The West Coast League announced a formal partnership with Major League Baseball to jointly pursue initiatives of mutual interest, including player and coach development, technology innovation related to scouting and fan experience, and community engagement.
The agreement is unique in that the WCL is the only collegiate summer league in the West with a “special” relationship with MLB and it gives players and coaches, and college coaches sending players to WCL teams, the assurance that they’re in the right place to be seen, and playing against the best competition in the western half of North America.
It will also send a signal to MLB teams and their scouts, that the WCL is one of the top summer collegiate teams in the country for developing pro talent and will enhance the already strong pipeline that in 2019 for example saw the likes of Adley Rutschman (Corvallis / Baltimore Orioles) and Andrew Vaughn (HarbourCats / Chicago White Sox) drafted first and third overall respectively in the MLB entry draft.
“Our own connections to MLB are very strong,” noted HarbourCats Assistant GM Christian J. Stewart. “In 2022, we had roughly 30-35 former players playing affiliated pro ball at some level, including Nick Pivetta (Boston) and Vaughn at the top level and the likes of Alex DeGoti (Houston) and Nathan Lukes (Toronto) at the AAA level. In addition, our 2022 coaching staff, led by Todd Haney and including Mark Petkovsek and Greg Swindell, had a combined 31 years of MLB experience between them.
“We look forward to this agreement strengthening this relationship and we are excited to see what changes it may bring to the league and our team in the future.”
In addition to potential greater exposure and development of players, the agreement (SEE FULL ANNOUNCEMENT HERE) will provide additional training and exposure opportunities for coaches, so that they too can perhaps advance to the pro level. On the technology and data side, the WCL, already an advanced user of such tools, will work with MLB to build on that infrastructure to enhance the performance and evaluation of players.
This relationship also recognizes the strength of the WCL markets. MLB is committed to growing the game locally, and teams’ solid foundation of community support and outreach is a platform for growth that MLB appreciates and can build upon in the future.