The Business of MiLB
• How can I obtain documentation for the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program?
• How can I learn where a player will be assigned for the coming season?
• Why are the Minor Leagues divided into different levels, like Class A, Double-A and Triple-A?
• What does "short season" refer to?
• Can a player be called up to the Majors from any league?
• How is it determined what level a player plays on?
• If a team signs a Player Development Contract with a different MLB organization, will the team have to relocate?
• If a team signs a Player Development Contract with a different MLB organization, will the personnel all change?
• Do Major League teams own the Minor League teams affiliated with them, or are they independently owned?
• How much is a Minor League Baseball team worth?
• What do Minor League players earn?
• Do Minor Leaguers who make the playoffs receive additional compensation of any sort?
• Who provides employment benefits for players? Do former players continue to receive health insurance?
• How do players travel from city to city -- by bus, airplane, train?
• Who pays for and supplies the equipment used in Minor League games?
• Where can I find average attendance figures for all Minor League teams and leagues?
• Is it possible to send items to Minor League teams and request that a ballplayers or players sign them?
• Can bloggers receive press credentials to cover Minor League games? If so, how does one acquire those?
• What roster restrictions do Minor League teams have in terms of player eligibility?
• Is there a restriction on how long a player can remain at each level before he must move up or out?
• What are the regulations for eligibility for assignment to the Arizona Fall League?
• Are all MiLB teams aware of which players have been released?
• How long are Minor League players required to remain with the team that drafted them?
• How and when do Minor League players acquire free agent status?
• How does the Rule 5 Draft work?
• I have an idea or product I would like to submit to Minor League Baseball to consider -- can I do that?
• I am looking to get started in scouting baseball players. What information do you have on that?
• What is the best way to investigate and apply for employment opportunities with Major or Minor League teams?
Policies and Programs
Q. How can I obtain documentation for the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program?
A. This policy is implemented and enforced by Major League Baseball, as all Minor League Baseball players (except for those in the Mexican League and the Mexican Academy League) are under contract with a Major League club. To obtain this information, please contact the MLB PR office at 212-931-7878.
Organizational Structure, Affiliations and PDCs
Q. How can I learn where a player will be assigned for the coming season?
A. Players in affiliated leagues sign a contract with a Major League Baseball organization. Subsequently, they are assigned to one of that organization's Minor League Baseball affiliates. Most Minor League Baseball teams have their rosters posted on their websites. Individual team websites can be accessed via their team pages on our site, using the "Teams" menu in the masthead. Here's a look at all the affiliates of Major League Organizations, with links to those teams and their rosters. Most teams don't officially assign players until just a few days before the season begins.
Q. Why are the Minor Leagues divided into different levels, like Class A, Double-A and Triple-A?
A. The affiliated Minor Leagues are divided into a structure that allows players to face increasingly difficult competition as they progress in their development. The Triple-A and Double-A leagues typically feature more experienced and talented players. Class A and Rookie-level leagues usually feature younger, less experienced players like recent Draft picks or players with one or two years of service time. Informally, players often refer to "moving up the ladder" as they progress from lower levels toward the Major Leagues. This Schedule page offers an overview of the league structure, as well as pull-down menus for all teams in each league. (Note that actual schedules for upcoming seasons arrive at different times during the offseason and are updated accordingly.)
Q. What does "Short Season" refer to?
A. "Short Season" is both an informal description of the schedule played by a number of Minor League teams and also part of the formal classification of the level of two of the leagues those teams belong to. Officially, there are two "Class A Short Season" leagues: the New York-Penn League and the Northwest League. Six other leagues, officially classified as "Rookie" leagues, begin play around the same time, in June, following the annual First-Year Player Draft. Those are the Appalachian League, Pioneer League, Arizona (Summer) League, Gulf Coast League, Dominican Summer League and Venezuelan Summer League. Informally, "short season" is often used to describe the teams in all eight of those leagues, whose rosters are mainly populated by younger players and recent Draft picks making their professional debuts. Note that the Rookie-level Arizona League is different than the Arizona Fall League.
Q. Can a player be called up to the Majors from any league?
A. Players can be called up to the Majors directly from any level, although players most often spend a few years in the Minors gaining knowledge and sharpening their skills and are not typically called up until they have reached Double-A or Triple-A.
Q. How is it determined what level a player plays on?
A. Major League organizations can promote players through the affiliated leagues, or directly to the Majors, as they wish. Such moves are primarily based on the development of individual players but may also reflect temporary roster needs throughout the chain of affiliates.
Q. If a Minor League team signs a Player Development Contract with a different MLB organization, rather than renewing an existing agreement, will the team have to relocate?
A. The Player Development Contract creates an affiliation between a Major League organization and the ownership of a Minor League franchise. Though many stadiums are built, owned and managed by local municipalities -- often to attract or retain a Minor League team -- most MiLB franchise owners are private individuals or ownership groups. Some Major League organizations may own one or more of their Minor League teams, but this is not necessarily widespread. The decision to begin the relocation process is made by the franchise owner of the Minor League Baseball club. It is often -- but not necessarily -- connected to signing a new PDC. Some factors affecting a team's decision to relocate might be: attendance, stadium conditions and leases, geographical proximity to other clubs in the same league or to its Major League parent, climate conditions, economic landscape of its local market, etc.
Q. If a team signs a new Player Development Contract rather than renewing its current one, will the personnel -- players, coaches, front office -- all change? Does this work the same at all levels?
A. At all levels, the Player Development Contract creates an affiliation between a Major League organization and the ownership of a Minor League franchise. The franchise ownership is responsible for assembling a front office and staff to manage all business aspects, including gameday activities such as ticket sales, promotions, broadcasting, etc. The MLB organization makes all decisions related to player development, including selecting the coaching staff and deciding which players to assign to the team.
Ownership, Profitability, Costs, Player Compensation, Player Financial Responsibilities
Q. Do Major League teams own the Minor League teams affiliated with them, or are they independently owned?
A. The majority of Minor League Baseball clubs are independently owned. Several Major League teams do own some of their affiliates, though -- the Tampa Yankees, Springfield Cardinals and Gwinnett Braves, for example.
Q. How much is a Minor League Baseball team worth?
A. Minor League Baseball clubs are worth anywhere from $3-$25 million, based on several variables.
Q. What do Minor League players earn?
A. Minor League Baseball player contracts are handled by the Major League Baseball office. Here are the salary ranges:
First contract season: $1,100/month maximum. After that, open to negotiation.
Alien Salary Rates: Different for aliens on visas as mandated by INS (the United States Immigration and Naturalization Service).
Meal Money: $25 per day at all levels, while on the road.
Q. Do Minor Leaguers who make the playoffs receive additional compensation of any sort?
A. Players get paid on a pro-rated scale for each day they are on a roster until their club's season is over.
Q. Who provides employment benefits for players? Do former players continue to receive health insurance coverage?
A. For the answers to these questions, please contact someone directly in Minor League Baseball's administrative office.
Q. How do players travel from city to city -- by bus, airplane, train?
A. Most Minor League teams travel by bus unless they're traveling thousands of miles.
Q. Who pays for and supplies the equipment used in Minor League games -- the league or each team? Do players ever purchase their own equipment?
A. Players, both at the Major and Minor League levels, are provided equipment like helmets, uniforms and such, but most opt to use their own bats and gloves. Often those pieces of equipment are custom-ordered by that player so they can be manufactured to his liking. If you look closely, many players have their names embroidered on their gloves and etched on their bats. In many cases, agents will provide their players with bats and gloves made to the player's specifications.
Earnings: Attendance, Merchandise, Sponsorships
Q. Where can I find average attendance figures for all Minor League teams and leagues?
A. Attendance figures and team averages for the most recent season are published on the websites of each league. This information can be found in the "Stats" menu, accessible from the masthead. For example, here's the California League's year-to-date attendance numbers for each of its clubs, including averages. The websites for some leagues also include additional attendance information. If it is published, this information is most likely to be found by selecting the "History" or "About" menu in the masthead. For example, here are the California League's attendance figures for each year since 2005. Some leagues may publish additional attendance information in their media guides but not on the league website. You can contact leagues directly to inquire about historical information they may have about attendance.
The Minor League Baseball Information Guide probably aggregates this data the best.
Licensing, Rights and Permissions
Q. Is it possible to send items to Minor League teams and request that a ballplayer or ballplayers sign them?
A. When a team's front office receives a request like that, it is up to the team whether or not to deliver the item to the player(s). There is no guarantee, but there are staff members on most teams who love to make connections with fans. You might want to contact the club and see if a community relations manager or other staffer will help you out by seeing if the clubhouse manager can get the autograph(s) for you.
Q. Can bloggers receive press credentials to cover Minor League games? If so, how does one acquire those?
A. The granting of credentials is left to the discretion of each club, so you'd have to contact a team's media relations department.
Q. What roster restrictions do Minor League teams have in terms of player eligibility?
A. There are limitations on the number of players who can be on a roster, and these vary depending on the level of the league and the time of year. Also, there are both active and reserve rosters, which may include players on injured lists, restricted lists, etc. Class A Advanced and lower-level leagues have roster guidelines based on service time for eligible players. The guidelines vary by league as you can see in the complete list below. All the info is also in the Minor League Baseball Information Guide.
Here are the roster limits by league:
Triple-A: International, Pacific Coast - 25 active.
Double-A: Eastern, Southern, Texas - 25 active.
Class A Advanced: California, Carolina, Florida State - 25 active; 35 under control; no more than two players and one player-coach on active list may have six or more years of prior Minor League service.
Class A: Midwest, South Atlantic - 25 active; 35 under control; no more than two players on active list may have five or more years of prior Minor League service.
Class A Short-Season: New York-Penn, Northwest - 35 active. No more than three players on the Active List may have four or more years of prior Minor League service.
Rookie: Appalachian, Pioneer leagues - 35 active. No more than three players on the Active List may have three or more years of prior Minor League service.
Rookie: Arizona, Gulf Coast leagues - 35 active. No player on the Active List may have three or more years of prior Minor League service.
Rookie: Venezuelan Summer, Dominican Summer - 35 active. No player on the Active List may have four or more years of prior Minor League Service. No Draft-eligible player from the U.S. or Canada (not including players from Puerto Rico) may participate in the DSL or VSL.
Q. Is there a restriction on how long a player can remain at each level before he must move up or out?
A. No, there are no such restrictions, except for those listed in the answer to the question directly above.
Q. What are the regulations for eligibility for assignment to the Arizona Fall League?
A. Each Major League organization is required to provide six players to the Arizona Fall League; eligibility rules can be found here.
Q. Are all MiLB teams aware of which players have been released?
A. Minor League Baseball clubs have access to this information, but they do not sign players. A Major League organization may sign a player to a Minor League contract and then assign that player to any of its Minor League affiliates.
Q. How long are Minor League players required to remain with the team that drafted them before they are eligible to negotiate with another team?
A. According to Major League Rule 3(b), "All Minor League Uniform Player Contracts between either a Major or a Minor League Club and a player who has not previously signed a contract with a Major or a Minor League Club shall be for a term of seven Minor League playing seasons."
Q. How and when do Minor League players acquire free agent status?
A. According to Major League Rule 55, "At 5 p.m. Eastern Time on Oct. 15 or on the fifth day following the last day of the World Series, whichever is later, of the last year of a player's Minor League Uniform Player Contract, the player's Minor League Uniform Player Contract shall expire and the player shall become a 'Minor League free agent' unless the player's Major or Minor League club has remaining options to renew the contract.
Q. How does the Rule 5 Draft work?
A. The "Events" menu in the MiLB.com masthead provides a link to this detailed explanation of the Rule 5 Draft.
Q. I have an idea or product I would like to submit to Minor League Baseball to consider -- can I do that?
A. Minor League Baseball ("MiLB") and its employees do not accept or consider unsolicited ideas, including ideas for new advertising campaigns, new promotions, new or improved products or technologies, new club names or logos, product enhancements, materials, or marketing plans. Please do not send or provide any unsolicited ideas, original creative artwork, suggestions, information, or other works (each, a "Submission") in any form to any MiLB office, email address, web address, employee, or other MiLB representative. Please understand that this policy is intended to help MiLB avoid future misunderstandings or disputes when MiLB's products or marketing strategies seem similar or even identical to those submitted to it without having been solicited. If, despite our request that you not send us your ideas, you still send them, the following terms shall apply to your Submission regardless of what your letter, email, or other form of communication says.
TERMS OF IDEA SUBMISSION: You hereby assign to MiLB, free of charge, all worldwide rights, title, and interest in all copyrights and other intellectual property rights in your Submission. MiLB will be entitled to reproduce, display, prepare derivative works based upon, or otherwise use any Submission, including any ideas, concepts, know-how, or techniques contained in the Submission, for any purpose whatsoever, including but not limited to, developing and marketing products using such Submission, without restriction and without compensating you in any way. MiLB is not obligated to review your Submission. MiLB does not agree to keep your Submission confidential and shall not be held liable for any use or disclosure of it.
Q. I am looking to obtain any information on how to get started in scouting baseball players as a volunteer bird-dog scout. Is that information and any necessary contact information available?
A. You may want to contact a Major League team directly. Each MLB organization employs its own scouting department. Minor League Baseball teams do not. Organizations typically have regional scouts and farm directors who oversee scouting operations. Visit this page for information on the Major League Scouting Bureau. That page includes a link to this information, "An inside look at scout school."
Q. What is the best way to investigate and apply for employment opportunities with Major League or Minor League teams?
A. There is a Minor League Baseball Job Fair held annually at the Baseball Winter Meetings. The dates are usually in early December and the location varies each year. For more information, please visit PBEO Job Fair. You can also directly contact Minor League teams and leagues in your region. Most teams have contact info on their websites. You can use this list of links to all affiliate teams, organized by Major League organization, to locate contact information. MLB.com also provides a link to information about careers with Major League Baseball, and also a collection of links to information about careers with individual Major League teams.