Nearly three weeks after the Trenton Thunder were left without a team to field when the New York Yankees moved their AA affiliate to Somerset County comes news from Major League Baseball and Prep Baseball Report on Monday that they are currently among 5 teams set to compete in the new MLB Draft League.

Players coming out of high school and college will have an opportunity to play in a league where they can sharpen up their skills and develop a little bit with MLB Scouts keeping an eye out for who to select in the 2021 Major League Baseball Draft.

There will be 68-games on the schedule, according to MLB, with the season running from May through August with a special All-Star break in July that takes place around the MLB Draft.

The five teams currently set for the league, with a 6th in the works, are from four states including New Jersey.

It'll be the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, the State College Spikes, the Trenton Thunder, the West Virginia Black Bears and the Williamsport Crosscutters in the league.

“We are thrilled to partner with Prep Baseball Report and the founding members of the MLB Draft League to create a one-of-a-kind league that will attract the nation’s top players who are eligible for each year’s MLB Draft and allow local fans to see top prospects and future big-league stars in their hometowns," Morgan Sword, MLB’s Executive Vice President, Baseball Economics & Operations, said in a statement. "This announcement continues MLB’s commitment to preserving and growing baseball in communities around the United States.”

“We are honored to work with these ownership groups and Major League Baseball to assure the future of impactful, high-level baseball to the region and continue the legacy of deep community involvement from all of these teams," Sean Duncan, President of Prep Baseball Report, said in a statement. "With more than 150 scouts and operations personnel coast-to-coast at the high school, collegiate and junior college levels, we take great pride in our ability to identify the nation’s top amateur draft prospects, which will ultimately make the MLB Draft League the preeminent league for draft-eligible players.”

Locally, Trenton Thunder COO/GM Jeff Hurley released a separate statement announcing the news and how Arm and Hammer Park will remain a place with great minor league baseball being played on the field and entertainment taking place across the ballpark.

"We are thrilled to share with our fans and sponsor partners the exciting news that your Trenton Thunder will be a founding member of the new MLB Draft League for the 2021 season and continue to bring family fun to ARM & HAMMER Park," Hurley said in a statement. "We are dedicated to delivering our Power of Fun brand to our fans as the Thunder Entertainment Experience they have enjoyed for the last 27 years, featuring the antics of our beloved mascot Boomer having a blast in the crowd. Fans will continue to enjoy our World Famous Bat Dogs retrieving bats, with Dash making his debut this summer. The new MLB Draft League will showcase the best prospects in baseball eligible for the MLB draft. Thunder fans will get to know these players as they begin their path as future stars of Major League Baseball."

There are nearly 400 players who played for the Thunder when they were affiliated with the Detroit Tigers, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees who went on to play in the big leagues, according to the Trenton Thunder.

The New York Yankees announced earlier this month they were making the move from Mercer County to Somerset County taking over the now former Independent League Patriots who will now be the AA affiliate of the ball club.

You can follow Vin Ebenau on Twitter and Instagram and email news tips to vin.ebenau@townsquaremedia.com.

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