Skip to main content

Paying Minor League Players Fairly

Charlie Drysdale at Minor League Ball wrote this excellent article. I posted this in the comments but I thought posting it here would get a different set of eyes on it.

As someone who is obsessed with all things baseball and considering I studied finance, I have a strong interest in how this lawsuit shakes out. I have thought about this a lot and have thought of many scenarios to fix this.
The dangling of the MLB carrot isn’t enough to mistreat people who have chosen this as their profession. The best step MLB could do to cut costs is to cut minor leagues. They could cut down to two minor league levels, carry around 50 players on each roster and reduce costs greatly. IF MLB loses this lawsuit, it could change the minors drastically. In all honesty, I would be in favor of this. I see it as a way of marketing the future of baseball better but that’s a whole different idea.
The cost of paying players in underrated in the comments above. Last year, more than 6400 players played in the minors. A little quick and dirty mate. here. Using $7.25 as minimum wage, working 60 hours a week, with 20 on overtime for 7 months, that is $13,185. Multiply that by the amount of players and we are looking at $85 million. That’s a lot of money. Remember these are the owners that didn’t want to throw $1 million apiece for a few years to start MLBAM which is an enormous cash cow now.
If I was MLB dictator, this is what I think is fair:
MLB minimum is $500k this year. Using this as a basis for players trying to get there and the odds that they do for a base salary works out pretty well actually. Minor leaguers graduate at different levels based on their skills and I think this would just be the skeleton for a larger system to be set in place to label and tier minor league talent. This could also be used by teams to help categorize their talent. I think most of us have a job title, why shouldn’t a minor leaguer.
AAA players are often close to MLB talent and 76.2% of them make it to the majors. Rookie ball players have a strong challenge ahead of them and only make it at a 9.12% rate. Foreign summer leagues are tougher to judge because of the short track record and unique environment but my initial data says about 4% will make it to the majors. Using that method:
Salary Level
$222,250 AAA
$107,333 AA
$62,008 High A
$45,733 Low A
$20,150 Short Season
$15,200 Rookie
$6,667 Foreign Summer
That would have costed MLB $317 million last year. For perspective, the total draft slots for the first 10 rounds of the 2013 draft was about $203 million.
That seems reasonable and I’m aiming high here but if I were to be fair to players, that’s how I’d pay them.
Just to make you think a little, if this were set into place in 1990, basing it on the same number of players in the minors and using MLB minimum salary as the basis, MLB would have paid out 2.82 Billion with a “B” to minor leaguers. Using revenue totals from 1995-2013 from and estimating 1990-1994, this would have been 2.46% of revenue.

These numbers, torn apart, aren't crazy. Using 7 months, a 40 hour work week and estimating 20 hours of overtime weekly, which seems fair, these are what the hourly rates would work out to be.

Level Hourly Rate
AAA $104.79
AA $50.61
High A $29.24
Low A $21.56
Short Season $9.50
Rookie $7.17
Foreign Summer $3.14
Rookie ball wages come out to be very close to federal minimum wage, as you'd expect from a low level employee. Low to High A ball players get what would be a sustainable wage and similar pay to that of another industry in which you use your body to make a living like building construction or masonry. AA level players would get paid requisite of a professional. Someone who is capable of strong decision making and responsibility like a supervisor, manager or hold special skills like a pharmacist or an actuary. AAA level players are paid as top assistants who could step into a position and be capable of handling it without a large downgrade(mlb up and down guy) like an assistant city manager or someone who has elite ability in one specific area (4A slugger) like an anesthesiologist. 


Popular posts from this blog

Names to Watch for 2011 and 2012 Draft

For more information on the draft, check out my new blog MLB Bonus Baby for more information regarding the draft.

Over the next month or so, I will be moving most Draft related info to MLB Draft Prospects. MiLB Prospects will be more focused on current minor leaguers.

These lists are far from perfect but it's a start

Aaron Brown , OF , Chatsworth HS, Calif.
Aaron Westlake , OF , Vanderbilt
Aaron Collazo , SS , Lady Bird Johnson, San Antonio, TX
Aaron Deguire , C , El Camino College
Aaron Dunsmore , OF , Dayton
Aaron Fanning , SS , Northwest (TX) HS
Aaron Gretz , C , Apple Valley, Apple Valley, MN
Aaron Johnson , LHP , Dunham, Baton Rouge, LA
Aaron Knapp , MIF , Granite Bay Granite Bay CA
Aaron Moore , RHP , Westwood Austin TX
Aaron Nola , RHP , Catholic, Baton Rouge, LA
Aaron Novak , OF/RHP , Germantown Academy (PA)
Aaron Thomassen , RHP , Nathan Hale Seattle WA
Aaron Westlake , 1B/OF , Vanderbilt
Abram Cartledge , LHP , Thomson, Thomson, GA
Adam Bennett , SS/RHP , …

Dominican Summer League Top Prospects

Here you will find something NO OTHER site does, that I'm aware of. That is rank the DSL and VSL prospects. This is a purely statistical analysis.
I could go deeper but I only went 25 here as I don't know who any of them are past this. I'm not even familiar with most of these guys. I like Mejias, Duran, Calderon, Domoromo, and Morillo the most.

1 Cesar Ciurcina , P , MIN
2 Alving Mejias , P , COL
3 Grabiel Hernandez , SS , STL
4 Rafael Ortega , OF , COL
5 Pedro Guerra , P , MIN
6 Randol Rojas , P , TEX
7 Andy Otero , P , ATL
8 Wilson Sanchez , P , MIN
9 Gilbert Gomez , OF , NYM
10 Yucarybert De La Cruz , 2B , NYM
11 Kelvin Duran , OF , NYY
12 Lewis Urena , 2B , BOS
13 Smaily Borges , 1B , CHC
14 Dioris Robles , OF , CLE
15 Keury De La Cruz , OF , BOS
16 Yeico Calderon , OF , NYY
17 Carlos Willoughby , 2B , SF
18 Luis Domoromo , OF , SD
19 Teodoro Martinez , OF , TEX
20 Arismendy Alcantara , SS , CHC
21 Eswarlin Jimenez , P , LAA
22 Gabriel Perez , P , LAA
23 Ericson Leonora , OF , NYY
24 Luis de L…

Top 300- 2010 MLB Draft Prospects

Name POS Schools
1 Bryce Harper C Southern Nevada CC
2 Jameson Taillon RHP The Woodlands (Texas) HS
3 Anthony Ranaudo P LSU
4 Drew Pomeranz LHP Mississippi
5 Nick Castellanos 3B Archbishop McCarthy HS, FLA
6 Bryce Brentz OF Middle Tennessee State
7 AJ Cole P Oviedo HS, Orlando
8 Zack Cox 3B Arkansas
9 Austin Wilson OF Harvard-Westlake HS, CA
10 Deck McGuire RHP Georgia Tech
11 Karsten Whitson RHP Chipley HS, Bartow, Fla.
12 Christian Colon SS Cal State Fullerton
13 Matt Harvey P North Carolina
14 Levon Washington 2B/OF Chipola JC
15 Manny Machado SS Brito Prep, Miami
16 Josh Sale OF Bishop Blanchet HS, SEA
17 Chris Sale LHP Florida Gulf Coast
18 Jedd Gyorko 2B West Virginia
19 Brandon Workman P Texas
20 Stetson Allie 3B St. Edward HS, Lakewood, Ohio
21 Brian Ragira OF Martin HS, Arlington
22 Dylan Covey P Maranatha HS, Pasadena, CA
23 Derek Dietrich SS Georgia Tech
24 DeAndre Smelter P Tattnall Square GA
25 Kevin Gausman RHP Grandview HS, Aurora, Colo
26 Cameron Bedrosian P East Coweta HS, Sharpsburg, GA
27 Jos…