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Minor League Baseball logo
|Founded||September 5, 1901|
|No. of teams||261|
|Countries|| United States |
|Headquarters||St. Petersburg, Florida, U.S.|
|TV partner(s)|| CBS Sports Network |
MiLB.tv, local tv stations
Minor League Baseball is a hierarchy of professional baseball leagues in the Americas that compete at levels below Major League Baseball (MLB) and provide opportunities for player development and a way to prepare for the major leagues. All of the minor leagues are operated as independent businesses. Most are members of the umbrella organization known as Minor League Baseball (MiLB), which operates under the Commissioner of Baseball within the scope of organized baseball. Several leagues, known as independent baseball leagues, do not have any official links to Major League Baseball.
Professional baseball is played in leagues throughout the world. In these leagues and associated farm teams, baseball players are selected for their talents and are paid to play for a specific team or club system.
Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization and the oldest of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. A total of 30 teams play in the National League (NL) and American League (AL), with 15 teams in each league. The NL and AL were formed as separate legal entities in 1876 and 1901, respectively. After cooperating but remaining legally separate entities beginning in 1903, the leagues merged into a single organization led by the Commissioner of Baseball in 2000. The organization also oversees Minor League Baseball, which comprises 256 teams affiliated with the major league clubs. With the World Baseball Softball Confederation, MLB manages the international World Baseball Classic tournament.
Commissioner of Baseball is the chief executive office of Major League Baseball (MLB) and the associated Minor League Baseball (MiLB) – a constellation of leagues and clubs known as organized baseball. Under the direction of the Commissioner, the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball hires and maintains the sport's umpiring crews, and negotiates marketing, labor, and television contracts. The commissioner is chosen by a vote of the owners of the teams. The current commissioner is Rob Manfred, who assumed office on January 25, 2015.
Except for the Mexican League, teams in the organized minor leagues are generally independently owned and operated but are directly affiliated with one major league team through a standardized Player Development Contract (PDC). These leagues also go by the nicknames the "farm system", "farm club", or "farm team(s)" because of a joke passed around by major league players in the 1930s when St. Louis Cardinals general manager Branch Rickey formalized the system, and teams in small towns were "growing players down on the farm like corn".
The Mexican Baseball League is a professional baseball league based in Mexico and the oldest running professional league in the country. It is a class Triple-A league in organized Minor League Baseball (MiLB), one grade below Major League Baseball (MLB). Unlike the other two Triple-A circuits, the International League and the Pacific Coast League, Mexican League teams are not affiliated with major league teams.
The Official Professional Baseball Rules Book govern all aspects of the game of Major League Baseball beyond what happens in the field of play. There are a number of sources for these rules but they all ultimately are sanctioned by the Commissioner's Office of Major League Baseball. Examples of these rules are the Rule 5 draft and the disabled list. Other examples include:
The St. Louis Cardinals are an American professional baseball team based in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) Central division. Busch Stadium has been their home ballpark since 2006. One of the nation's oldest and most successful professional baseball clubs, the Cardinals have won 11 World Series championships, more than any other NL team and second in MLB only to the New York Yankees. The team has won 19 National League pennants, third-most of any team. St. Louis has also won 14 division titles in the East and Central divisions.
Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball teams may enter into a PDC for a two- or four-year term. At the expiration of a PDC term, teams may renew their affiliation, or sign new PDCs with different clubs, though many relationships are renewed and endure for extended time periods. For example, the Omaha Storm Chasers (formerly the Omaha Royals and Omaha Golden Spikes) have been the Triple-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals since the Royals joined the American League in 1969, but the Columbus Clippers changed affiliations, after being associated with the New York Yankees from 1979, to the Washington Nationals in 2007, and have been affiliated with the Cleveland Indians since 2009.
The Omaha Storm Chasers are a Minor League Baseball team of the Pacific Coast League (PCL) and the Triple-A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. They are located in Papillion, Nebraska, a suburb southwest of Omaha, and play their home games at Werner Park which opened in 2011. The team previously played at Johnny Rosenblatt Stadium, home to the College World Series, from 1969 to 2010.
The Kansas City Royals are an American professional baseball team based in Kansas City, Missouri. They compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member team of the American League (AL) Central division. The team was founded as an expansion franchise in 1969, and has participated in four World Series, winning in 1985 and 2015, and losing in 1980 and 2014.
The American League of Professional Baseball Clubs, or simply the American League (AL), is one of two leagues that make up Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States and Canada. It developed from the Western League, a minor league based in the Great Lakes states, which eventually aspired to major league status. It is sometimes called the Junior Circuit because it claimed Major League status for the 1901 season, 25 years after the formation of the National League.
A few minor league teams are directly owned by their major league parent club, such as the Springfield Cardinals, owned by the St. Louis Cardinals, and all of the Atlanta Braves' affiliates except the Florida Fire Frogs. Minor League teams that are owned directly by the major league club do not have PDCs with the parent club and are typically not part of the reaffiliation shuffles that occur after each even-numbered season.
The Springfield Cardinals are a Minor League Baseball team based in Springfield, Missouri. The team, which plays in the Texas League, is the Double-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals major-league club, and is owned by the Cardinals. The club plays at Hammons Field.
The Atlanta Braves are an American professional baseball team based in the Atlanta metropolitan area. They compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) East division. The team played its home games at Atlanta–Fulton County Stadium from 1966 to 1996, and at Turner Field from 1997 to 2016. Since 2017, their home stadium has been SunTrust Park, located 10 miles (16 km) northwest of downtown Atlanta in Cobb County, Georgia. The Braves play spring training games at CoolToday Park in North Port, Florida.
The Florida Fire Frogs are a minor league baseball team that plays as a member of the Florida State League in Kissimmee, Florida, part of the Greater Orlando metropolitan area. Founded in 2017, the team is the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. They play their home games at Osceola County Stadium. The team's name was announced on October 26, 2016, at the conclusion of a name the team contest. The finalists from which the team's name was selected were: Florida Dragonflies, Florida Fire Frogs, Florida Mud Kickers, Florida Rodeo Clowns, Florida Sorcerers, and Florida Toucans.
Today, there are 14 MLB-affiliated minor leagues with a total of 160 revenue-generating teams, located in large, medium, and small cities and suburbs across the United States and Canada, and there are three MLB-affiliated rookie leagues with a total of 80 teams, located in Arizona, Florida, and the Dominican Republic, though these teams do not generate revenue.
Arizona is a state in the southwestern region of the United States. It is also part of the Western and the Mountain states. It is the 6th largest and the 14th most populous of the 50 states. Its capital and largest city is Phoenix. Arizona shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and New Mexico; its other neighboring states are Nevada and California to the west and the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California to the south and southwest.
The Dominican Republic is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean region. It occupies the eastern five-eighths of the island, which it shares with the nation of Haiti, making Hispaniola one of only two Caribbean islands, along with Saint Martin, that are shared by two sovereign states. The Dominican Republic is the second-largest Caribbean nation by area at 48,671 square kilometers (18,792 sq mi), and third by population with approximately 10,299,000 people, of whom approximately three million live in the metropolitan area of Santo Domingo, the capital city.
The earliest professional baseball league, the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players of 1871 to 1875, comprised all fully professional teams. This system proved unworkable, however, as there was no way to ensure competitive balance, and financially unsound clubs often failed in midseason. This problem was solved in 1876 with the formation of the National League (NL), with a limited membership which excluded less competitive and financially weaker teams. Professional clubs outside the NL responded by forming regional associations of their own. There was a series of ad hoc groupings, such as the New England Association of 1877 and the Eastern Championship Association of 1881. These were loose groups of independent clubs which agreed to play a series of games over the course of one season for a championship pennant.
The National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (NAPBBP), or known simply as the National Association (NA), was founded in 1871 and continued through the 1875 season. It succeeded and incorporated several professional clubs from the previous National Association of Base Ball Players (NABBP) of 1857-1870, sometimes called "the amateur association"; in turn several of its clubs created the succeeding National League of Professional Baseball Clubs. Later shortened simply to be called the National League, it was founded 1876, the earliest one half of modern Major League Baseball (MLB) in America, with the later competing American League of Professional Base Ball Clubs in 1901, known too as the American League.
The National League of Professional Baseball Clubs, known simply as the National League (NL), is the older of two leagues constituting Major League Baseball (MLB) in the United States and Canada, and the world's oldest current professional team sports league. Founded on February 2, 1876, to replace the National Association of Professional Base Ball Players (NAPBBP) of 1871–1875, the NL is sometimes called the Senior Circuit, in contrast to MLB's other league, the American League, which was founded 25 years later and is called the "Junior Circuit".
Ad hoc is a Latin phrase meaning literally "to this." In English, it generally signifies a solution designed for a specific problem or task, non-generalizable, and not intended to be able to be adapted to other purposes.
The first true minor league is traditionally considered to be the Northwestern League of 1883 to 1884. Unlike the earlier minor associations, it was conceived as a permanent organization. It also, along with the NL and the American Association (AA), was a party to the National Agreement of 1883. Included in this was the agreement to respect the reserve lists of clubs in each league. Teams in the NL and the AA could only reserve players who had been paid at least $1000. Northwest League teams could reserve players paid merely $750, implicitly establishing the division into major and minor leagues. Over the next two decades, more minor leagues signed various versions of the National Agreement. Eventually, the minor leagues joined together to negotiate jointly.
In the late 1890s, the Western League run by Ban Johnson decided to challenge the NL's position. In 1900, he changed the name of the league to the American League (AL) and vowed to make deals to sign contracts with players who were dissatisfied with the pay and terms of their deals with the NL. This led to a nasty turf war that heated up in 1901 enough to concern Patrick T. Powers, president of the Eastern League, and many other minor league owners about the conflict potentially affecting their organizations. Representatives of the different minor leagues met at the Leland Hotel in Chicago on September 5, 1901. In response to the NL–AL battle, they agreed to form the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues, called the NAPBL, or NA for short. (The NA uses the trade name Minor League Baseball today.) The purpose of the NAPBL at the time was to maintain the independence of the leagues involved. Several did not sign the agreement and continued to work independently. Powers was made the first president of the NAPBL, whose offices were established in Auburn, New York.
In 1903, the conflict between the AL and NL ended in the National Agreement of 1903.The NAPBL became involved in the later stages of the negotiations to develop rules for the acquisition of players from their leagues by the NL and the AL. The 1903 agreement ensured that teams would be compensated for the players that they had taken the time and effort to scout and develop, and no NA team was required to sell their players, although most did because the cash was an important source of revenue for most teams. The NA leagues were still fiercely independent, and the term "minor" was seldom used in reference to them, save by the major-market sports writers. Sports news, like most news generally, often did not travel far in the days before radio and television, so, while the leagues often bristled at the major market writers descriptions, they viewed themselves as independent sports businesses. Many baseball writers of that time regarded the greatest players of the minor leagues, such as Buzz Arlett, Jigger Statz, Ike Boone, Buddy Ryan, Earl Rapp and Frank Shellenback, as comparable to major league players. Leagues in the NA would not be truly called minor until Branch Rickey developed the first modern farm system in the 1930s. The Commissioner of Baseball, Kenesaw Mountain Landis fought Rickey's scheme, but, ultimately, the Great Depression drove teams to establish systems like Rickey's to ensure a steady supply of players, as many NA and independent teams could not afford to keep their doors open without the patronage of Major League Baseball. The leagues of the NA became subordinate to the major leagues, creating the first minor leagues in the current sense of the term. Other than the Pacific Coast League (PCL), which under its president Pants Rowland tried to become a third major league in the Western states, the other leagues maintained autonomy in name only, being totally economically dependent upon the AL and NL.
In 1922, the United States Supreme Court decision Federal Baseball Club v. National League (259 U.S. 200), which grants baseball a special immunity from antitrust laws, had a major effect on the minor leagues. The special immunity meant that the AL and NL could dictate terms under which every independent league did business. By 1925, major league baseball established a flat-fee purchase amount of $5,000 for the contract of any player from an NA member league team. This power was leveled primarily at the Baltimore Orioles, then a Triple-A team that had dominated the minors with stars.
With rare exception, minor league teams are not owned by major league clubs, but have affiliation contracts with them. Major League Rule 56 governs the standard terms of a Player Development Contract (PDC), which is the standard agreement of association between a minor league team and its major league affiliate. Generally, the parent major league club pays the salaries and benefits of uniformed personnel (players and coaches) and provides bats and balls, while the minor league club pays for in-season travel and other operational expenses.In even-numbered years, any major or minor league club with an expiring PDC may notify Major League Baseball or Minor League Baseball, respectively, of its desire to explore a re-affiliation with a different PDC partner. The Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball offices then send a list of the corresponding major and minor league clubs seeking new affiliations, and there is a limited period of time in September within which clubs may agree upon new PDCs. If any are left over after this process, the Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball offices are empowered to assign major and minor league clubs to each other.
At the start of the 2018 season, the longest continuous affiliations were two 53-year links: between the Philadelphia Phillies and their Double-A Eastern League affiliate, the Reading Fightin Phils; and the one between the Detroit Tigers and their Class A-Advanced Florida State League affiliate, the Lakeland Flying Tigers. Both Reading and Lakeland are now owned outright by their parent major league clubs.
There are several baseball clubs that operate teams at multiple levels of the minor leagues; they are not required to affiliate all of their clubs to the same major league franchise. Bob Rich, Jr., for example, owns the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons and the short-season Class A West Virginia Black Bears, the latter of which had been the Jamestown Jammers before the 2015 season. Even though the teams were located slightly more than 70 miles (110 km) apart before the Jammers' relocation, Rich has never affiliated the two teams with the same parent club.
The current minor league classification system divides leagues into one of six classes, those being Triple-A (AAA), Double-A (AA), Class A-Advanced (High A or A+), Class A (Low A), Class A Short Season, and Rookie. Furthermore, Rookie is further informally subdivided into Rookie Advanced, complex-based Rookie and international summer baseball. Under the rules governing the affiliated minor leagues (specifically Major League Baseball Rule 51), Class A-Advanced, Class A, and Class A Short Season are separate classifications despite the similarity in name.
Most leagues at Double-A and below play a split season, where the standings are reset at the halfway mark, and the winners of both halves qualify for post-season play. This allows teams to remain in contention longer into the season, as rosters feature heavy turnover during the course of the season.
This classification currently includes two affiliated leagues: the International League and the Pacific Coast League, which feature teams from Eastern and Western United States respectively.For most of the 20th century, it also contained the American Association, based in the Midwest, but that league disbanded, its clubs absorbed by the other two leagues, as part of a reorganization of the Triple-A level in 1997. The Mexican League is also classified as a Triple-A league, though its clubs do not have PDCs with major league clubs.
Both young players and veterans play for Triple-A teams. Teams usually hold many of the remaining 15 players of the 40-man major league roster whom the major league club has chosen not to play at the major league level. Players at Triple-A on the 40-man roster can be invited to come up to the major league club once the major league roster expands on September 1, although teams usually wait until their affiliates' playoff runs are over, should they qualify. For teams in contention for a pennant, it gives them fresh players. For those not in contention, it gives them an opportunity to evaluate their second-tier players against major league competition.Some Triple-A players are "career minor leaguers", former prospects whose skill growth has halted and are not likely to advance to MLB, unless as a temporary replacement.
Unlike at other levels of competition, the two affiliated Triple-A leagues meet each summer in the Triple-A All-Star Game, first played in 1988. Each league fields a team composed of the top players in their respective leagues as voted on by fans, the media, and each club's field manager and general manager.In another instance of interleague play, the annual Triple-A Baseball National Championship Game has been held since 2006 to serve as a single championship game between the champions of the International League and Pacific Coast League to determine an overall champion of Triple-A baseball. There have previously been multi-game championship series, sometimes styled as the Junior World Series, for this purpose.
There are currently three leagues in this classification: Eastern League, Southern League, and the Texas League.Some players jump to the majors from this level, as many of the top prospects are put here to play against each other rather than against minor and major league veterans in Triple-A. A small handful of players might be placed here to start, usually veterans from foreign leagues with more experience in professional baseball. The expectation is usually that these players will be in the majors by the end of the season, as their salaries tend to be higher than those of most prospects.
One level below Double-A, the California League, Carolina League, and the Florida State League play at the Class A-Advanced level, also known as "Class A+" or "High A".This is often a second or third promotion for a minor league player, although a few high first-round draftees, particularly those with college experience, begin at this level. These leagues play a complete season like Triple-A and Double-A, from April through early September. Many of the teams in the Florida State League are owned by major league parent clubs and use their spring training complexes. The class consists of 30 teams from around the United States, from San Jose to Tampa.
Slightly below Class A-Advanced are the full-season Class A leagues, the South Atlantic League and Midwest League.These leagues are a mix of players moving up from the Short Season and Rookie leagues, as well as the occasional experienced first-year player. These leagues play a full 140-game schedule, which runs from the first week of April through the first week of September.
Short-season leagues, as the name implies, play a shortened season of 76 games, starting in mid-June and ending in early September, with only a few off-days during the season. The late start of the season is designed to allow college players to complete their college seasons in the spring, then be drafted, signed, and immediately placed in a competitive league (the MLB First Year Player Draft begins on the first Monday in June).
Players in short season leagues are a mixture of newly signed draftees who are considered more advanced than other draftees, and second-year pros who were not ready or for whom there was not space at a higher level to move up. Second-year pros are assigned to "extended spring training" in Florida or Arizona during April and May before reporting to their short season leagues.
Of the 30 major league clubs, 14 field teams in Class A Short Season only, 8 clubs field their top short-season teams in the Rookie Advanced leagues, and 8 clubs have affiliates at both levels.
A proposal put forth during the 2019–20 season under Commissioner Rob Manfred would eliminate both levels and close all of the teams and leagues therein, in favor of redesignating Class A as "Low-A" and moving the shortened Major League Baseball Draft to August. Some of the teams that are in these leagues will not be eliminated and will instead be promoted to fill the positions of teams in higher leagues that will also be eliminated as part of the process.
Class A Short Season, despite the name, is a separate classification from Class A. Class A Short Season teams are slightly more limited than Class A teams with respect to player age and years of experience in professional baseball. There are two Class A Short Season leagues, the New York–Penn League and Northwest League.
The Appalachian League and Pioneer League are known as "Rookie Advanced" leagues. The players in these leagues are thought to be further along in their development than players in the pure Rookie leagues, and hence games are more competitive. Teams in these leagues sell concessions and charge admission.
MiLB leagues with the Rookie classification play a shortened season, similar to, but slightly shorter than, the short season leagues, starting in mid-June and ending in late August or early September. This lowest level of minor league baseball consists of two domestic leagues, the Arizona League and Gulf Coast League, and one foreign-based league, the Dominican Summer League.
The domestic Rookie leagues play a 60-game schedule, and are usually called "complex leagues" because games are played at their parent clubs' spring training complexes. Rosters comprise newly drafted players who are not ready for a higher level of play. These leagues are intended almost exclusively to allow players to hone their skills; no admission is charged and no concessions are sold.
Players on the injured list (IL) can be sent to the minor leagues to aid in rehabilitation following an injury, typically for one or two weeks. Players are often sent to minor league clubs based on geography and facilities, not necessarily by class for these reassignments.
Curt Schilling's recovery from an ankle injury in 2005 included a rehabilitation stint in Pawtucket, Rhode Island at the Triple-A Pawtucket Red Sox, very close to the home club in Boston. The Cincinnati Reds often send players to their Class A affiliate, the Dayton Dragons, for rehab assignments. Despite Dayton's status as Class A, Dayton is a short, 50-mile drive away from the Reds' Great American Ball Park.
Former Minnesota Twins superstar Joe Mauer, who missed most of the first two months of the 2011 season due to a difficult recovery from arthroscopic knee surgery after the 2010 season, reported to Minnesota's Class A-Advanced Florida State League team, the Fort Myers Miracle, which is based in their spring training facility in Fort Myers. In addition, the Miracle manager at the time was Mauer's older brother Jake. The Twins later sent Joe Mauer and pitcher Ricky Nolasco to rehab with the club's Low-A affiliate located across the Minnesota-Iowa border in Cedar Rapids.
Mike Trout's first rehab assignment of his career, in July 2017, was with the Inland Empire 66ers of San Bernardino, California, the Class A-Advanced affiliate of the Los Angeles Angels. This allowed Trout to stay closer to the Angels compared to the team's Triple-A affiliate, the Salt Lake Bees.
The current minor league structure is largely based on a significant reorganization that occurred before the 1963 season, which was caused by the club and league contraction of the 1950s and early 1960s. In 1949, the peak of the post-World War II minor league baseball boom, 438 teams in 59 leagues were members of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues. By the end of 1963, only 15 leagues survived in the United States and Canada.
Before 1946, the minors' highest level was labeled Double-A. In 1946, the Triple-A classification was created and the three Double-A circuits (the Pacific Coast and International leagues, and the American Association) were automatically reclassified Triple-A. The Class A1 level, two rungs below the Majors and comprising the Texas League and the Southern Association, was then renamed Double-A.
Prior to 1963, the Class A level was a higher classification than it is today. In 1946, Class A consisted of the Eastern League and the original South Atlantic League (or "Sally League"), and it would soon include the Western League (1947–1958), Central League (1948–1951) and Western International League (1952–1954). The Western International League became the Class B Northwest League in 1955, and the Western and Central loops folded. Postwar Class A cities included communities such as Vancouver, Omaha, Colorado Springs, Charlotte, Scranton and Allentown, which would establish themselves as Triple-A venues, and Denver, which would get its own major league team, the Colorado Rockies, in 1993.
The lower levels of the minors were ranked Classes B through D in descending order. With the exception of the 1952–1957 Open classification experiment for the Pacific Coast League, this structure would remain intact through 1962.
Defunct classifications, in use prior to 1963, were as follows:
The Pacific Coast League, which had been rated Triple-A since 1946, was the only minor league to obtain Open classification, which existed from 1952 to 1957.At this time, the major leagues only extended as far west as Missouri and as far south as Washington, D.C. This classification severely restricted the rights of the major leagues to draft players out of the PCL, and at the time it seemed like the PCL would eventually become a third major league. The PCL would revert to Triple-A in 1958 due to increasing television coverage of major league games and in light of the Dodgers and Giants moving to Los Angeles and San Francisco, respectively.
The forerunner to the modern Double-A classification, the A1 level existed from 1936 through 1945.In 1936, two Class A circuits, the Texas League and the Southern Association, were upgraded to Class A1 to signify their continued status as one step below the highest classification, then Double-A, yet a notch above their former Class A peers, the New York–Pennsylvania League and Western League. Ten years later, after World War II, with the minor leagues poised for unprecedented growth, classification terminology was changed. Beginning in 1946, the three Double-A leagues of 1912–1945, the American Association and International and Pacific Coast leagues, joined a new classification, Triple-A, and the Class A1 level became known as Double-A.
From 1902 through 1962, there were Class B, C, and D leagues.The Class D of that period would be equivalent to the Rookie level today. The other class designations disappeared because leagues of that level could not sustain operation during a large downturn in the financial fortunes of minor league baseball in the 1950s and 1960s caused by the rise of television broadcasts of major league sports across broad regions of the country. The impact of the Korean War in 1950 caused a player shortage in most cities in Class D and Class C.
Class E was established 1937, for players with no professional experience in Class D or higher.The only Class E league that existed was the four-team Twin Ports League, which operated for less than a full season in 1943.
After the 1962 season, the Triple-A American Association—which had lost key markets such as Milwaukee, Kansas City, Minneapolis, St. Paul and Houston to the Major Leagues since 1953—disbanded. The surviving International and Pacific Coast leagues absorbed the four remaining American Association franchises. Meanwhile, at the Double-A level and below there were even more significant changes:
As part of the 1963 reorganization, Major League clubs increased their commitments to affiliate with minor league teams through Player Development Contracts, outright ownerships, or shared affiliations and co-op arrangements.
In October 2019, Baseball America reported that Major League Baseball had proposed dramatic changes to MiLB that would take effect after the current Professional Baseball Agreement that governs the MLB–MiLB relationship expires at the end of the 2020 season. MLB's proposal featured the following:
In mid-November, more than 100 members of the United States Congress signed a letter sent to Commissioner of Baseball Rob Manfred opposing the proposal, noting that it "is not in the best interest of the overall game of baseball" and that it would "devastate our communities, their bond purchasers and other stakeholders affected by the potential loss of these clubs."A response from MLB highlighted that the proposal aims to improve player travel and working conditions.
On November 21, Minor League Baseball released a statement, asserting that it is "unnecessary and unacceptable to wipe out one-quarter of minor league teams" and characterized the proposal as a way "to improve the profitability of MLB".
Major league clubs may only use players who are on the team's major league active roster in games; players on the active roster are selected from a 40-man major league reserve list (often called the 40-man roster). Effective with the 2020 Major League Baseball season, the active roster size for each team is 26 players for regular games and 27 players for scheduled doubleheaders, with the roster size expanding to 28 players from September 1 through the end of the regular season.Prior to the 2020 season, the active roster size from the start of the regular season until September 1 was 25 players, with a 26th player allowed for a scheduled doubleheader. From September 1 to the end of the regular season, teams were allowed to expand their active rosters up to 40 players, the size of the major league reserve list.
Players on the 40-man reserve list who are not on the team's active roster are generally either on the injured list or playing at some level of the minor leagues (usually at the Triple-A or Double-A level). Players on the 40-man reserve list are eligible for membership in the Major League Baseball Players Association. These minor league players work at the lower end of major league pay scales and are covered by all rules and player agreements of the players association. Minor league players not on the 40-man reserve list are under contract to their respective parent Major League Baseball clubs but have no union. They generally work for far less pay as they develop their skills and work their way up the ladder toward the major leagues.Many players have signing bonuses and other additional compensation that can run into the millions of dollars, although that is generally reserved for early round draft picks.
A major league team's director of player Development determines where a given player will be placed in the farm system, in coordination with the coaches and managers who evaluate their talent. At the end of spring training, players both from the spring major camp and minor league winter camp are placed by the major league club on the roster of a minor league team. The director of player development and the general manager usually determine the initial assignments for new draftees, who typically begin playing professionally in June after they have been signed to contracts. The farm system is ever-changing, and evaluation of players is a constantly ongoing process. The director of player development and his managers meet or teleconference regularly to discuss how players are performing at each level. Personal development, injuries, and high levels of achievement by players in the classes below all steer a player's movement up and down in the class system.
Players will play for the team to which they are assigned for the duration of that season unless they are "called up" (promoted to a higher level), "sent down" (demoted to a lower-class team in the major league club's farm system), or "released" from the farm system entirely. A release from minor-league level used to spell the end of a minor league player's career. In more modern times, released players often sign with independent baseball clubs, which are scouted heavily by major league organizations. Many players get a second or third look from the major league scouts if they turn their career around in the independent leagues.
Minor league salaries vary based on class level and length of season; however, the majority of players make less than $10,000 per season.Even though minor league players are paid considerably less than their major league counterparts, they are professional athletes. Minor league players generally consider it an insult when someone asks when they're going to "get to the pros", as all levels of minor league baseball are professional. More accurately, a player's aim is to reach "The Show" or the "big leagues."
Umpires at the minor league level are overseen by Minor League Baseball Umpire Development, which is responsible for the training, evaluation, and recommendation for promotion and retention or release of the umpires.
The umpires are evaluated eight times a season by the staff of the MiLB Umpire Development, and receive a ranking at mid-season and the end of each year. Based on performance during the year, an umpire may advance in classification when a position opens in-season or during the off-season. Umpire Development holds an annual evaluation course every year in March to evaluate rookie umpires. Participants are normally the best students from the two professional umpire schools (one owned and operated by the same entity). The top students who pass the evaluation course are recommended for the first openings in the Rookie and short season leagues.
Any student who wants to work as an umpire must attend a professional umpire training school. The MiLB recognizes two schools for training prospective professional umpires, the Harry Wendelstedt Umpire School and Minor League Baseball Umpire Training Academy, both located in Florida. The Minor League Baseball Umpire Training Academy is owned and operated by Minor League Baseball Umpire Development (MiLBUD), while Wendelstedt is independently owned by MLB Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt. The classes for each school are held for five weeks in January and February. The instructors at these schools are former or present major or minor league umpires. Simply attending one of these schools, however, does not guarantee that the candidate will also be recommended either to the evaluation course or to the openings in the Rookie or short season leagues. Generally, less than 20% of umpire school students move on to the Rookie Evaluation Course.
Before the umpire development program was created, the Minor League presidents would recruit umpires directly from the schools. Umpires were then "sold" from league to league by word of mouth through the various league presidents.
The umpire development program first started in 1964, when it was decided that a method of recruitment, training and development for umpires of both major and minor leagues was needed. The Umpire Development Program was founded at Baseball's 1964 Winter Meetings in Houston, and it began operating the next year. The program aimed to recruit more athletic, energetic and dedicated individuals who would also have high morals and integrity standards. In 1968, it was decided that the program needed its own umpire training course which would be held each year. The first "Umpire Specialization Course" was held in St. Petersburg, Florida the following year.
Presently, the candidates for a job in professional umpiring must meet several requirements in order to be considered. An applicant must have a high school diploma or a G.E.D., must be athletic, and also must have 20/20 vision, though they are permitted to wear glasses or contact lenses.They must also have good communication skills, good reflexes and coordination, and must have trained at one of the two professional umpire schools.
On June 21, 2016, the Gulf Coast League hired Jen Pawol, the first female umpire in Minor League Baseball since 2007.
Minor League Baseball has a national television contract with CBS Sports Network, which airs 10–15 games on Thursday nights. The arrangement began in 2014 and will continue through the 2015 season.For the 2015 season, select MiLB games will be featured on the American Sports Network. Also, many individual teams have contracts with local over-the-air channels. Games are also occasionally simulcast on MLB Network.
MiLB.TV is the minor leagues' official online video streaming service, in the vein of Major League Baseball's MLB.tv. The service currently offers every Triple-A game and select games from the other classifications.
Nearly every minor-league team has its own local radio contract, though unlike their major-league counterparts, these generally consist of only one or two individual stations. Minor League Baseball currently has an arrangement with TuneIn to provide free audio streams of virtually every game.
Independent leagues are those professional leagues in the United States and Canada not under the purview of organized Minor League Baseball and the Commissioner of Baseball. Independent baseball existed in the early 20th century and has become prominent again since 1993.
Leagues operated mostly autonomously before 1902, when the majority joined the NAPBL. From then until 1915, a total of eight new and existing leagues remained independent. Most joined the National Association after one season of independence. Notable exceptions were the California League, which was independent in 1902 and from 1907 to 1909; the United States Baseball League, which folded during its independent 1912 season; and the Colonial League, a National Association Member that went independent in 1915 and then folded.Another independent league, the Federal League, played at a level considered major league from 1914 to 1915.
Few independent leagues existed between 1915 and 1993. Major exceptions included the Carolina League and the Quebec-based Provincial League. The Carolina League, based in the North Carolina Piedmont region, gained a reputation as a notorious "outlaw league" during its existence from 1936 to 1938.The Provincial League fielded six teams across Quebec and was independent from 1948 to 1949. Similarly to early 20th-century independent leagues, it joined the National Association in 1950, playing for six more years.
Independent leagues saw new growth after 1992, after the new Professional Baseball Agreement in organized baseball instituted more stringent revenue and stadium requirements on members.Over the next eight years, at least 16 independent leagues formed, of which six existed in 2002.
|Triple-A||Double-A||Class A-Advanced||Class A||Class A Short Season||Rookie Advanced|
|IL||International League||EL||Eastern League||CAL||California League||MWL||Midwest League||NYPL||New York-Penn League||APL||Appalachian League|
|PCL||Pacific Coast League||SL||Southern League||CAR||Carolina League||SAL||South Atlantic League||NWL||Northwest League||PIO||Pioneer League|
|TL||Texas League||FSL||Florida State League|
|Division||MLB Team||Triple-A||Double-A||Class A-Advanced||Class A||Class A Short Season||Rookie Advanced|
|East||Baltimore Orioles||Norfolk Tides IL||Bowie Baysox EL||Frederick Keys CAR||Delmarva Shorebirds SAL||Aberdeen IronBirds NYPL|
|Boston Red Sox||Pawtucket Red Sox IL||Portland Sea Dogs EL||Salem Red Sox CAR||Greenville Drive SAL||Lowell Spinners NYPL|
|New York Yankees||Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders IL||Trenton Thunder EL||Tampa Tarpons FSL||Charleston RiverDogs SAL||Staten Island Yankees NYPL||Pulaski Yankees APL|
|Tampa Bay Rays||Durham Bulls IL||Montgomery Biscuits SL||Charlotte Stone Crabs FSL||Bowling Green Hot Rods MWL||Hudson Valley Renegades NYPL||Princeton Rays APL|
|Toronto Blue Jays||Buffalo Bisons IL||New Hampshire Fisher Cats EL||Dunedin Blue Jays FSL||Lansing Lugnuts MWL||Vancouver Canadians NWL||Bluefield Blue Jays APL|
|Central||Chicago White Sox||Charlotte Knights IL||Birmingham Barons SL||Winston-Salem Dash CAR||Kannapolis Cannon Ballers SAL|
|Great Falls Voyagers PIO|
|Cleveland Indians||Columbus Clippers IL||Akron RubberDucks EL||Lynchburg Hillcats CAR||Lake County Captains MWL||Mahoning Valley Scrappers NYPL|
|Detroit Tigers||Toledo Mud Hens IL||Erie SeaWolves EL||Lakeland Flying Tigers FSL||West Michigan Whitecaps MWL||Connecticut Tigers NYPL|
|Kansas City Royals||Omaha Storm Chasers PCL||Northwest Arkansas Naturals TL||Wilmington Blue Rocks CAR||Lexington Legends SAL|
|Burlington Royals APL||Idaho Falls Chukars PIO|
|Minnesota Twins||Rochester Red Wings IL||Pensacola Blue Wahoos SL||Fort Myers Miracle FSL||Cedar Rapids Kernels MWL|
|Elizabethton Twins APL|
|West||Houston Astros||Round Rock Express PCL||Corpus Christi Hooks TL||Fayetteville Woodpeckers CAR||Quad Cities River Bandits MWL||Tri-City ValleyCats NYPL|
|Los Angeles Angels||Salt Lake Bees PCL||Rocket City Trash Pandas SL||Inland Empire 66ers CAL||Burlington Bees MWL|
|Orem Owlz PIO|
|Oakland Athletics||Las Vegas Aviators PCL||Midland RockHounds TL||Stockton Ports CAL||Beloit Snappers MWL||Vermont Lake Monsters NYPL|
|Seattle Mariners||Tacoma Rainers PCL||Arkansas Travelers TL||Modesto Nuts CAL||West Virginia Power SAL||Everett AquaSox NWL|
|Texas Rangers||Nashville Sounds PCL||Frisco RoughRiders TL||Down East Wood Ducks CAR||Hickory Crawdads SAL||Spokane Indians NWL|
|East||Atlanta Braves||Gwinnett Stripers IL||Mississippi Braves SL||Florida Fire Frogs FSL||Rome Braves SAL|
|Danville Braves APL|
|Miami Marlins||Wichita Wind Surge PCL||Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp SL||Jupiter Hammerheads FSL||Clinton LumberKings MWL||Batavia Muckdogs NYPL|
|New York Mets||Syracuse Mets IL||Binghamton Rumble Ponies EL||St. Lucie Mets FSL||Columbia Fireflies SAL||Brooklyn Cyclones NYPL||Kingsport Mets APL|
|Philadelphia Phillies||Lehigh Valley IronPigs IL||Reading Fightin' Phils EL||Clearwater Threshers FSL||Lakewood BlueClaws SAL||Williamsport Crosscutters NYPL|
|Washington Nationals||Fresno Grizzlies PCL||Harrisburg Senators EL||Fredericksburg Nationals CAR||Hagerstown Suns SAL||Auburn Doubledays NYPL|
|Central||Chicago Cubs||Iowa Cubs PCL||Tennessee Smokies SL||Myrtle Beach Pelicans CAR||South Bend Cubs MWL||Eugene Emeralds NWL|
|Cincinnati Reds||Louisville Bats IL||Chattanooga Lookouts SL||Daytona Tortugas FSL||Dayton Dragons MWL|
|Billings Mustangs PIO||Greeneville Reds APL|
|Milwaukee Brewers||San Antonio Missions PCL||Biloxi Shuckers SL||Carolina Mudcats CAR||Wisconsin Timber Rattlers MWL|
|Rocky Mountain Vibes PIO|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||Indianapolis Indians IL||Altoona Curve EL||Bradenton Marauders FSL||Greensboro Grasshoppers SAL||West Virginia Black Bears NYPL||Bristol Pirates APL|
|St. Louis Cardinals||Memphis Redbirds PCL||Springfield Cardinals TL||Palm Beach Cardinals FSL||Peoria Chiefs MWL||State College Spikes NYPL||Johnson City Cardinals APL|
|West||Arizona Diamondbacks||Reno Aces PCL||Jackson Generals SL||Visalia Rawhide CAL||Kane County Cougars MWL||Hillsboro Hops NWL||Missoula PaddleHeads PIO|
|Colorado Rockies||Albuquerque Isotopes PCL||Hartford Yard Goats EL||Lancaster JetHawks CAL||Asheville Tourists SAL||Boise Hawks NWL||Grand Junction Rockies PIO|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||Oklahoma City Dodgers PCL||Tulsa Drillers TL||Rancho Cucamonga Quakes CAL||Great Lakes Loons MWL|
|Ogden Raptors PIO|
|San Diego Padres||El Paso Chihuahuas PCL||Amarillo Sod Poodles TL||Lake Elsinore Storm CAL||Fort Wayne TinCaps MWL||Tri-City Dust Devils NWL|
|San Francisco Giants||Sacramento River Cats PCL||Richmond Flying Squirrels EL||San Jose Giants CAL||Augusta GreenJackets SAL||Salem-Keizer Volcanoes NWL|
The Minor League Baseball Yearly (MiLBY) Awards (formerly "This Year in Minor League Baseball Awards") are given in nine categories. In five categories (Best Starter, Best Hitter, Best Reliever, Best Game, and Best Team), winners are selected in each of the five levels of minor-league baseball (Triple-A, Double-A, Class A-Advanced, Class A, and Class A Short Season). In three categories (Play of the Year, Moment of the Year, and Homer of the Year), one overall winner is chosen for all of minor-league baseball. In the remaining category (Promo of the Year), there are overall winners in each of five subcategories: Best Promotion (of all types), Best Theme Night, Best Giveaway, Best Celebrity Appearance, and Best Miscellaneous Promotion.
During its centennial celebration in 2001, Minor League Baseball compiled a list of the 100 best minor-league baseball teams of the century.
Triple-A or Class AAA is the highest level of play in Minor League Baseball in the United States and Mexico. Before 2008, Triple-A leagues also fielded teams in Canada. A total of 30 teams play in the Triple-A International League (IL) and Pacific Coast League (PCL), with 14 teams in the IL and 16 in the PCL. The MLB-independent Mexican League fields 16 teams. Triple-A teams are typically located in large metropolitan areas that do not have Major League Baseball teams, such as San Antonio; Austin; Columbus; and Indianapolis.
Baseball in the United States is one of the most popular sports for both participants and spectators. The highest level of baseball in the U.S. is Major League Baseball. The World Series of Major League Baseball is the culmination of the sport's postseason each October. It is played between the winner of each of the two leagues, the American League and the National League, and the winner is determined through a best-of-seven playoff.
[Presented] annually to the franchise that best exemplifies the complete Minor League Baseball organization. Categories under consideration include long-term financial stability, contributions to the industry and the community, financial success and overall promotion of the industry.
The award recognize[s] the team's special tie with its community through unique promotions, a commitment to area events and support for charitable endeavors.
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