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The Minor Leagues
The Minor Leagues
Each Major League team has many Minor League teams that focus on developing players to play for them one day. There are many different levels of the minor leagues.
The first and lowest level of the Minor Leagues is the Rookie level. The rookie level is where most highschool draft picks spend their first season. Some teams call this rookie team "extended spring training" or "extended" for short. They call it this because it usually takes place at the Major League teams Spring Training Facility. A lot of the time players from other Minor League that need to rehab an injury will go back to extended because there are usually a couple of trainers that can help rehab the injured player rather than one trainer with limited equipment and facilities. Sometimes even Big Leaguers will rehab there. Rookie level games are usually free for fans to attend.
The next level in the Minor Leagues is Short Season A. This is where most of the college draft picks will go for their first season. They call it Short Season because it is short compared to the others. The team only plays for half the year because it is filled with the new draftees who don't come in until June, while the rest of the Minor Leagues start Spring Training in March.
Next comes Low A ball. In Low A you will have a mix of guys. Some younger guys who prevailed at the Rookie level the year before and some college guys who did well in Short Season. This is usually the make or break year for the players and it's when the team decides if they are going to invest time in developing the player.
High A comes after Low A. Makes sense doesn't it? They have to keep it easy for baseball players to understand. High A is where you will see the biggest jump in talent. Only the best of the lower levels of the Minors, Independent, and College players will make it to this level. You will see some great plays and some great players in High A baseball.
Double A is not that much different from High A as far as talent level. The main difference is consistency. Double A baseball players are the most talented, but they are also the most consistent. This is a big deal because you can be a great baseball player, but if you can never find a groove and be consistent, then you will never make it out of High A. Double A is also a step below the Major Leagues in the sense that most up and coming players will get called up from Double A.
Triple A of course is higher on the level totem pole than Double A but it is really not that simple. Triple A is more of older guys who have been up and down once or twice before, it is also filled with guys who could be roster fillers in the Big Leagues. Triple A is a tough league because there are many guys with Big League experience there and others who have just been in the game for a long time! Triple A usually has more up and down moves to the Major Leagues but Double A usually has more impact players sent to the Major Leagues.