By Marty Gordon
The Appalachian League and Pulaski Minor League Baseball will look a little different this coming year as Major League Baseball shifts many of the rookie leagues to a wooden bat league with collegiate players.
The management of the historic Pulaski franchise is also changing. The Motor Mile Park ownership at Calfee Park has announced the appointment of J.W. Martin as its new general manager. He replaces Betsy Haugh, who is leaving to pursue other baseball opportunities. She was recognized as one of the top administrators in the Appy League over the past two years and came to Pulaski after working as the assistant general manager for the Danville Braves.
Martin is no stranger to the Motor Mile operations as he has helped manage Motor Mile Speedway for a number of years.
The moves at the top of the organization comes as the league embarks on a new era. The league will become a collegiate summer league and part of the Major League Baseball and USA Baseball Prospect Development Pipeline (“PDP”). The PDP is a collaborative effort that establishes a player development pathway for amateur baseball players in the United States.
Hosting the top rising college freshman and sophomores, the new Appalachian League will also be an integral part of the identification and development process for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team and other future national teams. Participants will be selected by a steering committee composed of leaders within collegiate and professional baseball.
Analytics and data will also be a driving force behind the new vision for the Appalachian League as all 10 clubs will utilize technology and data-driven programs such as Rapsodo, Trackman and Synergy, helping the athletes achieve new heights of development and giving the fans elite baseball in their communities.
Opening Day is scheduled for June 2, 2021, and the inaugural season will include 54 games, a midseason All- Star Game and a championship game scheduled for Aug. 10, 2021.