Minor Leagues On-the-field
How do I try out for a Minor League Baseball team? When and where are tryouts held?
• How does one go about getting into the pros? Are there any fees? How old would that person have to be?
• Can a player be drafted by more than one team? Can multiple teams offer an undrafted player a contract?
• Does the location of a tryout determine which team players who get signed will play for?
• If a player is released by his organization, how does he go about getting signed again?
• Do pitchers hit in the Minor Leagues?
• Why are doubleheaders played for seven innings?
• Are Minor Leagues rules the same as those that govern Major League Baseball?
• How can a run that is initially "unearned" become an "earned" run?
• What are the rules governing the loss of an umpire due to illness or injury?
• What are the differences in equipment between the Minor and Major Leagues?
• How many balls get used in a typical game? Who supplies those?
• What are the rules and regulations surrounding the use in play of all equipment for Minor League Baseball?
• Is there an at-bats or games-played minimum to be considered for Player of the Week awards?
• What are the necessary steps to becoming a Minor League umpire?
• Are there any rules that preclude former players from becoming umpires?
• What does OBP stand for? How can I find out what the abbreviations mean on the Stats page?
• What are the ways a player can have a batting average of .000?
• How do I look up record holders?
• How can I find out the whereabouts of a former player?
• How can I find out whether a particular pitcher had been placed on the disabled list?
• If a player is on the disabled list, how can I find out when his actual return is projected by his organization?
• When a pitcher is suspended for a certain number of games, is he suspended for that number of starts?
• What are the different types of transactions one might see on player bio pages or the transactions page?
Player-related - Getting on the Field
Q. How do I try out for a Minor League Baseball team? When and where are tryouts held?
A. Although tryouts may be held at a team's facility, it is not possible to tryout directly for a Minor League Baseball team. All players in the Minors are signed by Major League organizations and then assigned to a Minor League affiliate's roster. MiLB.com and Minor League affiliates are in no way involved with this process.
Most all players in the Minors are drafted out of high school/college or sign with a Major League team as a free agent. For more information on how some aspiring players have reached the Minors, check out this story.
In past years, the Major League Scouting Bureau scheduled tryouts at a number of locations, including Minor League stadiums in the U.S., Canada and Mexico -- those open tryouts have been discontinued in recent years as the Bureau has been downsized. Interested players should refer to the MLBSB website for information on how the Bureau works to provide scouting reports to teams.
It is not possible to simply sign up to play for a Minor League team.
Also, an individual Major League organization may schedule tryouts at the stadiums of its Minor League affiliates. For example, the Detroit Tigers held a tryout camp at their Spring Training complex in Lakeland, Fla., on March 4, 2013 and the Milwaukee Brewers held an open tryout camp on July 22, 2010, at its Triple-A affiliate in Nashville. You may want to check the websites or contact Minor League teams in your area to see if they will be hosting tryouts on behalf of MLB teams. Click here for a list of links to all affiliated teams, organized by Major League organization. Or, you could contact Major League organizations to see if and when they have scheduled their own tryouts.
Q. How does one go about getting into the pros? Are there any fees? How old would that person have to be?
A. Most players are either drafted in the annual First-Year Player Draft or sign with a Major League organization as a nondrafted free agent, based on their performance for a high school or college team, their performance with an unaffiliated team in an independent league -- including being scouted internationally -- or how they do in a formal tryout.
There are no fees to become Draft-eligible. Major League teams may have their own rules regarding their tryout camps -- players generally must be at least 16 years of age to participate in a tryout.
Q. Can a player be drafted by more than one team? Can more than one team offer an undrafted player a free-agent contract?
A. A player may only be drafted by one Major League team in each year that he is eligible to be drafted. He has no say about which team drafts him, but he can opt to not sign with that team, and in some circumstances he may return to the pool of Draft-eligible players for the next Draft. If more than one team offers a free agent player a contract, the player may choose which Major League organization he wants to sign with. MiLB.com is in no way involved with facilitating this process for unsigned players.
Q. Does the location of a tryout determine which team players who get signed will play for?
A. Regardless of where a tryout is held, the Minor League host team does not directly scout or sign players. Players are only signed by a Major League organization, which can then assign the player to any of its affiliates, not necessarily the same club that hosted the tryout.
Q. If a player is released by his organization, how does he go about getting signed again?
A. Players typically have agents facilitating the process of being scouted and signed. Agents can contact teams directly and free-agent players may be given non-roster invites to Spring Training or offered a private workout. Some players may be signed off teams playing in independent leagues that are not affiliated with Major League Baseball, but there is no formal schedule for scouting those teams. Players can also contact scouts or teams directly.
Game-related - Rules of the Game
Q. Do pitchers hit in the Minor Leagues?
A. Pitchers only bat at the Double-A and Triple-A levels. Here are the rules for the individual leagues at those levels:
International: Pitchers only hit when both clubs are NL affiliates
Pacific Coast: Pitchers only hit when both clubs are NL affiliates and both clubs agree to have their pitchers hit
Eastern: Pitchers only hit when both clubs are NL affiliates
Southern: Pitchers only hit when both clubs are NL affiliates
Texas: Pitchers only hit when both clubs are NL affiliates
Q. Why are doubleheaders played for seven innings?
A. According to Rule 4.10 (a) in the Official Baseball Rules, Minor Leagues have the option to adopt a policy where all doubleheaders consist of two seven-inning games. It's done to complete the games in a timely manner while offering a good value for fans and accommodating the teams' travel plans.
Q. Are Minor Leagues rules the same as those that govern Major League Baseball? What about the new intentional walk rule?
A. Minor League Baseball clubs play by the same rules as listed in the Official Baseball Rules published by Major League Baseball, including the new intentional walk rule.
Q. How can a run that is initially "unearned" become an "earned" run? Can an earned run become an unearned run in any circumstances?
A. Aside from scoring changes, there are some possibilities. It is possible for a run that is unearned when it scores to become earned when later events would have scored the run without the error. For example, a batter triples and scores on a wild throw. The run is unearned, but the next batter hits a home run, making the first run now earned, since the first player would have scored from third on the home run. This can never happen in reverse. An error later in an inning cannot make a run that had scored on a play previous to the error unearned. Also, a run can be charged as earned to a pitcher but unearned to a team. For example, say a batter reaches base on an error with two outs in an inning. The pitcher is replaced by a new pitcher who promptly gives up a two-run home run. The run scored by the player who hit the home run (and any other earned runs scored that inning) is charged as earned to the new pitcher but unearned to the team.
Q. I was at a game and noticed that in the later innings there were only two umpires on the field instead of three, and I couldn't recall ever noticing that before. What are the rules governing the loss of an umpire due to illness or injury? Is there typically an alternate umpire available?
A. There is no rule that says an umpire must be replaced if one leaves due to illness or injury. The rule says that the only time an umpire can be replaced is because of illness or injury, but it is not required. Many Minor Leagues use only two umpires at games -- the New York-Penn League, for example. If you were at a game that began with three umpires, there was likely no substitute available.
Q. What are the differences in equipment between the Minor and Major Leagues?
A. The main difference is the larger Rawlings S100 helmets that Minor Leaguers began wearing in 2010. It is designed to offer enhanced high-impact protection. Catcher Francisco Cervelli was one of the first to wear the new helmet in the Majors, though David Wright briefly tried it in 2009. The game balls, also made by Rawlings, are slightly different in terms of seam threading. Minor League balls are assembled in China, while Major League balls are largely fabricated in Costa Rica.
Q. How many balls are used in a typical game? Who supplies those?
A. Balls are paid for and provided to Minor League clubs by their parent affiliates. Major League games tend to use 60-70 balls per game, on average, and that number is likely similar in the Minors (or perhaps a bit lower), but we don't have specific data. Some teams have reported using more than 100 per game.
Q. Would you please provide an official, up-to-date version of the rules and regulations surrounding the use in play of all equipment for Minor League Baseball?
A. These are the Official Baseball Rules. Section 1 deals with equipment; Rule 1.10 (page 6) specifies rules regarding bats.
Q. Is there an at-bats or games-played minimum that must be met in order to be considered for Offensive Player of the Week awards? What other criteria/restrictions apply?
A. League front offices typically select weekly player awards, and MiLB.com can't speak officially on behalf of the leagues regarding their criteria for selection. You could request this information from the league(s) you're interested in. Contact information can be found on each league's website, accessible from the Leagues menu in the MiLB.com masthead.
Player-Related - Non-player Careers: Umpiring
Q. What are the necessary steps to becoming a Minor League umpire? Which requirement is more stringent: physical conditioning or knowledge of baseball rules?
A. Neither being in top condition nor having deep knowledge of the game will by itself qualify someone to become an umpire -- though the combination would be a very good start. MiLB.com has nothing to do with selecting or evaluating umpires, but we have detailed information on how to become one.
Q. Are there any rules that preclude former players from becoming umpires? And out of curiosity, can an umpire become a player?
A. No, there are no rules prohibiting players from becoming umpires or -- though it's less likely to happen -- an umpire from being signed as a professional player.
Statistics - Categories
Q. What does OBP stand for? How can I find out what the abbreviations mean at the tops of columns on the Stats page?
A. OBP is the abbreviation for on-base percentage, which calculates the percentage of time a batter reaches base by hit, walk, or hit-by-pitch. The different Stats pages for most individual teams and leagues now include a Stats Legend link that explains what the acronyms stand for.
Q. What are the ways a player can have a batting average of .000?
A. If a batter's average is .000, it means he has not recorded any hits so far. Once he gets a hit, his average will increase accordingly.
Statistics - Historical Numbers and Player Information
Q. How do I look up record holders?
A. MiLB.com (produced by MLB Advanced Media) has only been the official statistician for Minor League Baseball since 2005. Over the years, there has been no single source that compiled all records for Minor League Baseball. Individual leagues usually maintain their own records and publish them in Media Guides, but not necessarily on their websites. You could contact the leagues to see if they will send or sell you a Media Guide. While the set of affiliated leagues has also changed over the years, each league's record keeping may be complete across its different eras. You might also want to try an Internet search for specific record information you're seeking. Sites like Wikipedia and baseball-reference.com have valuable official and unofficial information.
Q. How can I find out the whereabouts of a former player?
A. Former players are not required to provide Minor League Baseball with their current contact information. There are several member-based organizations that maintain the contact information of former Minor and Major League Baseball players, including:
• the Minor League Baseball Alumni Association; • the Association of Professional Baseball Players of America (714-935-9993);
• the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association (719-477-1870).
The Minor League Baseball Alumni Association does not distribute the contact information of former players. The other organizations may, or may not, have similar privacy policies. In addition to statistics, individual leagues may also maintain other information about players, though each league will differ in the amount of historical information it maintains or can provide access to. The Texas League has a lengthy list of research materials available on its website. Other leagues may or may not have similar information available if you contact their offices.
Transactions - Player status
Q. How can I find out whether a particular pitcher had been placed on the disabled list?
A. Information about player status can be found at the bottom of their player pages and on a league-by-league basis using the links available on the main Stats page.
Q. If a player is on the disabled list, how can I find out when his actual return is projected by his organization?
A. The Transactions lists in the Stats section do not include updates on player progress, only formal status. However, those pages include links to each player's team, and you can contact the team to see if it is willing to release that information.
Q. When a pitcher is suspended for a certain number of games, is he suspended for that number of starts?
A. Players are suspended for games, not starts. If a starting pitcher is suspended for a disciplinary incident in a game -- for instance, throwing at a batter -- his suspension tends to be at least five games, so that the suspension actually has an effect. Anything less than four games and a suspension could be sandwiched between starts.
Q. I have noticed a lot of different terms that appear under "Type" on the league transactions pages. Most seem self-explanatory, but I was hoping you could provide more information about what each one means.
A. Here is a list of frequently occurring transactions and what they mean:
Player recalled: A player is called up by his Major League club. A player is recalled (rather than having his contract selected) if he is already on the MLB club's 40-man roster.
Contract selected: A player is called up by his Major League club. A player has his contract selected (rather than being recalled) if he is not already on the MLB club's 40-man roster.
Disabled list: MLB has a 15- and 60-day disabled list. The difference is that, though a player on either list does not count against a club's active roster limit, a player placed on the 60-day disabled list (along with having to sit out for 45 extra days) is no longer counted against an MLB club's 40-man roster. The Minor Leagues have a 7-day disabled list that works the same as MLB's 15-day disabled list.
Assigned: A player is assigned to a new team within his organization or to his organization's extended Spring Training. A player is not considered "assigned" to a Major League club. It generally refers to a player being assigned to a Minor League team, a Spring Training camp or extended Spring Training.
Optioned: A player is sent from his Major League club to one of its Minor League affiliates. When a player is optioned, he remains on the MLB club's 40-man roster.
Sent outright ("outrighted"): A player is sent from his Major League club to one of its Minor League affiliate. When a player is outrighted, he is removed from the MLB club's 40-man roster.
Designated for assignment: When an MLB club designates a player for assignment, it allows the club to open up a roster spot while it figures out what to do with the player. Most often a player is designated for assignment so the club can open up his roster spot while it waits for him to clear waivers. A club may also designate a player for assignment while it tries to trade him to another club. A club's 40-man roster must be full before a player can be DFA'd, and the player is immediately removed from all rosters when he is designated.
Released: An MLB club removes a player from its organization. Some players need to clear waivers before they can be released, hence they would be designated for assignment first. Other players, particularly those released from Minor League affiliates, need not clear waivers.
Claimed off waivers: There are various situations in which a player may end up on waivers. It is usually a precursor to the player being released, traded or reassigned to a Minor League club. Any other team can put in a claim on a waived player within a certain time frame. If more than one team claims the same player, the team winning the claim is determined by which claiming team had the worst record in the same league (American or National) as the team that waived the player and then, if no one in the same league claims him, the claiming team in the other league with the worst record.
Traded: A player has been traded from one Major League organization to another. Minor Leaguers are not traded from affiliate to affiliate but rather MLB organization to MLB organization. The new MLB organization can then assign the player to one of its affiliates.
Reserve list: This is now a little-used term, primarily seen in the Mexican League where teams have a 35-man roster but only 30 players may be active per game, so the other five players are technically on the reserve list.
Restricted list: The restricted list is for players who are suspended because of failure to adhere to the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program. It also may be used if a player violates contact terms or fails to appear for a team or camp assignment. An example of the latter is a foreign player who cannot join his team because of visa problems.
Suspended: A player is suspended, usually for an on-field incident, and is not allowed to play. He still counts against a team's active roster limit.
Temporarily inactive list: If a Minor League player is away from a team for a few days because of a personal matter, travel to an All-Star game, etc., and is not placed on the DL, he is placed on the temporary inactive list.
Bereavement list: A player is temporarily inactive to attend to a personal matter like a family medical emergency or a death in the family. This can last from three to seven days.