2021 Texas Rangers affiliates: Round Rock, Frisco, Down East and Hickory will be the Texas Rangers’ minor league affiliates in 2021, per Baseball America, who have 119 of the 120 minor league affiliates for MLB confirmed. The one unconfirmed affiliation is for the Colorado Rockies’ low-A team, which BA has as “To Be Determined.”
Three of the four affiliates are the same full season teams the Rangers were affiliated with in 2019-20 — the one change is in AAA, where the Rangers are moving from Nashville, their AAA affiliate the past two years, to Round Rock, which was previously the Rangers’ AAA affiliate from 2011-18.
Round Rock is owned by the Ryan family, and when Nolan Ryan and Reid Ryan joined the Houston Astros organization after Ryan left the Rangers, the Express affiliating with Houston was an inevitability, and after the Rangers’ contract with Round Rock expired after 2017, that change was made. With the Ryans no longer being part of the Astros, and with Sugar Land (a Houston suburb) bring changed from an Independent League team to a AAA team, the Astros shifting from Round Rock to Sugar Land was natural, and so the Rangers are now back in Round Rock. Nashville is now the AAA affiliated for the Milwaukee Brewers.
While the Rangers have the same low-ball affiliates as they had in 2020, the teams are flip-flopping the leagues they are in. Hickory, which was a low-A South Atlantic League team in 2020, is moving to the high-A Carolina League, while Down East is dropping from the Caroline League to the South Atlantic League.
Frisco, of course, will continue to be the Rangers’ AA affiliate.