Potential Change to Rookie League Eligibility

Potential Change to Rookie League Eligibility


Via: League Office

As the in-game draft nears and the start of play in each of the Rookie Leagues approaches, I have been giving more and more thought into the “eligibility” of players at those levels.

The following is the number of players exceeding 25 years of age or 4 years of service time across the leagues:

Appalachian League: 4 players 25 years old or older, 59 players with 4 or more years of professional service time.

Arizona League: 6 players 25 years old or older, 28 players with 4 or more years of professional service time.

Gulf Coast League: 17 players 25 years old or older, 63 players with 4 or more years of professional service time.

Pioneer League: 7 players 25 years old or older, 42 players with 4 or more years of professional service time.

Using Baseball-References minor league pages from last season, the following is the average age of hitters and pitchers across the leauges:

Appalachian League: 20.5/20.9
Arizona League: 19.8/20.7
Gulf Coast League: 19.5/20.5
Pioneer League: 20.8/21.4

While I do not feel comfortable putting an age limit in place as it would create a distinct drafting philosophy difference between high-school and college prospects, I am heavily considering a limit on professional service time for players at the Rookie League Level.

I want to hear what people think regarding the following proposal:

PROPOSAL: Players across all four Rookie Leagues “must” have less than 4 years of PROFESSIONAL SERVICE TIME to be eligible to play at that level.

With this change, the following things would change:

  1. Players with 4 or more years of professional service time signed to MiLC would not be sent to the Rookie League. They would be assigned to your lowest level and would be subject to the roster limits that all of the other levels have. 
  2. The hope would be that prospects/youngsters would produce more predictable results if they are playing with players who are around the same level of experience.
  3. A pop-up would come up if you attempted to demote or place any player that did not meet the eligibility rule and the player would not be placed in the Rookie League.

What would this not do?

THIS WOULD NOT AUTOMATICALLY PROMOTE PLAYERS CURRENTLY AT THE ROOKIE LEAGUE LEVEL WHO WOULD NOT MEET THE ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS.

If this is implemented, a post would be made showing all players who do not meet the eligibility and the league office would ask that people come through with making changes.

To be clear, the factors that are considered with making changes such as these include but are not limited to:

  • Realism
  • The time it would take to implement and/or maintain the decision
  • The positive vs. negative consequences
  • The capabilities of the OOTP software

Please vote below OR contact Matt on Slack with your thoughts.