The Chicago Cubs and the Myrtle Beach Pelicans announced a two-year player development contract on Monday, moving the organization’s Class-A Advanced affiliate from the Florida State League to the Carolina League.
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"“The Cubs are an iconic national brand,” said Pelicans General Manager and Vice President Andy Milovich. “The success of our business is determined by fan interest, the quality of baseball, and the impact on Myrtle Beach from a tourism perspective. The Chicago Cubs present an incredible partnership in every aspect. The Cubs strengthen the Pelicans brand in a way that few, if any, other major league franchises could. Cubs fans can now visit their future stars in one of the iconic vacation destination spots in the U.S.”"
Daytona had been the Cubs’ Advanced-A affiliate since 1993, but after the team’s agreement with the organization was not renewed or extended, the two-plus decade partnership drew to a close. Myrtle Beach quickly emerged as a prime location in the days that followed.
Chicago’s farm system was ranked as the best in all of baseball by ESPN’s Keith Law in the midseason rankings – and several of the organization’s top prospects, including Javier Baez, Arismendy Alcantara, Jorge Soler, Javier Baez and Kyle Hendricks, have made their big league debut in 2014.
Several former Pelicans are now members of the Chicago organization, including Hendricks, Justin Grimm, Mike Olt and Neil Ramirez – all of whom were members of the 2011 Pelicans, who were, at the time, a Texas Rangers affiliate.
"“We are excited to reach an agreement with Myrtle Beach and begin working with Chairman Chuck Greenberg and General Manager and Vice President Andy Milovich,” said Jason McLeod, the Cubs senior vice president, scouting and player development. “Myrtle Beach is a well-respected franchise that will serve as a beneficial destination for our young players. We look forward to developing a successful relationship with the franchise and community.”"
Kane County, which is a level below Myrtle Beach, won the Midwest League Championship in 2014, and many of these players will likely see time with the Pelicans in 2015.