Major league baseball has multiple A Leagues of competition and skill levels. Ranging from Rookie Ball to the Major leagues, you will find a wide-range of talent across multiple baseball teams. Here is the breakdown between playing in AA and AAA for Minor League baseball.
What is MiLB?
MiLB stands for Minor League Baseball, while MLB stands for Major League Baseball. Minor league Baseball falls underneath professional baseball and has many different levels of talent. Two levels of talent that fans are most familiar with are AA and AAA.
What is AA Baseball (Double-A)
Double-A baseball is the second-highest level of baseball in the Minor league system after Triple-A. There are 30 Double-A Minor League teams in the league since there are 30 teams in Major League Baseball. The leagues, as of 2021, are the Texas League, Eastern League, and Southern League.
Double-A baseball generally is for young players and top prospects to perfect their skills. Top prospects from Single-A or Rookie leagues move into Double-A to play their regular season. Finally, rosters tend to be more stable in Double AA than the other leagues since this is where the most grooming of talent occurs.
What is AAA Baseball (Triple-A)
AAA baseball is the highest level of Minor League baseball. As of 2021, there are 30 AAA teams in the league. The leagues of AAA consist of twenty teams in the Triple-A East and ten teams Triple-A West. Triple-A baseball has more movement than Double-A because big-league teams send struggling or injured players to AAA. Players head down to AAA to work on something specific via player development with the coaches or just to rehab. However, not everyone who goes to AAA will come back to the majors.
Is the AAA League Level Better than AA in Baseball?
Since AAA is the highest level of minor league baseball, many people will assume it has better talent than AA since it is higher. However, that is not always the case. Sometimes baseball players move directly from Double-A to the majors, but here is a more concise breakdown below.
Triple-A baseball is a mix of top minor leaguers and a place where players come to when they struggle in the MLB full season of play. Some of these players who go back to AAA never make it back to the majors, however. In addition to that, AAA baseball is also a place where MLB players go and rehab. That means that a AAA roster has to send down players to a lower level to make space for an MLB star to play a few games.
AA baseball is generally where the future talent plays baseball. MLB teams tend to move a player from AA to the majors during the September call-up to get them familiar with the MLB level. Another thing teams do is invite some of their top talents to play in Spring Training to get an extra look from coaches and staff.
Where Do Minor League Teams Play?
Typically speaking, minor league teams play in smaller cities compared to where their professional baseball team plays. While not always the case, Major League teams try and have their AA and AAA teams close to their home city just in case they need to make an emergency call up.
For example, the New York Yankees (MLB Team) play their home games in the Bronx, NY at Yankee Stadium. Their AAA team, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders, play their home games out in Pennsylvania. The distance between the two venues is around 2 hours without traffic, so it is close enough to call up a player on short notice to fill a Major League baseball spot. The Yankees double-A team, the Somerset Patriots, play their games out in New Jersey, so it is close to NYC.
Who Owns Minor League Teams?
The MiLB (Minor League Baseball) is generally independently owned and operated but is affiliated with one major league team. The Major League team provides funding to the minor league team for salaries, benefits, and uniforms, while the Minors pay travel expenses. There are exceptions where some Major League teams own their minor league squads, however. Some examples include the St. Louis Cardinals owning the Springfield Cardinals and the New York Mets owning most of their minor league teams.
What are the Levels of the MLB?
Here are the levels of MLB from lowest to highest below.
- A Ball (Rookie Ball / Low A from recent draft picks)
- Short-Season A
- A-Level (Class A)
What is the Salary Difference Between the Two Levels?
Many people want to know if there is a major difference in salary for minor league levels. The difference in salary between AA and AAA is a few hundred dollars per week. If you are looking for a complete breakdown of how much minor league baseball players make, you can visit that link.
Are there Tryouts to Make it as a Minor League Player?
People ask if they can try out for a MiLB team in spring training or something similar. The truth is that you either need to be drafted out of high school or college or sign as a non-drafted free agent. An unofficial tryout occurs during Spring Training, where top players can play in front of big league coaches and hopefully leave a lasting memory.
When is the MiLB Draft?
The new MiLB draft will take place during the All-Star festivities in July. With recent changes to last year (2020), the MiLB Draft will only have 20 rounds instead of the traditional 40.
Conclusion on AA vs AAA Baseball
As you can see, Double AA and Triple-A baseball serve as critical foundations for every Major League baseball team. Developing players to enter a higher level, or get into the big leagues, can turn any franchise into a winning team. Please think of the New York Yankees Dynasty in the ’90s, where some of their best players came from their minor league teams. Players like Derek Jeter, Bernie Williams, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, and Mariano Rivera, to name a few.