The Pittsburgh Pirates announced earlier today that they have acquired the Rookie-Advanced level Bristol Sox, a team formerly affiliated with the Chicago White Sox since 1995. The White Sox plan to add an affiliate at the same level in Arizona, but have not yet named a new location or affiliate. The Pirates new affiliate is still controlled by Bristol Baseball, Inc. a local non-profit organization that has kept professional baseball in Bristol, Va. over the last four decades.
While it may not be as high level as Altoona or Indianapolis, or house any top prospects over extended periods of time, the addition of an affiliate in Bristol will only be good for the Pirates organization. The Appalachian league is a great league for young prospects, particularly international free agents to get their first opportunity to dip their toes into the water of American professional baseball.
The new affiliate will play at Boyce Cox Field in Bristol, and the Gulf-Coast League team will feed players to the Rookie-Advanced level roster(meaning that players such as Austin Meadows may perhaps see action there to begin 2014). The team is expected to go by the Bristol Pirates, although the new team name and logo have not yet been finalized.