Who is the highest paid minor league baseball player ? The Senate Judiciary Committee intends to hold a hearing on Major League Baseball’s antitrust exemption as it relates to the employment of players in the minor leagues.
There are two categories of minor league players: those with major league contracts on 40-man rosters, who are represented by the Major League Baseball Players Association, and those with minor league contracts, who are not unionized:
MAJOR LEAGUE CONTRACTS
Those with major league contracts who are in the minor leagues on optional or outright assignments have a minimum salary this year of $57,200 for the six-month season if playing under a first major league contract, and $114,100 if playing under a second or later major league contract. The vast majority of players in this category are playing at Triple-A, many of them shuttling back and forth to the major leagues. If called up to the majors, the minimum salary is $700,000 — which comes to $3,846 for each day in the big leagues.
The minimum salary is $400 weekly at rookie level, $500 at Class A, $600 at Double-A and $700 at Triple-A. Major League Baseball says 63% of players on opening day minor league rosters this year had salaries above the minimum and players also receive health care, tuition assistance, housing, meals and per diem during the season.
Among residents of the U.S. and Canada, who are subject to baseball’s draft, amateurs signing initial minor league contracts receive signing bonuses, most $20,000 and up. First-round picks last year received $7,922,000 to $1.8 million, and players among the top 75 selections received at least $747,500. About 95 players received under $20,000 each from among the roughly 740 draft-eligible players who signed.
Among residents of other nations, who are international amateur free agents, the 43 highest bonuses last year were $1 million or more. There were 370 players among roughly 520 signing who received signing bonuses of $20,000 or more and about 150 who received under $20,000.
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Minor League Baseball Player Salaries
As previously mentioned, MiLB players can make anywhere from $4,800 to $14,700 annually. The high-end of this scale is still below the minimum wage in the United States, which as of 2022, is an annual salary of $15,080 for a full-time worker making the Federal Minimum Wage of $7.50.
Organizations such as www.morethanbaseball.org are fighting for players to a make at least a minimum of $35,000 per year.
Payment Structure for Minor League Players at Different Levels
While some of the top stars and rookies will have the blessing of a massive signing bonus, this is not a luxury for most players in the minors. In 2021, the minimum weekly wage increased at all levels in Minor League Baseball.
The minimum weekly wage for the three levels:
Single-A from $290 to $500 per weekDouble-A from $350 to $600Triple-A from $502 to $700
Minor league baseball salaries hover at poverty level while major league teams earn big profits
Jeremy Wolf was with the Kingsport (Tenn.) Mets in 2016 when he broke the last bat he entered the minors with. He went to the team, the rookie league affiliate of the New York Mets, to ask for more, and he was told he would need to buy them himself with his own money.
That was Wolf’s introduction to the realities of minor league baseball after the Mets made him a 31st-round pick out of Trinity University in Texas in that summer’s draft. The more time he spent in the minors, the more the stark conditions became apparent to him.
Sometimes, he said, he and his teammates wouldn’t receive their allotted two meals per day.
“I would play hungry, and I would go to bed hungry,” Wolf said in a phone interview. “I played in front of 10,000 people a night, and I wouldn’t have food to eat after a game, and I wouldn’t have enough money to go get food.”
When Major League Baseball’s best take the field for the All-Star Game in Cleveland, some of the game’s highest-paid stars will be on display in the showcase for an industry that rakes in billions. But nearly all of those players arrived in the majors after spending at least some time in the minors, where players struggle with low salaries.
The average salary for a minor league baseball player, whose contract is handled by Major League Baseball, ranged from around $6,000 in Single-A to around $9,350 in Double-A to nearly $15,000 in Triple-A in 2018, according to The Athletic. Those wages cover only the months of the regular season. Players are not paid during spring training or in fall leagues.
The poverty line in 2019 is $12,490, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
Meanwhile, the average major league team is worth $1.78 billion, according to Forbes, and MLB set a record with $10.3 billion in revenue last season, according to Forbes,
There have been recent attempts to use that wealth to improve conditions for minor league baseball players. The Blue Jays moved to increase minor league pay by 40% to 56% earlier this year, but other teams have yet to follow their lead.
For fans who flock to FNB Field to watch the Harrisburg Senators, the Double-A affiliate of the Nationals, or those who head to FirstEnergy Stadium to see the Reading Fightin Phils, the Double-A affiliate of the Phillies, that reality might not be too apparent.
How much do AA players make?
Double a players make a minimum of $3,450 per week or $13,800 in total salary for the six months of the season.
While this does not sound like much, many AA players received signing bonuses when they were drafted.
Unfortunately, for those that weren’t drafted high, it is a hard way to make a living as each player is responsible for their living expenses which leaves them with not much at the end of each month.
In recent years, much has been made about minor league pay as former Giants minor leaguer turned lawyer Garrett Broshuis has helped file a class action lawsuit for fair compensation for minor leaguers.
MLB teams have long cast a dark shadow on what minor leaguers are paid, and Broshuis has helped peel back the onion, and the Supreme Court approved the lawsuit to move forward.
Here is a good video from a former Minor and Major Leaguer breaking down the differences in pay between the different levels
How much do single-A players make?
Single-A players make a minimum of $11,000 across a six-month season.
This amount can differ based on a minor league player’s contract with the big league club.
The minor leagues are meant to be transitional, with players moving throughout the minor leagues from A to AA or even up to AAA in one season, depending on the needs of the central league system.
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