The West Coast League (WCL) announced a historic partnership deal with Major League Baseball. Both leagues agreed on pursuing a mutual interest in player and coach development, technology innovation related to scout and fan experience, and community engagement. The partnership will begin in 2023.
West Coast League Partnership
— Portland Pickles (@picklesbaseball) September 19, 2022
Founded in 2005, the West Coast League is a summer wood-bat league for college-eligible student-athletes. It was previously named the West Coast Collegiate Baseball League but was renamed the West Coast League in 2008. The League is dedicated to prospect development and increasing player exposure. 16 teams are based out of Oregon, Washington, British Columbia, and Alberta. Each team plays 56 games as the season typically runs from June through August. Over 600,000 fans were in attendance for the games during the 2022 season.
More than 300 West Coast League alumni were playing in affiliated professional baseball. 60 players currently play in the majors, including Shane Bieber, Adam Cimber, Rhys Hoskins and David Peterson. In July, WCL alumni Brooks Lee and Gabriel Hughes were among the first 10 players selected in the MLB Draft. The 2019 MLB Draft began with former Corvallis Knight Adley Rutschman selected first overall by the Baltimore Orioles.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the WCL cancelled its 2020 season. The following season saw a revised schedule that eliminated all cross-border travel as the five Canadian teams did not play.
More news about the League’s new partnership with MLB will come in the next few months. It’s the next set of big news for baseball. Less than two weeks ago, MLB ultimately agreed to recognize the minor league players’ unionization with MLBPA. On August 28, the MLBPA launched the unionization drive with close to 6,500 signed authorization cards with minor league contracts. If there was a rejection, the player’s association could have gone through the National Labor Relations Board.