MLB has the most active minor league system in the U.S. The NHL is the only league that comes close to rivaling it. The sports bettor needs to be aware of the many ways that a strong minor league system can be used by the parent organization. Here’s a consideration of the minor leagues and how they can affect the majors.
There are various levels of minor league play, with the most important ones being A, Double A (AA), and Triple A (AAA). Every major league club is associated with a team at each level. The A level is the lowest and the AAA level is the highest. Triple A is considered to be the last step before the majors, but some players do come up from AA and even sometimes A ball.
In the minors, you’ll find a few different types of players. You will have young players who are, working their way up to the majors, players who have been in the majors and have been sent back down for either more experience or for rehab assignments, and veterans who are at the end of their careers. This final group may have kicked around the minors for their entire career, or they may have played in the majors.
How the Minors Are Used
Minor league baseball teams are used in two primary ways. The first is that they send the MLB new players when someone is hurt, when a minor league player is ready for the majors, or when the roster expands during the postseason.
Also, minor league players are often used in trades. Teams give up promising prospects for players who are ready to play in the majors or who may be ready soon. Sometimes those in the minors are that designated “player to be named later.”
Some teams decimate their minor league system in order to get the players that they need now in order to make a run at the playoffs. Trading too many good prospects can greatly weaken a franchise for many years, as they give up players who were less than a year or a few years away from becoming major leaguers.
Explore the Minors
It’s easy enough to get an idea about how good a club’s minor league teams are. Serious sports bettors should take some time to research the AAA team, and to get an idea about the others. Who are the up-and-coming players, what positions might they fill, and how will they help the team? Pitching is often the biggest concern, and a minor league system that is developing solid pitchers is highly desirable. Also, a system that has talented and skilled players who can be brought up at a moment’s notice to contribute when players are injured is extremely helpful.
The Long Season
In baseball, the minors are important due to the fact that the major leagues has a 162-game regular season. With that many games, players get hurt and they need to be replaced for a time. Sometimes the replacement player is on the team for a short time. Other times, however, they may be needed for weeks, months, or the rest of the season. MLB teams with a deep minor league system can be helped a lot as the season gets into the dog days of summer and the early fall push for the postseason.