the minor road

in my short time as professional baseball player i’ve come to notice that many people are often unaware or misinformed of how the ‘minor leagues’ work. this is understandable since baseball is one of the few professional sports that even have a minor league system. so, my aim here is to clear up the confusion about the minor leagues and to give the curious spectator an overview of how it works.

what are the ‘minor leagues? and why does professional baseball have them?

to put it simply, the minor leagues are a big training and development system. it is made up of various teams and leagues that exist all around the country. its main purpose is to help improve players so that they can transition into the ‘major leagues’. in days past most people referred to the minor leagues as a ‘farm system’. just like you raise cattle and harvest crops, major league baseball raises and harvests young players. they work to develop players who hope that they will one day make it to the majors.

 a long road to the top

for most players the minor leagues could adequately be described as a journey. the reason is that the minor leagues are made up of different levels. each major league team has about six stages for its affiliated minor league teams. They can generally be classified as: rookie ball, short-season a, low a, high a, double a, and triple a. the goal of many minor leaguers is to advance to a new level each year. depending on where you are placed once you’re drafted, you’re looking at anywhere from 3-6 years of minor league baseball before ever touching the major league field, if you make it at all. however, there are always exceptions and many players may speed through the system in a very short amount of time.

 the biggest misconception

 ‘minor league players make a good amount of money.’ this couldn’t be further from the truth actually. in fact most minor league players make below the US poverty line. which is a far cry from the multi-million dollar contracts you hear about for major league players. now, the other side of this is the misconception of pay is the amount given as a signing bonus, you might hear about the insane millions a few guys will get and assume everyone gets a good chunk of change. but the range for those after the first ten rounds is a far cry from millions, the range can be from $1,000-$100,000.

for a more detailed look on the conditions of the minor leagues you can check out this article: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1957838-mlb-must-finally-answer-for-exploitation-in-the-minor-leagues .

in summary

in the end what a minor leaguer will endure is long bus rides, poor food and meager pay, all for the chance to play on the big stage. although this is in no way an exhaustive description, i hope it has helped you understand the basic framework of the minor leagues and maybe answered some of your questions.

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