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Elephant Rumblings: Vermont Lake Monsters, former A’s affiliate, join Futures League

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Gus Varland, recently traded to the Dodgers
Photo provided by Vermont Lake Monsters

Good morning, Athletics Nation!

The minor leagues got a major realignment this winter. The whole system was pared down to 120 teams, with four affiliates for each MLB parent club. The Oakland A’s will still play Triple-A in Las Vegas and Double-A in Midland, while Stockton moves down to Low-A, and Lansing joins the organization in High-A. Beloit switches to the Marlins’ farm. Click here for more details on the new setup.

However, one former A’s affiliate was left out in the cold entirely. The Vermont Lake Monsters spent nine years as Oakland’s short-season Low-A club, as part of the NY-Penn League, where particularly young prospects and recent draft picks would often get their first brief taste of pro ball before moving up to a full-season league. But the short-season level was eliminated entirely as part of the recent changes, and the Lake Monsters weren’t re-assigned higher up the ladder.

The team isn’t finished, though, and this week it took its next step forward. The Lake Monsters were sold to a new ownership group, Nos Amours Baseball Club, and they will join the collegiate Futures League, the league reports.

Nos Amours is led by Chris English, a longtime owner of various pro and summer-collegiate teams; he also owns another club in the non-pro Futures League, the Brockton Rox. The Lake Monsters’ previous owner since 1994 was businessman Ray Pecor.

Note that the Lake Monsters are not joining the new MLB Draft League, which was created this winter as part of the realignment, as a showcase for eligible prospects before and after the amateur draft — it’s directly affiliated with MLB and currently consists of six former members of the NY-Penn League. Rather, this is the Futures League, which began play in 2011, an eight-team wood-bat league for college athletes to play in front of pro scouts. (Those descriptions are basically the same, but I assure you they are different leagues.)

Best of luck to the Lake Monsters in their new pond! They have one of the best hat logos in baseball, and it’s good to know that Champ (the monster mascot) will continue to be a part of the sport.

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