Astros extend deal with Class A Lancaster

HOUSTON -- The Astros extended their player development contract with Class A Lancaster of the California League on Thursday, meaning their affiliation with the JetHawks will continue through the 2016 season. The partnership between the Astros and Lancaster began in 2009. 

"We have a wonderful partnership with the JetHawks and are very excited to extend our player development contract," Astros directory of player development Quinton McCracken said. "We look forward to fielding exciting championship players and teams in Lancaster in the upcoming years."

Lancaster has been the winningest organization in the California League for the past three seasons, posting a 233-182 (.561) combined record since 2012. The California League, specifically Lancaster, hasn't always been an easy stop for young pitchers. Mark Appel, the top pick in the 2013 First-Year Player Draft, struggled this year at Lancaster and was moved to Double-A Corpus Christi, where he has pitched better.

Earlier this week, the Astros extended their PDC at Class A Quad Cities of the Midwest League, though it appears they will have to find a new home for their Triple-A club. It was reported last week that a group affiliated with the Dodgers was going to purchase the Oklahoma City franchise and move the club's Triple-A operations there.

The JetHawks have gone 77-58 (.570) this season, and they have already qualified for a playoff spot by winning their first-half division title. Last year, the club went 82-58 and won both the first- and second-half division titles. In 2012, the JetHawks won their first California League championship.

"Coming on the heels of another season of on-field success featuring high-profile prospects, we are excited to continue our partnership with Houston," JetHawks vice president Brad Seymour said. "The Astros continue to place a lot of focus on their Minor League system, and we are thrilled that the fans in the Antelope Valley will continue to have the opportunity to enjoy watching the talent from one of the highest-rated farm systems in baseball develop on their way to the Major League level."

Brian McTaggart is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog, Tag's Lines. Follow @brianmctaggart on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.