11 teams on top: 2022 Minor League champs
This is an excerpt from the latest edition of the Ben's Biz Beat Newsletter, bringing Minor League Baseball business and culture news to your inbox each and every Thursday. Check out the full newsletter HERE. Subscribe HERE. THESE ARE THE CHAMPIONS After a weekend of winner-take-all Triple-A action in Las
This is an excerpt from the latest edition of the Ben's Biz Beat Newsletter, bringing Minor League Baseball business and culture news to your inbox each and every Thursday. Check out the full newsletter HERE. Subscribe HERE.
THESE ARE THE CHAMPIONS
After a weekend of winner-take-all Triple-A action in Las Vegas, the Minor League Baseball season is now completely, totally, without-a-doubt done. As a public service to my presumably loyal readership, what follows is a level-by-level list of every 2022 Minor League champion team. Print it out and keep it in your wallet, because you never know when this sort of information will come in handy.
International League: Durham Bulls
The Bulls earned titles on back-to-back days, defeating Nashville on Oct. 2 to win the International League crown and then capturing the Triple-A National Championship with a win against Reno the following night. Winning it all is nothing new for the Bulls, who have garnered a whopping eight IL titles since 2002 (all of them as a Tampa Bay affiliate).
Pacific Coast League: Reno Aces
The Aces dispatched El Paso in Oct. 1's PCL Championship Game, giving the D-backs affiliate its first title since 2012. It’s rare that league champions end their season with a defeat, but that’s what happened to Reno as a result of losing to the aforementioned Bulls in the Triple-A National Championship.
NEVER. GETS. OLD.🏆 pic.twitter.com/N0ZUFN3OgH— Somerset Patriots (@SOMPatriots) October 2, 2022
Eastern League: Somerset Patriots
The Patriots won the Eastern League in style, defeating the SeaWolves in a winner-take-all Game 3 on the strength of 15 runs and a no-hitter. This was Somerset’s first title since becoming a Yankees affiliate in 2021. Prior to that, they won six championships as members of the independent Atlantic League. Erie, members of the EL since 1999, are still working toward their first crown.
Southern League: Pensacola Blue Wahoos
Pensacola, members of the Southern League since 2012, won their first outright league title (they were declared co-champions in 2017 after the finals were cancelled due to Hurricane Irma). The Marlins affiliate triumphed over Tennessee, who have not won it all since 1978 . The Smokies' title drought is the second-longest in all of Minor League Baseball, following the Syracuse Chiefs/Mets (1976).
Texas League: Frisco RoughRiders
The RoughRiders were founded in 2003 and won a championship the following season. Their protracted wait for a second crown is now over, as they blew past Wichita in the TL finals.
Midwest League: South Bend Cubs
During its time in the Midwest League, South Bend won five championships. The first two (1989, 1993) were as a White Sox affiliate, and the last two have been as a Cubs affiliate (2019, 2022). This year’s squad won a pair of winner-take-all Game 3s on the road, getting past Cedar Rapids in the West Division Series before defeating Lake County in the finals.
Northwest League: Eugene Emeralds
The Emeralds endured a championship drought from 1981 through 2015. But since then, they’ve been on an absolute tear. Eugene won championships as a Cubs affiliate in 2016 and 2018, following that up in short order with back-to-back titles as a Giants affiliate (their first two seasons within the San Francisco organization).
South Atlantic League: Bowling Green Hot Rods
The Hot Rods won three championships in the past four seasons, with each one of the rings bearing a different league name: Midwest League (2018), High-A East (2021) and South Atlantic League (2022). This year’s championship squad roared past the IronBirds in the finals.
Carolina League: Charleston RiverDogs
Like the Hot Rods, the RiverDogs are a Rays affiliate that have now won back-to-back championships after shifting leagues. This represents a marked change in fortunes for Charleston’s squad, as from 1980 through 2019 the RiverDogs played in the South Atlantic League and failed to win a title.
California League: Lake Elsinore Storm
The Storm’s title was their fourth overall and first since 2011. The Padres affiliate knocked off Fresno in the Championship Series, preventing the Grizzlies from becoming the first Fresno-based team to win a Cal League title since the 1987 Fresno Giants.
Florida State League: St. Lucie Mets
St. Lucie’s squad didn’t lose a postseason game, sweeping past Palm Beach and then Dunedin en route to their first FSL crown since 2006 and sixth overall. Dunedin, members of the FSL since 1987, have yet to win an outright title.
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Benjamin Hill is a reporter for MiLB.com and writes Ben's Biz Blog. Follow Ben on Twitter @bensbiz.