Independent Baseball Developmental Leagues

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In the coming weeks there will be information on this website about the “professional developmental” leagues which supplement/complement the independent professional baseball industry.  Many people are confused about these leagues.  They ask questions such as:


  • Are these professional leagues?
  • Are the players considered minor league players?
  • Are they a part of any particular independent league?
  • Will these players be on summertime rosters?

All of these are legitimate questions from the average fan’s perspective.  Here is the quick run-down on these leagues:

  • They are not official “professional” leagues as they often ask players to pay to play, usually covering all costs because the teams/leagues cannot survive financially on ticket sales/concessions/merchandise like the summertime professional leagues
  • The players, traditionally, are not part of a particular team or league.  The players pay to get instruction, exposure, and extra experience in order to have the best odds of playing for an independent league team or international team.  Rarely does a developmental league player get signed by an affiliated Minor League team, but it has happened
  • There is no guarantee that the players in a developmental league will appear on an independent league roster.  This can be for any number of factors, not the least of which is based on talent
  • Sometimes these leagues have affiliation with a particular independent baseball league.  Often they are separate, third-party entities which have relationships with professional baseball across several leagues

 

Some of these leagues are:

  • Arizona Winter League
  • California Winter League (new)
  • New York State League
  • Florida Winter League (suspended for now)

Other leagues have attempted to start for the profit potential, but there have been some “growing pains” associated with these leagues.  Some purists do not like these leagues because the barrier to entry is based, oftentimes, on the player’s financial situation; but others embrace these leagues because they believe that the leagues help prepare players for higher levels.

If you have experience with these leagues then feel free to leave your comments.  Please keep them relevant and know that all comments are moderated before being published.

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There are several good books about the independent professional baseball leagues. You are welcome to see a list of suggestions through this link: Books

Get notified of upcoming independent baseball tryouts from either of these services: first service or the second service. Prospective players can find some helpful resources here

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1 Comment

  1. I played in the Arizona Winter league, the level of play was decent on most parts. It is considered professional instructional. I signed after the end of my time with the AWl, to an independent team.

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