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Minor vs Major: Baseball

With baseball season just around the corner and my TikTok swarming with videos of players from last season, I felt like it was important to bring up minor versus major leagues of baseball. As someone who loves baseball and has a Minor League team in my town, I wanted to highlight just how important it is to support the Minor League teams.


When talking about the similarities and differences in the leagues, you have to understand how the leagues work. Minor League Baseball, or MiLB, is a hierarchy of professional teams that are affiliated with Major League Baseball. Essentially, every minor league team is contracted to one of the Major League teams. Most people associate the MiLB as a completely separate thing, but in reality to make it to the MiLB a player must try out for the MLB first. To be drafted to a Minor League team, you have to attend a tryout for the parent team, a.k.a. the Major League team or play independent baseball and hope to get scouted from there. Once a player is drafted or is a free agent, the MLB team then picks the level/team of their choosing for that player.


In the Minor League, there are six levels (and one “level”) that a player may work their way through to either be at the top level of their MiLB career or continue to the MLB. From highest to lowest the levels are:

1. AAA or Triple A, where players are most likely to be called up to the parent MLB team

2. AA or Double A

3. Class A advanced or “High A”

4. Class A or “Lower A”

5. Class A short season or “short season”

6. Two Rookie ball teams, these teams usually play 70 to 80 games a season and most newly drafted players start here

7. Extended spring training where games are played six days a week but not officially a team.


The only similarities between the two leagues are the rule book that is used and that players get paid, although the salaries are drastically different. As for differences, it ranges from the levels, number of teams/league, the salaries and the crowds that they play for.


First, the levels are different between the leagues. As talked about above, there are six main levels in the MiLB while there is only one within the MLB. The levels also trickle into how many teams and sub-leagues there are in the MiLB and the MLB. The Major League only has one level and thirty teams from major cities. The Minor League on the other hand has those six levels, 20 leagues, and 246 teams across the country in major and minor cities. The two leagues exist in a harmonious relationship though as each Major League is required to have at least a AAA and a AA affiliate that they use to develop talent. Players then can be called up to the parent team from the MiLB team if someone is injured or as they become better.

The salary difference should be discussed as many people assume that all players make the same or that they make good money. In the Major Leagues, the average baseball salary in 2022 was an annual average of $4.41 million while the Minor League average was only between $4,800 to $14,700. This discrepancy has caused lots of issues as on average the top 20 MiLB teams pulled in $9.8 million in revenue per team. The question of pay discrepancy then comes because the MLB averages $319 million per team in revenue, which allows for higher paying salaries.


With salary differences, also comes the difference of the scale to which these leagues are shown at. As television coverage of sporting events became a great focus, the Major Leagues capitalized on it and took advantage while the Minor Leagues could not. This directly affected the number of attendance at MLB games and the current average is 26,808 per game. On the other hand, the MiLB attendance average is only 3,910 fans per game.


So if you are thinking of attending a baseball game this spring, search for a MiLB team in your area and you may have just as much fun for half the price! For more information on Minor League teams in your area, check out https://www.milb.com/about/teams/by-affiliate.



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