As part of Major League Baseball’s plan to restructure its minor league system, the Frederick Keys will no longer be an affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, Baseball America is reporting.
Instead, Frederick will become the sixth team in the new MLB Draft League. Set to debut in 2021, the league is for top prospects who are eligible to be drafted by other MLB clubs. The league plans to play a 68-game regular season, with an annual All-Star Break at the MLB Draft.
The MLB Draft League has already officially announced the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, the State College Spikes, the Trenton Thunder, the West Virginia Black Bears and the Williamsport Crosscutters as member teams.
The Keys’ shift to the MLB Draft League ends a 31-year association with the Orioles. In 1989, the Orioles moved the Single-A affiliate from Hagerstown to Frederick after the city promised construction of a 4,000-seat stadium.
The Orioles will now have four minor league teams: Norfolk, Bowie, Aberdeen and Salisbury (Delmarva).