The Braves are moving their advanced Single-A team from North Carolina to Kissimmee, Fla, where it will play in the Houston Astros’ longtime spring-training home at Osceola County Stadium.
The Braves signed a four-year player development contract with the Brevard County Manatees, who are moving their franchise from Viera, Fla., and will continue to play in the Florida State League. It’ll be the Braves’ first entry in the FSL since the West Palm Beach Braves played in the league from 1965 through 1968.
For the Braves, it’s the second time in three season they’ll change homes for the high-A team, which moved from Lynchburg, Va., to Zebulon, N.C., after the 2014 season.
They played as the Carolina Mudcats the past two seasons, and with that agreement expired they’re moving their high-A operation to Florida and a stadium that has high-level workout facilities and training rooms after being renovated not long ago for Astros spring training.
The Astros are moving their spring training from Kissimmee to a new shared site with the Washington Nationals in Palm Beach County in 2017. The Kissimmee location works well logistically at this time for the Braves, whose spring-training and minor league headquarters are located about 30 minutes away in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
“We are thrilled to reach this agreement with the Manatees,” Braves general manager John Coppolela said. “We look forward to returning to the Florida State League and to our second home in central Florida.”
The Braves are expected to move to a new spring-training home to another, undetermined location in Florida after 2018.
The new Kissimmee team will be named neither the Braves nor Manatees, but will instead have one of six colorful names that have been the subject of an online voting poll since late July: Rodeo Clowns, Dragonflies, Fire Frogs, Toucans, Sorcerers and Mud Kickers. The name and logo will be announced in October.
The Manatees were a Single-A affiliate of the Milwaukee Brewers in the FSL for 12 seasons.
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