Major League Baseball and USA Baseball will hold a joint press conference on Tuesday to announce a new format for the Appalachian League.
According to a press release from Major League Baseball on Friday, the plan calls for the nation’s top rising college freshmen and sophomores to take part in wood-bat play each summer.
Players are expected to be selected with the assistance of USA Baseball and will be tied in with the Collegiate National Team development program. USA Baseball’s National Training Center is located in Cary, N.C.
The Appalachian League’s new format will likely be similar to other summer collegiate wood bat leagues such as the Coastal Plain League, which operates in North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and Georgia.
In the Coastal Plain League, college players from around the country live with host families from the community during the season and are not paid. Teams play a 52-game regular season schedule with an all-star game and playoffs.
From 1911 to this summer, the Appalachian League was affiliated with Minor League Baseball and its teams were affiliated with Major League Baseball teams. The league had operated as a rookie-level league since 1963.
After being absent from Greeneville since 1942, the Appalachian League returned to the city in 2004. The Greeneville Astros played in the league from 2004-2017 at Tusculum University’s Pioneer Park. The Astros withdrew their affiliation after the 2017 season and were replaced by the Reds, who played at Pioneer Park in 2018 and 2019.
The start of the 2020 Appalachian League season was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic before being canceled on June 30.