Reds news: Cincinnati loses Billings Mustangs as Rookie-Ball affiliate

Billings Mustangs batter Nate Scantlin reacts to losing his balance.
07032019 Voyagers V Billings N
Billings Mustangs batter Nate Scantlin reacts to losing his balance. 07032019 Voyagers V Billings N /

The Billings Mustangs will no longer be affiliated with the Cincinnati Reds.

The Billings Mustangs will no longer be the Rookie-Ball affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. Add this to Rob Manfred’s reputation as someone who is doing a poor job with promoting the game of baseball to future fans. Okay, that may be a bit harsh, and I myself am biased. But to cut thousands of player and personnel jobs to save a couple bucks, c’mon?

Major League Baseball officially made the decision on Monday to discontinue their partnership with the Pioneer League and in turn, continue to shrink the number of minor league teams by eliminating rookie-level leagues and going to a format with Complex Level, A-ball, Advanced-A, Double-A, and Triple-A.

This will, in effect, drop the number of teams not in the spring training complexes to 120. This means the Billings Mustangs are no longer a Cincinnati Reds affiliate. Surely there are more changes coming to the MiLB system.

The Reds recently lost the Greeneville Reds as the rookie-level Appalachian League became a summer collegiate league effective immediately. That leaves them with their current system of A-Ball (Dayton Dragons), Advanced-A (Daytona Tortugas), Double-A (Chattanooga Lookouts), and Triple-A (Louisville Bats).

The Lookouts and Tortugas have been targeted as potential teams also being cut, as it is assumed the MLB is trying to eliminate exactly 42 teams. This would cause for the Reds to add two new teams, so it remains to be seen who those potential teams could be.

As far as the Mustangs go, they have a long and rich history with the Reds. Their partnership began way back in 1974, and was the breeding ground for future MLB players such as Trevor Hoffman, Aaron Boone, and Adam Dunn. They won 9 League Titles since the Reds became partners with them along with 10 division titles.

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The Mustangs played at Cobb Field until 2008, before transitioning over to Dehler Park. Recently, fireballing prospect Hunter Greene was a very hot commodity to watch in 2017. The Mustangs will begin play as an Independent League team in the Pioneer League for the 2021 season and will be a partner league for the MLB, with a partnership for teams to buy players from the teams in the league.