas de Tabasco||Villahermosa, Tabasco||Centenario 27 de Febrero||8,500||1975|
|Pericos de Puebla||Puebla City, Puebla||Hermanos Serdán||12,112||1938|
|Piratas de Campeche||Campeche City, Campeche||Nelson Barrera||6,000||1980|
|Tigres de Quintana Roo||Cancún, Quintana Roo||Beto Ávila||9,500||1955|
The Triple-A All-Star Game is a single game held between the two affiliated Triple-A leagues—the International League and the Pacific Coast League. Each league fields a team composed of the top players in their respective leagues as voted on by fans, the media, and each club's field manager and general manager.The event has taken place every year since 1988 when the first Triple-A All-Star Game was played in Buffalo, New York. Prior to 1998, a team of American League-affiliated Triple-A All-Stars faced off against a team of National League-affiliated Triple-A All-Stars.
Traditionally, the game has taken place on the day after the mid-summer Major League Baseball All-Star Game.The game is meant to mark a symbolic halfway-point in the season (though not the mathematical halfway-point which, for most seasons, is usually one month prior). Both Triple-A leagues share a common All-Star break, with no regular-season games scheduled for two days before the All-Star Game itself. Some additional events, such as the All-Star Fan Fest and Triple-A Home Run Derby, take place each year during this break in the regular season.
Since 2006, the annual Triple-A National Championship Game has been held to serve as a single championship game between the champions of the International League and Pacific Coast League to determine an overall champion of Triple-A baseball. It was originally held annually at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark in Oklahoma City, and known as the Bricktown Showdown.Since 2011, the game has been held in a different Triple-A city each year.
Previous postseason interleague championships include the Junior World Series (1932–34, 1936–62, 1970–71, 1973–74), Triple-A World Series (1983, 1998–2000), and Triple-A Classic (1988–91).
As a part of professional baseball's pace of play initiatives implemented in 2015, 20-second pitch clocks entered use at Triple-A stadiums in 2015. seconds when no runners are on base. Other significant changes implemented in 2018 included beginning extra innings with a runner on second base and limiting teams to six mound visits during a nine-inning game. Beginning in 2019, the number of mound visits is reduced to five, and pitchers are required to face a minimum of three consecutive batters until the side is retired or the pitcher becomes injured and is unable to continue playing.In 2018, the time was shortened to 15
The Albuquerque Isotopes are a Minor League Baseball team of the Pacific Coast League (PCL) and the Triple-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. They are located in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and play their home games at Isotopes Park which opened in 2003 and has an elevation exceeding 5,100 feet (1,555 m) above sea level.
The American Association (AA) was a Minor League Baseball league that operated primarily in the Midwestern and South Central United States from 1902 to 1962 and 1969 to 1997. It was classified as a Triple-A league, which is one grade below Major League Baseball.
The Memphis Redbirds are a Minor League Baseball team of the Pacific Coast League (PCL) and the Triple-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals. They are located in Memphis, Tennessee, and play their home games at AutoZone Park which opened in 2000 and seats 10,000. The team previously played at Tim McCarver Stadium in 1998 and 1999.
Isotopes Park is a minor league baseball stadium located in Albuquerque, New Mexico and is the home field of the Albuquerque Isotopes of the Pacific Coast League, the Triple-A affiliate of the Colorado Rockies. The facility was also previously used by the baseball program of the University of New Mexico. The stadium will also host New Mexico United, an expansion team in the United Soccer League that will begin play in 2019.
The Oklahoma City Dodgers are a Minor League Baseball team of the Pacific Coast League (PCL) and the Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. They are located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and play their home games at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark which opened in 1998 in the city's Bricktown entertainment district.
The Omaha Storm Chasers are a Minor League Baseball team of the Pacific Coast League (PCL) and the Triple-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. They are located in Papillion, Nebraska, a suburb southwest of Omaha, and play their home games at Werner Park which opened in 2011. The team previously played at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium, home to the College World Series, from 1969 to 2010.
The Sacramento River Cats are a Minor League Baseball team of the Pacific Coast League (PCL) and the Triple-A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants. They are located in West Sacramento, California, and play their home games at Raley Field which opened in 2000.
Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark opened in 1998 in downtown Oklahoma City's Bricktown Entertainment District, replacing All Sports Stadium. It is the home of the Oklahoma City Dodgers, the Triple-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers Major League Baseball team. The park has seating for up to 13,066 fans and currently utilizes a seating capacity of 9,000 for Dodgers games.
Smith's Ballpark is a minor league baseball park in the western United States, located in Salt Lake City, Utah. It is the home field of the Salt Lake Bees of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League and the collegiate Utah Utes of the Pac-12 Conference.
The Vancouver Mounties were a high-level minor league baseball club based in Vancouver, British Columbia, that played in the Pacific Coast League (PCL) from 1956–62 and 1965–69. Its home field was Capilano Stadium. During the Mounties' first two seasons, 1956–57, the PCL still was a member of an experimental organized baseball ranking, the Open Classification, as it made a bid for Major League status. However, in 1958 the PCL reverted to Triple-A when the Dodgers and Giants moved to California.
Anthony John ("Tony") DeFrancesco is manager of the Syracuse Mets, Triple-A affiliate of the New York Mets baseball team.
The Reno Aces are a Minor League Baseball team of the Pacific Coast League (PCL) and the Triple-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. They are located in Reno, Nevada, and play their home games at Greater Nevada Field which opened in 2009. The Aces won the PCL championship in 2012 and went on to win the Triple-A National Championship Game.
Werner Park is a minor league ballpark near Papillion, Nebraska, a suburb southwest of Omaha. Opened eight years ago in 2011, it is owned by Sarpy County and is the home of the Omaha Storm Chasers of the Pacific Coast League.
The 2015 International League season began on April 9 and culminated on September 7, 2015. Following the regular season, the Governors' Cup playoffs were played from September 9–19, 2015.