Revamped Pioneer League includes three Colorado baseball teams

A revamped Pioneer League includes three minor league teams that play baseball in Colorado.

The Grand Junction Rockies, Rocky Mountain Vibes in Colorado Springs and Northern Colorado Owlz in Windsor will be part of an independent league of eight teams, Major League Baseball announced Monday.

The Pioneer League has been designated a “partner league” of MLB. That means that from 2021 teams in the Pioneer League will no longer be affiliated with Major League teams. Instead, the teams will operate as independent clubs in Colorado, Idaho, Montana and Utah.

The Grand Junction Rockies served as the Rockies rookie league team, but it will no longer feed players directly into the Rockies system.

MLB has promised to get the league started with its new format.

“MLB will provide initial funding for the league’s running costs and install scouting technology in Pioneer League baseball fields to provide MLB clubs with premium scouting information about Pioneer League players,” the announcement said. The agreement will also include a process for player transfers to MLB clubs. The leagues are also exploring opportunities for joint marketing, ticketing and fan engagement. “

In addition to the three Colorado teams, the other members of the Pioneer League are the Billings (Mont.) Mustangs, Great Falls (Mont.) Voyagers, Idaho Falls Chukars, Missoula (Mont.) PaddleHeads, and Ogden (Utah) Raptors. All teams will keep their existing team names and brands.

This story is being updated