Photo credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

On Wednesday afternoon the Philadelphia Phillies announced the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, Reading Fightin Phils, Jersey Shore BlueClaws, and Clearwater Threshers have been invited to become the Phillies’ four affiliates in MLB’s new player development structure, beginning in 2021.

The Lehigh Valley IronPigs have been the triple-A MiLB affiliates since 2008. They have been part of the International League since 1993. The IronPigs will continue to be the triple-A affiliate of the Phillies in 2021. 

The Reading Fightin Phils will be staying with the Phillies into 2021 as the double-A affiliate. They’re the longest-tenured affiliate in minor league history as they’ve been with the Phillies for 55 years. They’ve also been in FirstEnergy Stadium since day one. FirstEnergy Stadium was built in 1951. The Fightin’s are in the Eastern League. 

The Jersey Shore Blueclaws just rebranded this offseason from the Lakewood to Jersey Shore. They will continue to play in Lakewood, but now they’re just called the Jersey Shore Blueclaws. The Blueclaws have been the Phillies low-A affiliate since 2001. They will be moving from low-A to high-A. The Blueclaws are a member of the South Atlantic League.

Finally, the Clearwater Threshers will be moving down to low-A from double-A. The Threshers have been a Phillies affiliate since 1967. They’ve called Spectrum Field home since 2004. The Phillies have played spring training in Spectrum Field since 1947. 

In total, the four affiliates have 123 combined years as Phillies minor league affiliates.

Phillies assistant general manager Bryan Minniti said, “We are happy to extend an invite to these four affiliates who have been a great partner to this organisation for many years. We look forward to continuing our relationship with all four affiliates and their respective communities where we have such long standing ties.”