The Houston Astros and their A Short Season affiliate, the Tri-City ValleyCats have extended their player development contract with two more years through the 2018 season.
The announcement was made by Bill Gladstone, the ValleyCats President / Principal Owner and Astros President of Business Operations Reid Ryan at a press conference on Saturday afternoon.
The cooperation between the two parties started in 2001 when the Astros took over the affiliation from the New York Mets, when the team was still located in Pittsfield. One year later the team would move to the Tri-City region where it would become the ValleyCats.
Bill Gladstone stated that the ValleyCats strongly value the relationship that they have with the Houston Astros, and that they are delighted to extend the partnership. “The highly regarded Astros minor league system has kept the ValleyCats competitive on the field, and we expect that to continue for many years to come.”
Of course the Astros had to exchange the pleasantries as well when Reid Ryan statedL “The Astros are very excited to announce this two-year extension with Tri-City. Maintaining our affiliation with the ValleyCats is important to the Astros, as the first-rate facility and winning environment at Joseph L. Bruno Stadium has been a key part of the development process for our young players. Nine players on the Astros current active Major League roster spent time in Tri-City, including four-time All-Star Jose Altuve, 2013 All-Star Jason Castro and 2015 All-Star and AL Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel. We are proud to be associated with the Gladstone family and the staff at the ValleyCats, and look forward to another two years in Tri-City.”
In the fifteen years of the affiliation, 34 former ValleyCats made their MLB debut with the Astros: Astros 2B Jose Altuve, OF Tony Kemp, LHP Dallas Keuchel, RHP Joe Musgrove, IF A.J. Reed, OF Preston Tucker and IF Tyler White, to name a few.
The ValleyCats are the most successful team of the New York-Penn League in the last four years. Since 2012, the ValleyCats have had more wins than any other Short Season A franchise. Tri-City has won the Stedler Division title in each of the last four seasons, posting more wins than any team in the New York-Penn League and captured two championship titles (2010, 2013).