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Also not to be confused with amateur collegiate summer leagues, such as the Cape Cod League, which are amateur leagues consisting of college players playing during their summer break while still maintaining their NCAA eligibility for the following school year. Literally ''dozens'' of such leagues operate. The 2021 reorg also introduces the Prospect Development Pipeline, an official amateur development pathway co-sponsored by MLB and USA Baseball (the official governing body for US amateur baseball). The Appalachian League, formerly a Short-A professional league, is now the official PDP league for rising college freshmen and sophomores. The Cape Cod League will fill this role for rising juniors, which had been its de facto role anyway. The PDP league for rising seniors has not yet been finalized, but is rumored to be the formerly Short-A New York–Penn League.

to:

Also not to be confused with amateur collegiate summer leagues, such as the Cape Cod League, which are amateur leagues consisting of college players playing during their summer break while still maintaining their NCAA eligibility for the following school year. Significantly, all of these leagues use wooden bats—the same types mandated by MLB and [=MiLB=]. (College baseball allows metal and composite bats.) Literally ''dozens'' of such leagues operate. The 2021 reorg also introduces the Prospect Development Pipeline, an official amateur development pathway co-sponsored by MLB and USA Baseball (the country's official governing body for US amateur baseball).baseball, though its scope mainly covers national team competition). The Appalachian League, formerly a Short-A professional league, is now the official PDP league for rising college freshmen and sophomores. The Cape Cod League will fill this role for rising juniors, which had been its de facto role anyway. [[note]]The "rising junior" part is significant because of MLB's draft rules. All residents of the US, its territories, and Canada are automatically eligible for the draft upon high school graduation. However, once a player enrolls in a four-year college or university, he is not eligible again until completing three years or turning 21, whichever comes first. This means that rising juniors will be eligible after their next college season; the Cape League traditionally draws many top college prospects at that point in time, allowing MLB scouts to see them in action against one another with wooden bats.[[/note]] The PDP league for rising seniors has not yet been finalized, but is rumored to be the formerly Short-A New York–Penn League.


Teams belong to a multi-tiered system of leagues ranging from the Rookie leagues all the way up to AAA. The complete list, working from the bottom, goes like this, with each MLB team now limited to one affiliate at each level (unless otherwise noted):

to:

Teams belong to a multi-tiered system of leagues ranging from the Rookie leagues all the way up to AAA. The Effective with a major reorganization of [=MiLB=] taking effect in 2021, the complete list, working from the bottom, goes like this, with each MLB team now limited to one affiliate at each level (unless otherwise noted):


Teams belong to a multi-tiered system of leagues ranging from the Rookie league all the way up to AAA. The complete list, working from the bottom, goes like this:
* In '''Rookie''' level the players are raw, often straight from whatever college or high school they were playing at before they signed. Rookie Leagues include the Arizona and Gulf Coast Leagues, which use the parent MLB club's Spring Training practice facilities (and are therefore known as the "complex leagues") and play an abbreviated 60-game schedule that starts after the high school and college seasons end, so the players have no downtime before starting their pro careers.
* A slight step up in practice (though not officially) are the '''Advanced Rookie''' leagues, which feature small-town teams in places like Casper, Wyoming and Danville, Virginia that play in front of a few hundred people.
* Above that is the '''Short-Season A''' level, which is like the Advanced Rookie level, only in bigger cities, with more modern stadiums.
** The lines between these levels can be blurry. Though all major league teams have complex league affiliates, most (two-thirds) have only one "Short Season" affiliate above that, treating the two levels as functionally equal for those farm systems. Both feature slightly more polished draftees, usually standout rookies who may have played high-level college ball and are able to jump past the complex leagues, but were still playing college ball a few weeks before the start of the season, so they couldn't join the full season Single A teams. Both levels play a 76-game schedule, and players from them usually get promoted to A or even A+ teams in their second year (whereas the complex league rookies usually go to full season Single A at best, with some being held back for "extended spring training" before being put on a short-season affiliate.)
* From there is the '''A''' level, which is the lowest level that plays a full-season, 140-game schedule, often full of second and third year players who were in short-season leagues the year before.
* The '''Advanced A-Ball''' (also called "High A" or A+") level is when the players really start getting good and the first level where players who have any shot whatsoever of getting promoted to the majors really start to stand out.
* Then there is '''AA''', which is, not surprisingly, basically better quality. Although it is technically the second-highest level of the Minors, some teams will often call up their best prospects straight from here (see below for reasons), although with others it is just simply another step on the road to another level and closer to the Show.
* Finally, there is '''AAA''' Baseball, the last rung before MLB. In general, the competition here is almost as good (and in some cases better) than what it is in the Big Leagues, and the prospects are often, but not always, the best in a team's system. But even if the Prospects skip AAA, the AAA team will still generally be the most talented team outside the MLB club itself. This is because sometimes AAA will become a "parking lot" for players who are either good enough for the big leagues but are unlucky enough to be trapped on the depth chart behind a established MLB player (Ryan Howard of the Phillies remained in AAA longer than he probably should have because the Phillies had an established player in Jim Thome, for example) or players who are just barely not good enough to make it in the Big Leagues, but are certainly better than most of their AAA compatriots (these players are sometimes said to be playing in AAAA). Fifteen members of each AAA team (usually) ''are'' major league ballplayers; they're part of the expanded 40-man roster and eligible to play for their major league club after September 1 (although many teams will wait until after the minor league postseason if their farm club is a contender). Because of the fact that AAA rosters have less fluidity than those in AA or A, it is not uncommon for fans to become attached to their favorite players and follow their careers once they make it to the majors, even if they aren't playing for one's favorite team. Similarly, some "AAAA" players sometimes become fixtures for years on certain AAA teams, and become involved with local charities, hospitals, etc (although this has become less common in recent years because the cold hard economic realities of the game and the dream of getting to the big leagues will usually lead to a player either being released or signing with another team where he'd have a better shot of making the big leagues).

to:

Teams belong to a multi-tiered system of leagues ranging from the Rookie league leagues all the way up to AAA. The complete list, working from the bottom, goes like this:
this, with each MLB team now limited to one affiliate at each level (unless otherwise noted):
* In '''Rookie''' level the players are raw, often straight from whatever college or high school they were playing at before they signed. Rookie Leagues include the Arizona and Gulf Coast Leagues, which use owned directly by MLB, with teams using the parent MLB club's Spring Training practice facilities (and are therefore known as the "complex leagues") and play playing an abbreviated 60-game schedule that starts after the high school and college seasons end, so the players have no downtime before starting their pro careers.
* A
careers. The UsefulNotes/{{Dominican|Republic}} Summer League, an MLB-affiliated league that develops that country's young prospects, is also at this level. Each MLB team is limited to one team in the complex leagues, but can field one or more teams in the Dominican League (currently, slightly less than half of MLB teams field two DSL teams).
** The ''Advanced Rookie'' leagues, a
slight step up in practice (though not officially) are from the '''Advanced Rookie''' leagues, which feature above, featured small-town teams in places like Casper, Wyoming and Danville, Virginia that play played in front of a few hundred people.
people before being eliminated in 2020.
* Above that is The 2021 reorg collapsed the '''Short-Season A''' level, which is like former levels of ''Short-Season A'' (aka "Short-A"), ''A'', and ''Advanced A'' (aka "High A" or "A+") into two levels:
** '''Low Single-A''': Something of a hybrid of
the former Advanced Rookie level, only and Short-A levels, playing in bigger cities, with more modern stadiums.
stadiums. However, unlike the former short-season leagues, Low Single-A leagues will play a full-season, 140-game schedule. This level is made up mostly of players who had been in Rookie leagues the season before, with a few standout draftees likely to join in midseason. Three leagues play at this level: the California League, Florida State League, and South Atlantic League. Before 2021, the California and Florida leagues had been High-A, while the SAL had been A.
** The '''High Single-A''': Like the former A+ leagues, this level is when the players really start getting good and the first level where players who have any shot whatsoever of getting promoted to the majors really start to stand out. Now consists of the Carolina League (formerly A+), Mid-Atlantic League (new for 2021), Midwest League (formerly A), and Northwest League (formerly Short-A).
*** Before the 2021 reorg,
lines between these levels can be "Advanced Rookie" and "Short-A" were blurry. Though all major league teams have complex league affiliates, most (two-thirds) have had only one "Short Season" affiliate above that, treating the two levels as functionally equal for those farm systems. Both feature featured slightly more polished draftees, usually standout rookies who may have played high-level college ball and are were able to jump past the complex leagues, but were still playing college ball a few weeks before the start of the season, so they couldn't join the full season Single A teams. Both levels play a played 76-game schedule, schedules, and players from them usually get got promoted to A or even A+ teams in their second year (whereas the complex league rookies usually go went to full season full-season Single A at best, with some being held back for "extended spring training" before being put on a short-season affiliate.)
* From there is the '''A''' level, which is the lowest level that plays a full-season, 140-game schedule, often full of second and third year players who were in short-season leagues the year before.
* The '''Advanced A-Ball''' (also called "High A" or A+") level is when the players really start getting good and the first level where players who have any shot whatsoever of getting promoted to the majors really start to stand out.
)
* Then there is '''AA''', which is, not surprisingly, basically better quality. Although it is technically the second-highest level of the Minors, some teams will often call up their best prospects straight from here (see below for reasons), although with others it is just simply another step on the road to another level and closer to the Show.
The Show. The Eastern League, Southern League, and Texas League are at this level.
* Finally, there is '''AAA''' Baseball, the last rung before MLB. Two leagues are at this level: the International League and Pacific Coast League. In general, the competition here is almost as good (and in some cases better) than what it is in the Big Leagues, and the prospects are often, but not always, the best in a team's system. But even if the Prospects skip AAA, the AAA team will still generally be the most talented team outside the MLB club itself. This is because sometimes AAA will become a "parking lot" for players who are either good enough for the big leagues but are unlucky enough to be trapped on the depth chart behind a established MLB player (Ryan Howard of the Phillies remained in AAA longer than he probably should have because the Phillies had an established player in Jim Thome, for example) or players who are just barely not good enough to make it in the Big Leagues, but are certainly better than most of their AAA compatriots (these players are sometimes said to be playing in AAAA). Fifteen members of each AAA team (usually) ''are'' major league ballplayers; they're part of the expanded 40-man roster and eligible to play for their major league club after September 1 (although many teams will wait until after the minor league postseason if their farm club is a contender). Because of the fact that AAA rosters have less fluidity than those in AA or A, it is not uncommon for fans to become attached to their favorite players and follow their careers once they make it to the majors, even if they aren't playing for one's favorite team. Similarly, some "AAAA" players sometimes become fixtures for years on certain AAA teams, and become involved with local charities, hospitals, etc (although this has become less common in recent years because the cold hard economic realities of the game and the dream of getting to the big leagues will usually lead to a player either being released or signing with another team where he'd have a better shot of making the big leagues).



Affiliated minors should not be confused with independent minor leagues such as the Atlantic League or Frontier League. Although these leagues do often have players who were drafted into [=MiLB=], they don't have a direct affiliation with Major League Baseball clubs, and are often populated with players trying to impress enough to be signed by affiliated minor league teams again.

Also not to be confused with amateur collegiate summer leagues, such as the Cape Cod League, which are amateur leagues consisting of college players playing during their summer break while still maintaining their NCAA eligibility for the following school year.

to:

Affiliated minors should not be confused with independent minor leagues such as the Atlantic League or Frontier League. Although these leagues do often have players who were drafted into [=MiLB=], they don't have a direct affiliation with Major League Baseball clubs, and are often populated with players trying to impress enough to be signed by affiliated minor league teams again. \n\n As of 2021, both of the named leagues, as well as the modern American Association, are "official partner leagues" of MLB; their full role in the new system remains to be seen.

Also not to be confused with amateur collegiate summer leagues, such as the Cape Cod League, which are amateur leagues consisting of college players playing during their summer break while still maintaining their NCAA eligibility for the following school year.
year. Literally ''dozens'' of such leagues operate. The 2021 reorg also introduces the Prospect Development Pipeline, an official amateur development pathway co-sponsored by MLB and USA Baseball (the official governing body for US amateur baseball). The Appalachian League, formerly a Short-A professional league, is now the official PDP league for rising college freshmen and sophomores. The Cape Cod League will fill this role for rising juniors, which had been its de facto role anyway. The PDP league for rising seniors has not yet been finalized, but is rumored to be the formerly Short-A New York–Penn League.


Because the players are not well known, Minor League teams are often marketed through use of crazy promotions and give-aways, and a sense of local pride. The manic atmosphere is added to by the frequently-amusing or whimsical names of the teams, like the Las Vegas 51s (named for {{Area 51}} and with [[TheGreys a grey alien]] mascot) and Albuquerque Isotopes (which ''is'' a ''[[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons Simpsons]]'' reference, despite the club's insistence it's just about Albuquerque's links to the Los Alamos National Laboratory) of the Pacific Coast League, and the Lehigh Valley [=IronPigs=] and famous Toledo Mud Hens (often mentioned on [[Series/{{Mash}} M*A*S*H]] as the hometown team of WholesomeCrossdresser Cpl. Klinger) of the International League. Lately, some teams have come around to the realization that in comparison with the bigs, the smaller, more intimate facilities and comfortable vibe and wallet-friendly prices are a powerful draw themselves (think jazz bar versus large arena). This view is—deliberately—reinforced on the part of teams that are within easy driving distance of the parent MLB club. The Orioles[[note]]Norfolk, VA; Bowie, MD; Frederick, MD, Salisbury, MD and Aberdeen, MD[[/note]], Red Sox[[note]]Pawtucket, RI; Portland, ME & Lowell, MA[[/note]], Indians[[note]]Columbus, Akron & Willowick, OH[[/note]], Yankees[[note]]Scranton, PA; Trenton, NJ & Staten Island[[/note]], and Phillies[[note]]Allentown, PA; Reading, PA; Lakewood, NJ & Williamsport, PA[[/note]] systems are particularly fond of this: they each have their AAA, AA, and at least one A farm team in fairly close proximity to the parent club.

Players from the majors will occasionally play for minor-league affiliates of their teams while they recover from injuries. The roster rules forbid a major league team from reactivating an injured player within ten days of his last game played if the team calls up a player from the minors to replace him (known as putting him of on the "disabled list" or "DL"), but there is no prohibition on that player from playing in the minors during that exclusion period (known as a rehab assignment).

to:

Because the players are not well known, Minor League teams are often marketed through use of crazy promotions and give-aways, and a sense of local pride. The manic atmosphere is added to by the frequently-amusing or whimsical names of the teams, like the former Las Vegas 51s (named for {{Area 51}} and with [[TheGreys a grey alien]] mascot) mascot; since renamed the Las Vegas Aviators) and Albuquerque Isotopes (which ''is'' a ''[[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons Simpsons]]'' reference, despite the club's insistence it's just about Albuquerque's links to the Los Alamos National Laboratory) of the Pacific Coast League, and the Lehigh Valley [=IronPigs=] and famous Toledo Mud Hens (often mentioned on [[Series/{{Mash}} M*A*S*H]] as the hometown team of WholesomeCrossdresser Cpl. Klinger) of the International League. Lately, some teams have come around to the realization that in comparison with the bigs, the smaller, more intimate facilities and comfortable vibe and wallet-friendly prices are a powerful draw themselves (think jazz bar versus large arena). This view is—deliberately—reinforced on the part of teams that are within easy driving distance of the parent MLB club. The Orioles[[note]]Norfolk, VA; Bowie, MD; Frederick, MD, Salisbury, MD and Aberdeen, MD[[/note]], Red Sox[[note]]Pawtucket, RI; Portland, ME & Lowell, MA[[/note]], Indians[[note]]Columbus, Akron & Willowick, OH[[/note]], Yankees[[note]]Scranton, PA; Trenton, NJ & Staten Island[[/note]], and Phillies[[note]]Allentown, PA; Reading, PA; Lakewood, NJ & Williamsport, PA[[/note]] systems are particularly fond of this: they each have their AAA, AA, and at least one A farm team in fairly close proximity to the parent club.

Players from the majors will occasionally play for minor-league affiliates of their teams while they recover from injuries. The roster rules forbid a major league team from reactivating an injured player within ten days of his last game played if the team calls up a player from the minors to replace him (known as putting him of on the "injured list" or "IL"[[note]]before 2017, known as the "disabled list" or "DL"), list"[[/note]]), but there is no prohibition on that player from playing in the minors during that exclusion period (known as a rehab assignment).


Minor League Baseball, also called [=MiLB=] or "the farm system", is where most players drafted by MajorLeagueBaseball teams play before making it to the major leagues, if they ever make it at all. Teams are affiliated with major league clubs and serve to develop players by having them progress through increasing levels of competition quality and larger markets.

to:

Minor League Baseball, also called [=MiLB=] or "the farm system", is where most players drafted by MajorLeagueBaseball teams UsefulNotes/MLBTeams play before making it to the major leagues, if they ever make it at all. Teams are affiliated with major league clubs and serve to develop players by having them progress through increasing levels of competition quality and larger markets.


Because the players are not well known, Minor League teams are often marketed through use of crazy promotions and give-aways, and a sense of local pride. The manic atmosphere is added to by the frequently-amusing or whimsical names of the teams, like the Las Vegas 51s (named for {{Area 51}} and with [[TheGreys a grey alien]] mascot) and Albuquerque Isotopes (which ''is'' a ''[[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons Simpsons]]'' reference, despite the club's insistence it's just about Albuquerque's links to the Los Alamos National Laboratory) of the Pacific Coast League, and the Lehigh Valley [=IronPigs=] and famous Toledo Mud Hens (often mentioned on [[Series/{{Mash}} M*A*S*H]] as the hometown team of WholesomeCrossdresser Cpl. Klinger) of the International League. Lately, some teams have come around to the realization that in comparison with the bigs, the smaller, more intimate facilities and comfortable vibe and wallet-friendly prices are a powerful draw themselves (think jazz bar versus large arena). This view is—deliberately—reinforced on the part of teams that are within easy driving distance of the parent MLB club. The Orioles[[note]]Norfolk, VA; Bowie, MD; Frederick, MD & Salisbury, MD[[/note]], Red Sox[[note]]Pawtucket, RI; Portland, ME & Lowell, MA[[/note]], Indians[[note]]Columbus, Akron & Willowick, OH[[/note]], Yankees[[note]]Scranton, PA; Trenton, NJ & Staten Island[[/note]], and Phillies[[note]]Allentown, PA; Reading, PA; Lakewood, NJ & Williamsport, PA[[/note]] systems are particularly fond of this: they each have their AAA, AA, and at least one A farm team in fairly close proximity to the parent club.

to:

Because the players are not well known, Minor League teams are often marketed through use of crazy promotions and give-aways, and a sense of local pride. The manic atmosphere is added to by the frequently-amusing or whimsical names of the teams, like the Las Vegas 51s (named for {{Area 51}} and with [[TheGreys a grey alien]] mascot) and Albuquerque Isotopes (which ''is'' a ''[[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons Simpsons]]'' reference, despite the club's insistence it's just about Albuquerque's links to the Los Alamos National Laboratory) of the Pacific Coast League, and the Lehigh Valley [=IronPigs=] and famous Toledo Mud Hens (often mentioned on [[Series/{{Mash}} M*A*S*H]] as the hometown team of WholesomeCrossdresser Cpl. Klinger) of the International League. Lately, some teams have come around to the realization that in comparison with the bigs, the smaller, more intimate facilities and comfortable vibe and wallet-friendly prices are a powerful draw themselves (think jazz bar versus large arena). This view is—deliberately—reinforced on the part of teams that are within easy driving distance of the parent MLB club. The Orioles[[note]]Norfolk, VA; Bowie, MD; Frederick, MD & MD, Salisbury, MD and Aberdeen, MD[[/note]], Red Sox[[note]]Pawtucket, RI; Portland, ME & Lowell, MA[[/note]], Indians[[note]]Columbus, Akron & Willowick, OH[[/note]], Yankees[[note]]Scranton, PA; Trenton, NJ & Staten Island[[/note]], and Phillies[[note]]Allentown, PA; Reading, PA; Lakewood, NJ & Williamsport, PA[[/note]] systems are particularly fond of this: they each have their AAA, AA, and at least one A farm team in fairly close proximity to the parent club.


Because the players are not well known, Minor League teams are often marketed through use of crazy promotions and give-aways, and a sense of local pride. The manic atmosphere is added to by the frequently-amusing or whimsical names of the teams, like the Las Vegas 51s (named for {{Area 51}} and with [[TheGreys a grey alien]] mascot) and Albuquerque Isotopes (which ''is'' a ''[[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons Simpsons]]'' reference, despite the club's insistence it's just about Albuquerque's links to the Los Alamos National Laboratory) of the Pacific Coast League, and the Lehigh Valley [=IronPigs=] and famous Toledo Mud Hens (often mentioned on [[Series/{{Mash}} M*A*S*H]] as the hometown team of WholesomeCrossdresser Cpl. Klinger) of the International League. Lately, some teams have come around to the realization that in comparison with the bigs, the smaller, more intimate facilities and comfortable vibe and wallet-friendly prices are a powerful draw themselves (think jazz bar versus large arena). This view is—deliberately—reinforced on the part of teams that are within easy driving distance of the parent MLB club. The Red Sox, Orioles, Yankees, Phillies, and Indians systems are particularly fond of this: they each have their AAA, AA, and at least one A farm team in fairly close proximity to the parent club.

to:

Because the players are not well known, Minor League teams are often marketed through use of crazy promotions and give-aways, and a sense of local pride. The manic atmosphere is added to by the frequently-amusing or whimsical names of the teams, like the Las Vegas 51s (named for {{Area 51}} and with [[TheGreys a grey alien]] mascot) and Albuquerque Isotopes (which ''is'' a ''[[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons Simpsons]]'' reference, despite the club's insistence it's just about Albuquerque's links to the Los Alamos National Laboratory) of the Pacific Coast League, and the Lehigh Valley [=IronPigs=] and famous Toledo Mud Hens (often mentioned on [[Series/{{Mash}} M*A*S*H]] as the hometown team of WholesomeCrossdresser Cpl. Klinger) of the International League. Lately, some teams have come around to the realization that in comparison with the bigs, the smaller, more intimate facilities and comfortable vibe and wallet-friendly prices are a powerful draw themselves (think jazz bar versus large arena). This view is—deliberately—reinforced on the part of teams that are within easy driving distance of the parent MLB club. The Orioles[[note]]Norfolk, VA; Bowie, MD; Frederick, MD & Salisbury, MD[[/note]], Red Sox, Orioles, Yankees, Phillies, Sox[[note]]Pawtucket, RI; Portland, ME & Lowell, MA[[/note]], Indians[[note]]Columbus, Akron & Willowick, OH[[/note]], Yankees[[note]]Scranton, PA; Trenton, NJ & Staten Island[[/note]], and Indians Phillies[[note]]Allentown, PA; Reading, PA; Lakewood, NJ & Williamsport, PA[[/note]] systems are particularly fond of this: they each have their AAA, AA, and at least one A farm team in fairly close proximity to the parent club.


Because the players are not well known, Minor League teams are often marketed through use of crazy promotions and give-aways, and a sense of local pride. The manic atmosphere is added to by the frequently-amusing or whimsical names of the teams, like the Las Vegas 51s (named for {{Area 51}} and with [[TheGreys a grey alien]] mascot) and Albuquerque Isotopes (which ''is'' a ''[[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons Simpsons]]'' reference, despite the club's insistence it's just about Albuquerque's links to the Los Alamos National Laboratory) of the Pacific Coast League, and the Lehigh Valley [=IronPigs=] and famous Toledo Mud Hens (often mentioned on [[Series/{{Mash}} M*A*S*H]] as the hometown team of WholesomeCrossdresser Cpl. Klinger) of the International League. Lately, some teams have come around to the realization that in comparison with the bigs, the smaller, more intimate facilities and comfortable vibe and wallet-friendly prices are a powerful draw themselves (think jazz bar versus large arena).

to:

Because the players are not well known, Minor League teams are often marketed through use of crazy promotions and give-aways, and a sense of local pride. The manic atmosphere is added to by the frequently-amusing or whimsical names of the teams, like the Las Vegas 51s (named for {{Area 51}} and with [[TheGreys a grey alien]] mascot) and Albuquerque Isotopes (which ''is'' a ''[[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons Simpsons]]'' reference, despite the club's insistence it's just about Albuquerque's links to the Los Alamos National Laboratory) of the Pacific Coast League, and the Lehigh Valley [=IronPigs=] and famous Toledo Mud Hens (often mentioned on [[Series/{{Mash}} M*A*S*H]] as the hometown team of WholesomeCrossdresser Cpl. Klinger) of the International League. Lately, some teams have come around to the realization that in comparison with the bigs, the smaller, more intimate facilities and comfortable vibe and wallet-friendly prices are a powerful draw themselves (think jazz bar versus large arena). \n This view is—deliberately—reinforced on the part of teams that are within easy driving distance of the parent MLB club. The Red Sox, Orioles, Yankees, Phillies, and Indians systems are particularly fond of this: they each have their AAA, AA, and at least one A farm team in fairly close proximity to the parent club.


** The lines between these levels can be blurry. Though all major league teams have complex league affiliates, most (two-thirds) have only one "Short Season" affiliate above that, treating the two levels as functionally equal for those farm systems. Both feature slightly more polished draftees, usually standout rookies who may have played high-level college ball and are able to jump past the complex leagues, but were still playing college ball a few weeks before the start of the season, so they couldn't join the full season Single A teams. Both levels play a 75 game schedule, and players from them usually get promoted to A or even A+ teams in their second year (whereas the complex league rookies usually go to full season Single A at best, with some being held back for "extended spring training" before being put on a short-season affiliate.)
* From there is the '''A''' level, which is the lowest level that plays a full-season schedule, often full of second and third year players who were in short-season leagues the year before.

to:

** The lines between these levels can be blurry. Though all major league teams have complex league affiliates, most (two-thirds) have only one "Short Season" affiliate above that, treating the two levels as functionally equal for those farm systems. Both feature slightly more polished draftees, usually standout rookies who may have played high-level college ball and are able to jump past the complex leagues, but were still playing college ball a few weeks before the start of the season, so they couldn't join the full season Single A teams. Both levels play a 75 game 76-game schedule, and players from them usually get promoted to A or even A+ teams in their second year (whereas the complex league rookies usually go to full season Single A at best, with some being held back for "extended spring training" before being put on a short-season affiliate.)
* From there is the '''A''' level, which is the lowest level that plays a full-season full-season, 140-game schedule, often full of second and third year players who were in short-season leagues the year before.



Players from the majors will occasionally play for minor-league affiliates of their teams while they recover from injuries. The roster rules forbid a major league team from reactivating an injured player within 15 days of his last game played if the team calls up a player from the minors to replace him (known as putting him of on the "disabled list" or "DL"), but there is no prohibition on that player from playing in the minors during that 15-day exclusion period (known as a rehab assignment).

to:

Players from the majors will occasionally play for minor-league affiliates of their teams while they recover from injuries. The roster rules forbid a major league team from reactivating an injured player within 15 ten days of his last game played if the team calls up a player from the minors to replace him (known as putting him of on the "disabled list" or "DL"), but there is no prohibition on that player from playing in the minors during that 15-day exclusion period (known as a rehab assignment).


** The lines between these levels can be blurry. Though all major league teams have complex league affiliates, most (two-thirds) have only one "Short Season" affiliate above that, treating the two levels as functionally equal for those farm systems. Both feature slightly more polished draftees, usually standout rookies who may have played high level college ball and are able to jump last the complex leagues, but we're still playing college ball a few weeks before the start of the season, so couldn't join the full season Single A teams. Both levels play a 75 game schedule, and players from them usually get promoted to A or even A+ teams in their second year (whereas the complex league rookies usually go to full season Single A at best, with some being held back for "extended spring training" before being put on a short-season affiliate.)

to:

** The lines between these levels can be blurry. Though all major league teams have complex league affiliates, most (two-thirds) have only one "Short Season" affiliate above that, treating the two levels as functionally equal for those farm systems. Both feature slightly more polished draftees, usually standout rookies who may have played high level high-level college ball and are able to jump last past the complex leagues, but we're were still playing college ball a few weeks before the start of the season, so they couldn't join the full season Single A teams. Both levels play a 75 game schedule, and players from them usually get promoted to A or even A+ teams in their second year (whereas the complex league rookies usually go to full season Single A at best, with some being held back for "extended spring training" before being put on a short-season affiliate.)


Minor League Baseball, also called [=MiLB=] or "the farm system", is where most players drafted by MajorLeagueBaseball teams play before making it to the major leagues, if they ever make it at all. Teams are affiliated with major league clubs and serve to develop players by having them progress through increasing levels of competition quality and larger markets. Teams belong to a multi-tiered system of leagues ranging from the Rookie league all the way up to AAA. The complete list, working from the bottom, goes like this:

to:

Minor League Baseball, also called [=MiLB=] or "the farm system", is where most players drafted by MajorLeagueBaseball teams play before making it to the major leagues, if they ever make it at all. Teams are affiliated with major league clubs and serve to develop players by having them progress through increasing levels of competition quality and larger markets. markets.

Teams belong to a multi-tiered system of leagues ranging from the Rookie league all the way up to AAA. The complete list, working from the bottom, goes like this:



* Finally, there is '''AAA''' Baseball, the last rung before MLB. In general, the competition here is almost as good (and in some cases better) than what it is in the Big Leagues, and the prospects are often, but not always, the best in a team's system. But even if the Prospects skip AAA, the AAA team will still generally be the most talented team outside the MLB club itself. This is because sometimes AAA will become a "parking lot" for players who are either good enough for the big leagues but are unlucky enough to be trapped on the depth chart behind a established MLB player (Ryan Howard of the Phillies remained in AAA longer than he probably should have because the Phillies had an established player in Jim Thome, for example) or players who are just barely not good enough to make it in the Big Leagues, but are certainly better than most of their AAA compatriots (these players are sometimes said to be playing in AAAA). Fifteen members of each AAA team (usually) ''are'' major league ballplayers; they're part of the expanded 40-man roster and eligible to play for their major league club after September 1 (although many teams will wait until after the minor league postseason if their farm club is a contender). Because of the fact that AAA rosters have less fluidity than those in AA or A, it is not uncommon for fans to become attached to their favorite players and follow their careers once they make it to the majors, even if they aren't playing for one's favorite team. Similarly, some "AAAA" players sometimes become fixtures for years on certain AAA teams, and become involved with local charities, hospitals, etc (although this has become less common in recent years because the cold hard economic realities of the game and the dream of getting to the big leagues will usually lead to a player either being released or signing with another team where he'd have a better shot of making the big leagues). AAA ball is also notable for its mascots and promotional gimmicks between innings, making it great for families with young children. Notable teams in the AAA leagues are the Durham Bulls (of Film/BullDurham fame), the Toledo Mud Hens (of [[Series/{{Mash}} M*A*S*H]] fame), the Albuquerque Isotopes (named for the would-be location of the Springfield Isotopes in an episode of Series/TheSimpsons), the Indianapolis Indians (play in what is essentially a Major League park), the Rochester Red Wings (one of the oldest continuously-operating teams in baseball, and the only Minor League team that has operated uninterrupted since the 19th century), and the Pawtucket Red Sox (notable for playing host to the longest game in professional baseball history, a 33-inning win over the aforementioned Rochester Red Wings). Weep, a little, for the Portland Beavers — they were part of an earlier attempt for a 3rd major league (the Pacific Coast League) and spent years trying to get added to the big leagues — as the team was forced to move to Tucson when their ballpark was converted to a soccer-specific stadium for the MLS Portland Timbers. The ex-Beavers are now known as the El Paso Chihuahuas.

These teams are not to be confused with independent leagues such as the Atlantic League or Frontier League. Although these leagues do often have players who were drafted into [=MiLB=], they don't have a direct affiliation with Major League Baseball clubs, and are often populated with players trying to impress enough to be signed by affiliated minor league teams again.

Also not to be confused with amateur collegiate summer leagues, such as the Cape Cod League, which consist of players playing during their colleges' summer break while still maintaining their NCAA eligibility for the following school year.

to:

* Finally, there is '''AAA''' Baseball, the last rung before MLB. In general, the competition here is almost as good (and in some cases better) than what it is in the Big Leagues, and the prospects are often, but not always, the best in a team's system. But even if the Prospects skip AAA, the AAA team will still generally be the most talented team outside the MLB club itself. This is because sometimes AAA will become a "parking lot" for players who are either good enough for the big leagues but are unlucky enough to be trapped on the depth chart behind a established MLB player (Ryan Howard of the Phillies remained in AAA longer than he probably should have because the Phillies had an established player in Jim Thome, for example) or players who are just barely not good enough to make it in the Big Leagues, but are certainly better than most of their AAA compatriots (these players are sometimes said to be playing in AAAA). Fifteen members of each AAA team (usually) ''are'' major league ballplayers; they're part of the expanded 40-man roster and eligible to play for their major league club after September 1 (although many teams will wait until after the minor league postseason if their farm club is a contender). Because of the fact that AAA rosters have less fluidity than those in AA or A, it is not uncommon for fans to become attached to their favorite players and follow their careers once they make it to the majors, even if they aren't playing for one's favorite team. Similarly, some "AAAA" players sometimes become fixtures for years on certain AAA teams, and become involved with local charities, hospitals, etc (although this has become less common in recent years because the cold hard economic realities of the game and the dream of getting to the big leagues will usually lead to a player either being released or signing with another team where he'd have a better shot of making the big leagues). AAA ball is also notable for its mascots and promotional gimmicks between innings, making it great for families with young children. Notable leagues).

Because the players are not well known, Minor League
teams in are often marketed through use of crazy promotions and give-aways, and a sense of local pride. The manic atmosphere is added to by the AAA leagues are frequently-amusing or whimsical names of the Durham Bulls (of Film/BullDurham fame), teams, like the Las Vegas 51s (named for {{Area 51}} and with [[TheGreys a grey alien]] mascot) and Albuquerque Isotopes (which ''is'' a ''[[WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons Simpsons]]'' reference, despite the club's insistence it's just about Albuquerque's links to the Los Alamos National Laboratory) of the Pacific Coast League, and the Lehigh Valley [=IronPigs=] and famous Toledo Mud Hens (of (often mentioned on [[Series/{{Mash}} M*A*S*H]] fame), as the Albuquerque Isotopes (named for the would-be location hometown team of WholesomeCrossdresser Cpl. Klinger) of the Springfield Isotopes in an episode of Series/TheSimpsons), the Indianapolis Indians (play in what is essentially a Major League park), the Rochester Red Wings (one of the oldest continuously-operating International League. Lately, some teams in baseball, and the only Minor League team that has operated uninterrupted since the 19th century), and the Pawtucket Red Sox (notable for playing host have come around to the longest game realization that in professional baseball history, a 33-inning win over comparison with the aforementioned Rochester Red Wings). Weep, bigs, the smaller, more intimate facilities and comfortable vibe and wallet-friendly prices are a little, powerful draw themselves (think jazz bar versus large arena).

Players from the majors will occasionally play
for the Portland Beavers — minor-league affiliates of their teams while they were part of an earlier attempt for recover from injuries. The roster rules forbid a 3rd major league (the Pacific Coast League) and spent years trying to get added to the big leagues — as team from reactivating an injured player within 15 days of his last game played if the team was forced to move to Tucson when their ballpark was converted to calls up a soccer-specific stadium for player from the MLS Portland Timbers. The ex-Beavers are now known minors to replace him (known as putting him of on the El Paso Chihuahuas.

These teams are
"disabled list" or "DL"), but there is no prohibition on that player from playing in the minors during that 15-day exclusion period (known as a rehab assignment).

Affiliated minors should
not to be confused with independent minor leagues such as the Atlantic League or Frontier League. Although these leagues do often have players who were drafted into [=MiLB=], they don't have a direct affiliation with Major League Baseball clubs, and are often populated with players trying to impress enough to be signed by affiliated minor league teams again.

Also not to be confused with amateur collegiate summer leagues, such as the Cape Cod League, which consist are amateur leagues consisting of college players playing during their colleges' summer break while still maintaining their NCAA eligibility for the following school year.


* Finally, there is '''AAA''' Baseball, the last rung before MLB. In general, the competition here is almost as good (and in some cases better) than what it is in the Big Leagues, and the prospects are often, but not always, the best in a team's system. But even if the Prospects skip AAA, the AAA team will still generally be the most talented team outside the MLB club itself. This is because sometimes AAA will become a "parking lot" for players who are either good enough for the big leagues but are unlucky enough to be trapped on the depth chart behind a established MLB player (Ryan Howard of the Phillies remained in AAA longer than he probably should have because the Phillies had an established player in Jim Thome, for example) or players who are just barely not good enough to make it in the Big Leagues, but are certainly better than most of their AAA compatriots (these players are sometimes said to be playing in AAAA). Fifteen members of each AAA team (usually) are major league ballplayers; they're part of the expanded 40-man roster and eligible to play for their major league club after September 1 (although many teams will wait until after the minor league postseason if their farm club is a contender). Because of the fact that AAA rosters have less fluidity than those in AA or A, it is not uncommon for fans to become attached to their favorite players and follow their careers once they make it to the majors, even if they aren't playing for one's favorite team. Similarly, some "AAAA" players sometimes become fixtures for years on certain AAA teams, and become involved with local charities, hospitals, etc (although this has become less common in recent years because the cold hard economic realities of the game and the dream of getting to the big leagues will usually lead to a player either being released or signing with another team where he'd have a better shot of making the big leagues). AAA ball is also notable for its mascots and promotional gimmicks between innings, making it great for families with young children. Notable teams in the AAA leagues are the Durham Bulls (of Bull Durham fame), the Toledo Mud Hens (of Mash fame), the Albuquerque Isotopes (named for the would-be location of the Springfield Isotopes in an episode of The Simpsons), the Indianapolis Indians (play in what is essentially a major league parknote ), the Rochester Red Wings (one of the oldest continuously-operating teams in Baseball, and the only Minor League team that has operated uninterrupted since the 19th century), and the Pawtucket Red Sox (notable for playing host to the longest game in professional baseball history, a 33-inning win over the aforementioned Rochester Red Wings). Weep, a little, for the Portland Beavers — they were part of an earlier attempt for a 3rd major league (the Pacific Coast League) and spent years trying to get added to the big leagues — as the team was forced to move to Tucson when their ballpark was converted to a soccer-specific stadium for the MLS Portland Timbers. The ex-Beavers are now known as the El Paso Chihuahuas.

to:

* Finally, there is '''AAA''' Baseball, the last rung before MLB. In general, the competition here is almost as good (and in some cases better) than what it is in the Big Leagues, and the prospects are often, but not always, the best in a team's system. But even if the Prospects skip AAA, the AAA team will still generally be the most talented team outside the MLB club itself. This is because sometimes AAA will become a "parking lot" for players who are either good enough for the big leagues but are unlucky enough to be trapped on the depth chart behind a established MLB player (Ryan Howard of the Phillies remained in AAA longer than he probably should have because the Phillies had an established player in Jim Thome, for example) or players who are just barely not good enough to make it in the Big Leagues, but are certainly better than most of their AAA compatriots (these players are sometimes said to be playing in AAAA). Fifteen members of each AAA team (usually) are ''are'' major league ballplayers; they're part of the expanded 40-man roster and eligible to play for their major league club after September 1 (although many teams will wait until after the minor league postseason if their farm club is a contender). Because of the fact that AAA rosters have less fluidity than those in AA or A, it is not uncommon for fans to become attached to their favorite players and follow their careers once they make it to the majors, even if they aren't playing for one's favorite team. Similarly, some "AAAA" players sometimes become fixtures for years on certain AAA teams, and become involved with local charities, hospitals, etc (although this has become less common in recent years because the cold hard economic realities of the game and the dream of getting to the big leagues will usually lead to a player either being released or signing with another team where he'd have a better shot of making the big leagues). AAA ball is also notable for its mascots and promotional gimmicks between innings, making it great for families with young children. Notable teams in the AAA leagues are the Durham Bulls (of Bull Durham Film/BullDurham fame), the Toledo Mud Hens (of Mash [[Series/{{Mash}} M*A*S*H]] fame), the Albuquerque Isotopes (named for the would-be location of the Springfield Isotopes in an episode of The Simpsons), Series/TheSimpsons), the Indianapolis Indians (play in what is essentially a major league parknote ), Major League park), the Rochester Red Wings (one of the oldest continuously-operating teams in Baseball, baseball, and the only Minor League team that has operated uninterrupted since the 19th century), and the Pawtucket Red Sox (notable for playing host to the longest game in professional baseball history, a 33-inning win over the aforementioned Rochester Red Wings). Weep, a little, for the Portland Beavers — they were part of an earlier attempt for a 3rd major league (the Pacific Coast League) and spent years trying to get added to the big leagues — as the team was forced to move to Tucson when their ballpark was converted to a soccer-specific stadium for the MLS Portland Timbers. The ex-Beavers are now known as the El Paso Chihuahuas.


* Then there is ''AA'', which is, not surprisingly, basically better quality. Although it is technically the second-highest level of the Minors, some teams will often call up their best prospects straight from here (see below for reasons), although with others it is just simply another step on the road to another level and closer to the Show.

to:

* Then there is ''AA'', '''AA''', which is, not surprisingly, basically better quality. Although it is technically the second-highest level of the Minors, some teams will often call up their best prospects straight from here (see below for reasons), although with others it is just simply another step on the road to another level and closer to the Show.


* Above that is the '''Short-Season A''' level, which is like the Advanced Rookie level, only in bigger cities, with more modern stadiums and slightly more polished players, usually standout rookies who may have played high level college ball and are able to jump straight to the Single A level, but we're still playing college ball a few weeks before the start of the season, so couldn't join the full season Single A teams.
** The lines between these levels can be blurry. Though all major league teams have complex league affiliates, some have only one "Short Season" affiliate above that, treating the two levels as functionally equal for those farm systems. Both levels play a 75 game schedule, both feature better draftees, and players from them usually get promoted to A+ or even AA teams in their second year (whereas the complex league rookies usually go to full season Single A)
* From there is the '''A''' level, which is the lowest level that plays a full-season schedule, often full of second year players who were in Rookie leagues the year before.
* The '''Advanced A-Ball''' (also called "High A" or A+") level is when the players really start getting good and when a player starts to have any shot whatsoever of getting promoted straight to the majors.
* Then there is ''AA'', which is, not surprisingly, basically A-ball only better. Although it is technically the second-highest level of the Minors, some teams will often call up their best prospects straight from here (see below for reasons), although with others it is just simply another step on the road to another level and closer to the Show.

to:

* Above that is the '''Short-Season A''' level, which is like the Advanced Rookie level, only in bigger cities, with more modern stadiums and slightly more polished players, usually standout rookies who may have played high level college ball and are able to jump straight to the Single A level, but we're still playing college ball a few weeks before the start of the season, so couldn't join the full season Single A teams.
stadiums.
** The lines between these levels can be blurry. Though all major league teams have complex league affiliates, some most (two-thirds) have only one "Short Season" affiliate above that, treating the two levels as functionally equal for those farm systems. Both feature slightly more polished draftees, usually standout rookies who may have played high level college ball and are able to jump last the complex leagues, but we're still playing college ball a few weeks before the start of the season, so couldn't join the full season Single A teams. Both levels play a 75 game schedule, both feature better draftees, and players from them usually get promoted to A+ A or even AA A+ teams in their second year (whereas the complex league rookies usually go to full season Single A)
A at best, with some being held back for "extended spring training" before being put on a short-season affiliate.)
* From there is the '''A''' level, which is the lowest level that plays a full-season schedule, often full of second and third year players who were in Rookie short-season leagues the year before.
* The '''Advanced A-Ball''' (also called "High A" or A+") level is when the players really start getting good and when a player starts to the first level where players who have any shot whatsoever of getting promoted straight to the majors.
majors really start to stand out.
* Then there is ''AA'', which is, not surprisingly, basically A-ball only better.better quality. Although it is technically the second-highest level of the Minors, some teams will often call up their best prospects straight from here (see below for reasons), although with others it is just simply another step on the road to another level and closer to the Show.


Minor League Baseball, also called [=MiLB=] or "the farm system", is where most players drafted by MajorLeagueBaseball teams play before making it to the major leagues, if they ever make it at all. Teams are affiliated with major league clubs and serve to develop players by having them progress through increasing levels of competition quality and larger markets. Teams belong to a multi-tiered system of leagues ranging from the Rookie league all the way up to AAA. The complete list is working from the bottom:

to:

Minor League Baseball, also called [=MiLB=] or "the farm system", is where most players drafted by MajorLeagueBaseball teams play before making it to the major leagues, if they ever make it at all. Teams are affiliated with major league clubs and serve to develop players by having them progress through increasing levels of competition quality and larger markets. Teams belong to a multi-tiered system of leagues ranging from the Rookie league all the way up to AAA. The complete list is list, working from the bottom:bottom, goes like this:

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