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League Primer

League Primer: Western League

This Friday play will begin in the Western League (PECOWL). That means a trip to Bakersfield, California is up next in our League Primer series.

History

PECOWL came into existence in 2019. Since the 2020 season will be its second year of competitive play that means there’s not a lot of history to write about. The majority of games are played at Sam Lynn Ballpark in Bakersfield, California with some games also being played at Wasco Ballpark in nearby Wasco. 

Format

The PECOWL season consists of four weeks of play from February 7th to February 29th. It’s the very definition of a short season winter league. After a 10 game regular season, a single-elimination championship game takes place. PECOWL uses your standard baseball rules and utilizes the designated hitter.

Level of Play

The scale,

ML
AAAA
AAA
AA
A

Rookie

The organizers of PECOWL tout the league as a final chance for unaffiliated players to be signed by a minor league team. They also stress that the league will be scouted by teams from other full-season unaffiliated leagues. The league is also pay-to-play (which shouldn’t be surprising as it is run by the same folks as the Pecos League) with prospective players having to register, pay, and then attend a training camp before being drafted. What all this means is a lot of raw baseball talent who are either still chasing the dream, hoping some scout will see them, or just looking to get some in-game reps before they hope to make an actual splash in a larger unaffiliated league. Add all of the above together and you have a Rookie-level league.

Teams

  • Bakersfield Blues
  • High Desert Yardbirds
  • Hollywood Stars
  • Salina Stockade

The PECOWL teams are a mishmash of PECO teams and professional travel teams. Everything about a team will stay the same as they move from league to league, but the roster. The Stockade in PECOWL are the same as the Stockade that spent 2019 in the Pacific Association. Except, the PECOWL roster will be comprised entirely of players who try out and thus should end up completely different from their roster the rest of the year. This is the same for every PECOWL team, and it takes some getting used to.

Statistics

Currently, the 2019 PECOWL stats can be found on the PECOWL website. It’s unclear if there will be archives as the 2020 stats are added. PECOWL stats are not available on Baseball Reference.

People to Follow

Unfortunately, no one really writes about PECOWL nor are there any devoted fans who have a heavy social media presence posting about the league or teams That leaves the PECOWL website as your best source of information if you want to follow the league, but you’ll be limited to mainly game recaps.

Websites

Western LeagueWestern League Facebook

Streaming

There does not, at this time, appear to be any way to watch PECOWL games online. I reached out to Andrew Dunn, the owner and Commissioner of the league, who responded, but did not provide a specific response as to any streaming availability.

Lead photo courtesy of Unknown – Western League

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Bill Thompson
Father (human/feline/canine), boyfriend, Paramedic, Socialist, writer Baseball Prospectus, Baseball.FYI, & Beyond the Box Score. Member Internet Baseball Writer's Association of America & Society for American Baseball Research.

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