FAQs – Baseball

What does the MLBPA do?

The MLBPA is the collective bargaining representative for all current Major League Baseball players. The Association also assists players with grievances and salary arbitration. The Association works closely with MLB in ensuring that the playing conditions for all games involving Major League players, whether the games are played in MLB stadiums or elsewhere, including internationally, meet proper safety guidelines. The Association also serves as the group licensing agent on behalf of the players.

Who is eligible for membership in the Major League Baseball Players Association?

All players, managers, coaches and trainers who hold a signed contract with a Major League club are eligible for membership in the Association. In collective bargaining, the Association represents around 1,200 players, or the number of players on each club’s 40-man roster, in addition to any players on the disabled list.

How are the Club Player Representatives chosen?

The Members on each Major League club elect, by secret ballot, a Club Player Representative and an Alternate Player Representative. Each Club Representative serves on the Executive Board and he is responsible for meeting regularly with the players on his Club and represents them in the resolution of problems at the Club level.

What is the minimum salary of a Major Leaguer?

The minimum salary for the 2015 season is $507,500.

What is the average salary of a Major Leaguer?

In 2015, the average salary was $3,386,212.

When does a player become eligible for salary arbitration?

A player with three or more years of service, but less than six years, may file for salary arbitration. In addition, a player can be classified as a “Super Two” and be eligible for arbitration with less than three years of service. A player with at least two but less than three years of Major League service shall be eligible for salary arbitration if he has accumulated at least 86 days of service during the immediately preceding season and he ranks in the top 22 percent (increased from 17 percent in previous agreements) in total service in the class of Players who have at least two but less than three years of Major League service, however accumulated, but with at least 86 days of service accumulated during the immediately preceding season.

When does a player become eligible for free agency?

A player with six or more years of Major League service who has not executed a contract for the next season is eligible to become a free agent.

When does the current CBA expire?

The current CBA expires on Dec. 1, 2016.

What is the active player roster limit?

In accordance with Major League Rule 2 (c), beginning on Opening Day of each season and ending at midnight, August 31, the Club roster limit is 25, provided that the minimum number of active players maintained by each Club be 24. However, as of 2012, Clubs will be allowed 26-man rosters for day-night doubleheaders. If the roster is reduced below 24 then the Club shall, within 48 hours (plus time necessary for a player to report), bring its roster back to the minimum of 24. Beginning on September 1 and ending with the close of the Championship Season, the roster limit is expanded to 40.

What is the Major League Baseball Players Trust?

The Players Trust is a 501 (c) 3 not-for-profit foundation created by the players in 1996 to assist charities around the world. The Trust is funded through player and public donations, a percentage of licensing revenue and through revenue produced from Association special events. In 2002, the Players Trust entered a long-term partnership with Volunteers of America called “Share with a Child” in which the two organizations share resources to benefit those in need and encourage community activism. Another major initiative of the Players Trust is Buses for Baseball, a program that transports at-risk youth to Major League baseball games where they get to meet the players, receive free tickets, game programs, T-shirts and concessions.

Why are the Minor Leagues divided into different levels, like Class A, Double-A and Triple-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.)

What does “short season” refer to?

“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.

Can a player be called up to the Majors from any league?

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.

How is it determined what level a player plays on?

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.

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?

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.

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?

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.

Do Major League teams own the Minor League teams affiliated with them, or are they independently owned?

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.

 What do Minor League players earn?

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.

Do Minor Leaguers who make the playoffs receive additional compensation of any sort?

Players get paid on a pro-rated scale for each day they are on a roster until their club’s season is over.

What roster restrictions do Minor League teams have in terms of player eligibility?

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 disabled 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, Arizona, Gulf Coast leagues — 35 active. No more than three players 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.

Is there a restriction on how long a player can remain at each level before he must move up or out?

No, there are no such restrictions, except for those listed in the answer to the question directly above.

How long are Minor League players required to remain with the team that drafted them before they are eligible to negotiate with another team?

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.”

How and when do Minor League players acquire free agent status?

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.

How does the Rule 5 Draft work?

The “Events” menu in the MiLB.com masthead provides a link to this detailed explanation of the Rule 5 Draft.

What is the best way to investigate and apply for employment opportunities with Major League or Minor League teams?

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.

How does one go about getting into the pros? Are there any fees? How old would that person have to be?

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 tryout camp rules stipulate that all players must be at least 16 years of age to participate in a tryout.

Can a player be drafted by more than one team? Can more than one team offer an undrafted player a free-agent contract?

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.

How do I try out for a Minor League Baseball team? When and where are tryouts held?

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 is in no way involved with this process.

Each year the Major League Scouting Bureau schedules and conducts tryouts at a number of locations, including Minor League stadiums in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. These may be attended by scouts from Major League organizations. Interested players should refer to the MLBSB website for tryout information.

Neither Minor League Baseball nor MiLB.com is not involved with scheduling or location decisions and does not know those details until MLB publishes the latest schedule. The Major League tryout camp schedule is typically updated in April and includes several dates over the following summer at a variety of locations. In the offseason, you could try contacting local teams to see if they are expecting to host tryouts in the coming season. It is not possible to simply sign up to play for a Minor League team.

For more information on MLSB Open Tryout Camps and/or updates on events, please check out the MLSB Facebook page.

Also, an individual Major League organization may schedule tryouts at the stadiums of its Minor League affiliates. Those typically happen after the entire schedule of Scouting Bureau tryouts has concluded. 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. 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.

Does the location of a tryout determine which team players who get signed will play for?

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.

If a player is released by his organization, how does he go about getting signed again?

For the most direct exposure to Major League scouts, a player can attend tryouts scheduled by Major League Scouting Bureau or by individual MLB organizations. Prospective players typically have agents (or coaches) 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. 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.

Do pitchers hit in the Minor Leagues?

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

What does OBP stand for? How can I find out what the abbreviations mean at the tops of columns on the Stats page?

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.

What are the ways a player can have a batting average of .000?

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.