The longest relationship in minor league baseball will continue at least another decade.
The Gwinnett Stripers will remain as the Triple-A affiliate of the Atlanta Braves, their owner, both teams announced Wednesday.
A massive restructuring of minor league baseball led to a reduction of affiliated teams. Each major league club will get just four affiliated minor league teams: Triple-A, Double-A, Class A Advanced and Single-A.
The Braves were in a unique position for the restructuring as the franchise owns three of its minor league teams: Gwinnett, at the highest rung of minor league baseball, plus Mississippi in the Double-A Southern League and Rome in what was the low-A South Atlantic League.
The Pearl, Mississippi, team will remain in Double-A and Rome now will be a Class A Advanced team. The Augusta GreenJackets, who had been with Rome in the Sally League as a San Francisco Giants affiliate, will be the Braves’ Single-A team.
“Never before has this market had ties directly to our truest home team, the Atlanta Braves,” GreenJackets President Jeff Eiseman said in a news release.
“We couldn’t dream of a team we would want to affiliate with more.”
The GreenJackets play in SRP Park, which opened in 2018 on the banks of the Savannah River in North Augusta, South Carolina.
Gwinnett has been the Braves’ Triple-A affiliate since 2009, when the team moved to Lawrenceville from Richmond, Virginia. The Richmond Braves and now the Gwinnett Stripers have been the team’s Triple-A affiliate since the Braves moved to Atlanta in 1966.
“We are excited to invite these four teams to be part of the Braves’ player development system,” Braves executive vice president of minor league affiliates and strategic planning Chip Moore said.
“The potential of having our four affiliates all within Braves Country allows our fans to follow their favorite players as they develop from prospects to major leaguers.”
Three former Stripers have won top MLB awards for 2020. Freddie Freeman, the Braves first baseman, was the NL MVP and Hank Aaron Award winner. Ronald Acuña Jr. won a Silver Slugger and Max Fried won a Gold Glove.
Thirty of the 49 players who suited up for the Braves in the 2020 season — during which Atlanta won the NL East for the third straight season — were alumni of Gwinnett.