|No. of teams||18|
|FCL Rays (2021)[a]|
|Most titles||FCL Yankees (12 titles)|
The Florida Complex League (FCL) is a rookie-level Minor League Baseball league that operates in Florida, United States. Before 2021, it was known as the Gulf Coast League (GCL). Together with the Arizona Complex League (ACL), it forms the lowest rung on the North American minor-league ladder.
FCL teams play at the minor league spring training complexes of their parent Major League Baseball (MLB) clubs and are owned by those parent clubs. Admission is not charged and no concessions are operated at the teams' games. Every Grapefruit League team fields at least one team in the league. Night games are commonly played in the spring training stadium, although games may also be played at the team's practice fields.
As of the 2021 season, there is no league limit to how many players can be on an active roster, but no team can have more than three players with four or more years of minor-league experience. Major-league players on rehabilitation assignments may also appear in the league.
Complex-based baseball leagues, which played before sparse crowds and often scheduled morning games to avoid the summer heat and afternoon thunderstorms, were adopted after the drastic shrinking of minor league baseball during the 1950s and 1960s. MLB teams needed an entry level to professional baseball for 18- and 19-year-old players graduating from high schools or signed from Latin America. They are considered the lowest rung on the minor league ladder.
The current league was founded in 1964 as the Sarasota Rookie League (SRL) with four teams playing in Sarasota. It was originally intended to be the Gulf Coast division of a statewide rookie league, with the eastern division Cocoa Rookie League based in Cocoa. However, the eastern and western teams never played each other. The SRL's four teams consisted of squads sponsored by the Chicago White Sox, Milwaukee Braves, New York Yankees, and St. Louis Cardinals. The SRL Braves, managed by Paul Snyder, future Atlanta farm system director, won the championship with a 36–23 record.
The league added teams in Bradenton in 1965 and changed its name to the Florida Rookie League.
The league adopted Gulf Coast League (GCL) naming for the 1966 season. It expanded to Florida's east coast in the 1990s.
Historically, three separate leagues also used the Gulf Coast League name: a 1907–1908 Class D league, a 1926 Class D league and a 1951–1953 Class C League. The 1907 founding members were the Alexandria White Sox, Lafayette Browns, Lake Charles Creoles, Monroe Municipals, Opelousas Indians and Orange Hoo-Hoos. The 1951–1953 version featured the Brownsville Charros, Corpus Christi Aces, Galveston White Caps, Harlingen Capitals, Lake Charles Lakers, Laredo Apaches, Port Arthur Seahawks and Texas City Texans. All three leagues operated around the Gulf coasts of Texas and Louisiana.
On June 21, 2016, the GCL hired Jen Pawol, the first female umpire in Minor League Baseball since 2007, and the first in the GCL since 1978. In 2017, the GCL hired another woman umpire, Emma Charlesworth-Seiler.
The start of the 2020 season was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic before ultimately being cancelled on June 30.
Prior to the 2021 season, in continuation of MLB's reorganization of the minor leagues, the two US-based complex leagues were renamed, with the Gulf Coast League becoming the Florida Complex League (FCL).
For 2021, the league consists of 18 teams affiliated with 15 different MLB franchises, as three franchises are fielding two teams each.
The league plays a 52- to 56-game season that runs from mid-June to late August. Following the relocation of the Atlanta Braves spring training complex in 2019, teams in the league were divided into three divisions: East, North, and South (down from four in 2018). The three division winners plus a wild-card team (the non-division winner with the best overall winning percentage) play one-game semifinals: the division winner with the best regular-season record plays the wild-card team, while the other two division winners play each other. The semifinal winners then meet in a best-of-three series for the league championship.
Teams in the league are not referred to by their home city, but simply by their parent club's name. A prefix of FCL (previously GCL) is typically used to differentiate the team from its parent club and other farm teams with the same nickname. For instances when a parent club fields two teams in the league, a suffix is used—typically this is a direction (e.g. East, West) or a color (e.g. Blue, Orange). Some teams share stadiums with their club's Low-A affiliate in the Low-A Southeast league (previously, Class A affiliates in the Florida State League). Note that Low-A teams do use city names—for example the Tampa Tarpons, who also use the Yankees' spring training complex.
After the Houston Astros and Kansas City Royals each fielded two teams as late as 1981, no franchise did so until the New York Yankees in 2013. The Yankees were joined by the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies in fielding two teams in 2016 and 2018, respectively. As of the 2021 season, the Tigers, Baltimore Orioles, and Pittsburgh Pirates are each fielding two teams.
|East||FCL Astros||Houston Astros||West Palm Beach, Florida||FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches||6,500|
|FCL Cardinals||St. Louis Cardinals||Jupiter, Florida||Roger Dean Stadium||7,200|
|FCL Marlins||Miami Marlins|
|FCL Mets||New York Mets||Port St. Lucie, Florida||Clover Park||7,160|
|FCL Nationals||Washington Nationals||West Palm Beach, Florida||FITTEAM Ballpark of the Palm Beaches||6,500|
|North||FCL Blue Jays||Toronto Blue Jays||Dunedin, Florida||Bobby Mattick Training Center at Englebert Complex||5,500|
|FCL Phillies||Philadelphia Phillies||Clearwater, Florida||Carpenter Complex||500|
|FCL Tigers East||Detroit Tigers||Lakeland, Florida||Publix Field at Joker Marchant Stadium||8,500|
|FCL Tigers West|
|FCL Yankees||New York Yankees||Tampa, Florida||George M. Steinbrenner Field||11,000|
|South||FCL Braves||Atlanta Braves||North Port, Florida||CoolToday Park||9,500|
|FCL Orioles Black||Baltimore Orioles||Sarasota, Florida||Ed Smith Stadium||8,340|
|FCL Orioles Orange|
|FCL Pirates Black||Pittsburgh Pirates||Bradenton, Florida||Pirate City||7,500|
|FCL Pirates Gold|
|FCL Rays||Tampa Bay Rays||Port Charlotte, Florida||Charlotte Sports Park||7,000|
|FCL Red Sox||Boston Red Sox||Fort Myers, Florida||JetBlue Park at Fenway South||8,000|
|FCL Twins||Minnesota Twins||Fort Myers, Florida||Lee County Sports Complex||7,500|
Numbers in parentheses indicate a franchise's instance of winning the championship, after its first instance.