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The Progression of a Minor League Hitter

Hitters

16 years old:
All playing in the U.S. are good prospects.
Venezuelan and Dominican Summer Leagues is where the majority play.

17 years old:
Venezuelan and Dominican Summer Leagues is where many play.
Rookie Ball is the likely destination if they are in the U.S.
Short Season if a player is ahead of schedule.

18 years old:
Rookie ball is the likely destination after being drafted out of high school.
Short Season if a player is ahead of schedule out of high school.
All full time players above Short Season are good prospects and are more polished than average.

19 years old:
Rookie ball is if a player is lagging a little behind or a team is very cautious.
Short Season after extended spring training is a likely route.
Low A is the most likely destination, whether to start the year here or join after extended spring training.
High A players doing well are on track to be big league starters.
AA players doing well are on track to be stars.
AAA players will be stars unless it’s just for a few at bats.

20 years old:
Rookie ball is not a good destination unless it’s only for a few AB’s after signing. Most won’t succeed if they are repeating this level at this age.
Short Season is a likely destination for college draft picks after they sign and high school draft picks from the previous season after they leave extended spring training.
Low A is a likely destination for players on a slightly slower track.
High A is the most frequent assignment for the better prospects.
AA will be the best prospects, especially if they are not failing.
AAA will be great prospects and the best of these will be future stars.

21 years old:
Rookie ball is not a good destination unless it’s only for a few AB’s after signing. Players won’t succeed if they are repeating this level at this age.
Short Season is a likely destination for college draft picks after they sign.
Low A may be for players who are struggling with development. They aren’t guaranteed to fail but it’s not a good sign if they aren’t doing real well here.
High A is the most likely destination for players who were college picks the previous year and players who are on a slower track to the majors.
AA is the most frequent assignment for the majority of prospects. Players who do well will have a decent chance of being a big leaguer.
AAA will have the best prospects and half of the players doing well will be good major leaguers.

22 years old:
Rookie ball will be nothing more than organizational players.
Short Season will be nothing more than organizational players.
Low A players are unlikely to be good players.
High A will be players that are slowly progressing. They don’t have a strong chance of making it to the majors, but it isn’t zero, either.
AA is the likely assignment. This is where players frequently find out if they are going to cut it. About a third of the best players become big leaguers. The majority of prospects are here at this age.
AAA is where the best prospects in baseball are at. About 2/3 of the best prospects here will be big leaguers.

23 years old:
Rookie ball ignore.
Short Season ignore.
Low A is for players really struggling to turn tools into skills. Most are likely to wash out.
High A players are very unlikely to succeed. Most are organizational players but there are about 5% of these players that will be big leaguers.
AA is for the lesser prospects. They have taken longer to get here than the cream of the crop. About 1 out of 5 becomes a big leaguer and only the ones with the best performances get more than a cup of coffee.
AAA has the players that have graduated AA and have a 40% chance of being a solid big leaguer.

24 years old:
Rookie ball ignore
Short Season ignore
Low A has players that are organizational players who are often protection for other prospects. Not prospects.
High A is mostly organizational players. Not prospects.
AA has the slow developers, some are repeating AA but if they are doing well in AA, they have about a 10% chance to be a big leaguer.
AAA has the players moving up from AA and repeating AAA. They have a 40% chance of making it to the bigs.


25 and 26 years old:
Rookie ball ignore
Short Season ignore
Low A ignore
High A ignore
AA players are career minor leaguers. A few will make it to the majors but only the best players have a shot.
AAA players are career minor leaguers. A few will make it to the majors but only the best players have a shot.

Players over 27 aren’t prospects and if they make it to the majors, they won’t make much of an impact.

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