Ask BA: How Many Players Are In Each Organization?
Q: How many baseball players are in each organization?
-- Jake Klingman, Silver Spring, Maryland
A: That seems like a simple question, bu the answer is actually somewhat complicated. During the offseason, each organization may have as many as 40 players on its MLB roster, 38 on its Triple-A roster, 37 on its Double-A roster and 35 on every other roster. So a club with a standard setup of seven minor league affiliates would be allowed to have up to 290 players under contract. While no organization ever maxes out every possible roster spot, they generally have around 275-280 players under contract at one time.
Therefore, one of the benefits of having an extra minor league affiliate is the ability to sign additional players.
Thanks to a robust international scouting program (and plenty of financial resources), the Yankees field nine affiliates, including five below the full-season level. They have one affiliate in the short-season New York-Penn League, one in the Rookie-level Appalachian League, two in the Rookie-level Appalachian League, two in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League and one in the Dominican Summer League.
Those extra affiliates allowed the Yankees to have roughly 340 players under contract in late July. That's roughly 50 more than other organizations are even allowed to sign, which can create a competitive advantage. The Yankees can sign more late-round draft picks, nondrafted free agents and low-cost international amateurs than teams with fewer minor league teams.
And once those players are in the organization, there are more at-bats and innings available to help them develop.