WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) today joined Major League Baseball (MLB) and USA Baseball to announce a new format for the Appalachian League, which will feature the nation’s top rising college freshmen and sophomores. The new format affirms MLB’s commitment to the region, maintains the existing branding of the league, and assures that the Appalachian League will continue to host high-caliber baseball and future Major Leaguers for years to come.

“Though we have missed baseball this summer on the diamonds across West Virginia, today’s announcement is great news for Bluefield and Princeton, and frankly for anyone who enjoys watching our nation’s game in a West Virginia summer. The announcement of this new format for the Appalachian League made today by MLB and Baseball USA ensures future summer nights in Princeton and Bluefield will be spent watching our national pastime. This partnership will enable the baseball tradition that has existed for decades in Mercer County to continue for many to come. I couldn’t be happier,” Senator Capito said.


The Appalachian League will become a part of the Prospect Development Pipeline (“PDP”), the collaborative effort between MLB and USA Baseball that establishes a player development pathway for amateur baseball players in the United States, and will be an integral part of the identification and development process for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team and other future national teams. Appalachian League participants will receive extensive visibility to MLB Club scouts through both in-person observation and state-of-the-art scouting technology. Players will receive instruction from former MLB players and educational programming designed to prepare them for careers as professional athletes.

Plans include a 54-game regular season, an annual All-Star Game, a four-team Championship Series, and a tournament against champions of other summer leagues. MLB and USA Baseball will provide support for the league’s staffing, player participation, and administrative functions.

To herald the start of this exciting new format, each of the 10 teams in the Appalachian League have decided to undertake a process for changing their names and logos to incorporate symbols and images important to the local community, to be adopted before the 2021 season. MLB and USA Baseball have already begun the process of identifying and inviting the top 320 players to participate in the 2021 Appalachian League. 

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