The Sugar Land Skeeters will be the Houston Astros new Triple-A affiliate.
For those Houston fans interested in seeing their team’s minor leaguers in action, Monday provided some good news. Mark Berman of FOX 26 is reporting the Astros have reached an agreement to name the Sugar Land Skeeters as their new Triple-A affiliate. What’s more, the big club will now have a partial ownership stake in the Skeeters.
The Skeeters have been playing as an independent league team in the Atlantic League. They play their home games at Constellation Field, which is an excellent ballpark. It’s also about 22 miles away from Minute Maid Park, which makes for easier travel for players being shuttled back and forth, as well as giving local fans an opportunity to see the team’s top minor league club without having to make a long drive.
The Skeeters have been in the news periodically, as they’ve had former major leaguers Scott Kazmir, Roger Clemens and Rafael Palmeiro on their team for brief stints. The Astros also signed Chase De Jong off their team earlier this season, so there’s plenty of familiarity here. This will be a great move for the organization.
Long Time Coming
Several months ago, I noted that this type of move would be a possibility with the Skeeters being named as a possible new minor league affiliate in relation to the proposed reduction of the number of minor league affiliates overall. With the geographic proximity to Houston, the Astros were of course going to be interested in bringing Sugar Land into the fold.
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Truthfully, this may have been in the works for longer than that. Ever since Nolan Ryan left the organization in late 2019 and Reid Ryan’s role was changed, it seemed likely that there would be an eventual move here. The Round Rock Express, which had been serving as Houston’s Triple-A club, is owned by the Ryan-Sanders Group. The latest contract between the Express and Astros goes through 2022, but I’m sure that’s being worked around.
The Astros own the Double-A Corpus Christi Hooks, so that organization is all but certain to remain with Houston. With it being highly unlikely that the Express would accept being a Single-A team, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Rangers came in and made Round Rock their Triple-A club again. Whatever the reason, the Ryan family appears to be all but removed from the Astros.
Still, fans have to be excited to have the Triple-A club so close to home now. The Skeeters are a great club playing in a great facility, so you really couldn’t ask for more from the organization’s top minor league team.