How Minor League Baseball is Organized | Baseball Explained

whether or not you follow Major League

Baseball you've probably come across a

minor league team at some point in your

life but not a lot of people understand

the structure of minor league baseball

or how it is related to the majors and

that's what we're going to go over today

my name is Bobby and this is baseball

explained so minor league baseball

sometimes written mi lb can we thought

of us a hierarchy or ladder of baseball

leagues beneath Major League Baseball

minor league teams are almost always

independently owned and operated but

have player development contracts in

place with major league teams this is

why you may hear the minor leagues

referred to as a farm system young

players grow and develop in the minors

until they are ready to contribute at

the major league level before we move

into how the minor leagues are organized

I want to clarify a few things

minor league players are professional

players they all get paid but they don't

get paid much at least starting out all

minor leaguers are under contract of a

major league team they were all drafted

or signed to play baseball by a major

league team and that is who pays them

alright moving on so at the top of our

organized baseball hierarchy is Major

League Baseball this is where all minor

leaguers hope to end up but few make it

to the top just beneath MLB is triple-a

the highest minor league level the

triple-a level consists of the 14 team

international League and 16 team Pacific

Coast League giving us a total of 30

teams each of these teams is directly

affiliated with a major league team

which is a common practice major league

teams will typically have one affiliate

team at each level of the minors the

players at triple-a consist of prospects

who are on the cusp of reaching the

majors as well as Major League veterans

who may not have the talent to be impact

players at the major league level you

may hear these players refer to as 4a

players but just know that 4a isn't the

name of a minor league level there's

also a third triple-a league known as

the Mexican baseball league these teams

aren't affiliated with Major League

Baseball but are still classified as a

minor league so continuing with our

hierarchy we have double-a the double-a

level consists of the 12 team Eastern

League the 10 team southern League and

18 Texas League so again 30 total teams

one per MLB franchise the players here

are some of the best prospects and the

miners and you sometimes see players get

called up straight to the majors from

double-a rather than play at triple-a

against veteran players moving on now

and we have class a-advanced also known

as high a this level again has 30 total

teams consisting of the 18 California

League 10 team Carolina League and 12

team Florida State League there's not

much to say about this level except it's

a bit of a junction for many players

most players at this level have been in

the minors for a couple seasons but are

still only halfway to the majors beneath

class a-advanced is the level known as

Class A or low a this level has the

South Atlantic League and Midwest League

consisting of 14 and 16 teams

respectively now all four levels of the

minors I've mentioned so far play a full

season meaning they play games from

April to the beginning of September and

each level has an affiliate team for

each MLB franchise so now we got to

bring up the short season leagues the

MLB Draft takes place in June short

season leagues play from June to early


so that recently drafted players can

start playing immediately now if you are

confused as to why there are two minor

league levels called Class A then get

ready for a third the highest level of

short season ball is called Class A

short season so why are there three

levels called Class A the short answer

is that over time the various leagues at

the Class A level develop different

schedule lengths and gain different

reputations on level of play but the

history of the minor leagues is a video

for another time so at Class a short

season you'll find the 14 team New York

Penn League and 18 Northwest League

that's only 22 teams which means not

every MLB franchise has an affiliate at

this level as far as players go this is

where you may see college draftee start

their journey to the majors though some

will start at a higher level and some

lower continuing down the ladder

we have rookie advanced this is the

lowest level of teams making a profit in

the minors the Appalachian League has 10

teams and the Pioneer League has

teams again not all MLB teams have

affiliates here in fact between this

level and class a short season just

eight franchises have an affiliate at

both levels while 14 have just class a

short season teams and eight have just

rookie advanced teams and now for the

lowest level the rookie classification

we have 18 teams in the Arizona League

17 in the Gulf Coast League and 45 in

the Dominican summer league some

franchises have multiple affiliates at

this level and games are free to attend

teams in the Arizona and Gulf Coast

League also play at their major league

affiliates spring training complex and

don't have a cool team name they're just

called the GCL pirates for example as

for the players here it's primarily high

school draftees and young international

players that teams have signed and

that's about it with the organization of

minor league baseball it may seem

complicated but for the most part it's a

straightforward ladder of progression so

that'll do it for this video feel free

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thanks for watching