After 18 years together, the Dodgers’ affiliation with the rookie-level Ogden Raptors is officially over. As part of the restructuring of the minor leagues, the eight-team Pioneer League will no longer be affiliated with a team, but rather serve as a “partner league” with Major League Baseball.
As part of a deal for the Pioneer League to lose affiliated status, MLB will cover initial costs for operating expenses and will install “scouting technology” at all eight ballparks to facilitate player information for potentially interested MLB teams.
The four announced partner leagues with MLB also includes the three former independent leagues, the Atlantic League, American Association, and Frontier League.
In a press release from the team, the Raptors said the 2021 season would last 92 games, beginning Memorial Day weekend and ending in September.
This was a long-expected move, with all eight Pioneer League teams on the rumored minor league cut list since November 2019, in MLB’s quest to trim a quarter of its minor league affiliations. The remaining dominoes to fall, including where the Dodgers’ two Class-A affiliates will be located, are expected to be finalized this week.
The Dodgers switched their rookie league affiliation from Great Falls, Montana to Ogden, Utah for the 2003 season, returning to a city that saw several great Dodgers minor league teams in the late 1960s under Tommy Lasorda that later became the foundation of the major league group that went to three World Series in the 1970s.
From 2003-19, the Raptors won the South Division nine times, including each of the last four seasons in a row, and won a Pioneer League championship in 2017. Ogden often served as an outlet for new Dodgers draft picks, and was the first professional stop for high school draftees Corey Seager and Cody Bellinger, for instance.
Of the 36 players currently on the Dodgers’ 40-man roster, 17 played for the Raptors at some point in the minors.