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The Mariners have a new Single-A affiliate: The West Virginia Power replace the Clinton LumberKings

Ohio Valley Steel Towns Face Uncertain Future Photo by Rick Gershon/Getty Images

Much like video game giant, Bethesda, the Mariners have decided to set the future of their franchise in Appalachia. After recently locking up local player development contracts with the Everett AquaSox and Tacoma Rainiers, the Mariners are shaking things up at the Single-A level.

Despite the original confusion, the West Virginia Power of the South Atlantic League are to be replacing the Clinton LumberKings of the Midwest League as Seattle’s Single-A Affiliate.

The West Virginia Power, located in Charleston, WV, had been the Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate since 2009, which showed through in their distinctly Bucs-tinted color scheme.

West Virginia Power at Appalachian Power Park

It doesn’t seem out of the question that a full overhaul could be in the works for the Power, who are already on their third mascot since the team came into formal existence in 1987. They began as the Charleston Wheelers, then transitioned to the Charleston Alley Cats, before finally settling on the West Virginia Power as an homage to the region’s proud legacy of industrial work, and also Charleston is the state capitol, or something. The execs seemed to lose the plot a bit with their explanation, but the result is a seemingly vibrant minor league town with some passionate fans, including Charleston’s deputy mayor, the Toastman:

From MiLB: “Rod Blackstone is the “Toastman,” a West Virginia Power ballpark icon who can be found sitting in a front row toasting bread and screaming for his hometown Pirates affiliate.”

Unfortunately, as of yet it doesn’t appear the Power have video broadcasts included in their home field of Appalachian Power Park, but multiple of their competitors in the South Atlantic League thankfully do. West Virginia seems like a potential starting point for Mariners 1st-round pick RHP Logan Gilbert next year, as well as other standout members of this year’s draft class like OF Josh Stowers and C Cal Raleigh. The Power could also be an aggressive potential landing spot for DSL standout OF Julio Rodriguez and members of next year’s draft crop.

The Power will be the eastern-most Mariners’ minor league affiliate since the AA-New Haven Ravens of New Haven, CT were jettisoned after the year 2000. This marks the conclusion of 10-year partnership between the Mariners and the LumberKings. With this now settled, the Mariners’ minor league system looks as follows:

Dominican Summer Leagues: DSL Mariners

Arizona Rookie Leagues: AZL Mariners

Short Season A: Everett AquaSox

Low-A: West Virginia Power

High-A: Modesto Nuts

Double-A: Arkansas Travelers

Triple-A: Tacoma Rainiers