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March-May MiLB Player Releases Could Exceed 2019, 2018 Numbers

Across Minor League Baseball, players are receiving word of their official release, some months after they played their last spring training games and were sent home because of the novel coronavirus pandemic that shut down baseball and society at large.

In some cases, this is bad news that has been delayed. More than two-third of MLB teams did not complete their normal wave of releases in March (22 teams released five players or less and 18 released zero or one player).

Normally every team lets go of a significant number of players as minor league spring training wraps up—301 players were released in March 2019, according to MLB’s official MiLB transactions. This year only 131 MiLB players were released in the same timeframe.

But it would appear that in some cases, the releases are larger in scope than in a normal course of March-May MiLB transactions.

An agent told Baseball America that he had heard of one team releasing more than 50 players. Baseball America has as of yet been unable to independently confirm the exact number for any team.

To get a sense of what is normal, Baseball America looked at the number of releases from March-May in 2018 and 2019, according to MLB’s official transactions. In 2019, the average MLB team released 22 MiLB players over that timeframe. In 2018, the average was 25 MiLB players.

The most players any team released over that span in either year was the D-Backs’ 41 releases in 2019. The Indians released only nine players from March-May of 2018, helped by the fact that they were adding a second Arizona League complex team. Every other team over the two-year span released 10 or more players.

Baseball America expects to receive the official transactions for April and May early next week. Until then, here is a look at how many MiLB players each team released in 2018, 2019 and in March of 2020. The number for 2020 does not include any releases from this week, as they have not been verified through official transactions.

We also looked at the data for June. In 2018, teams released an additional 171 players (six per MLB club) and in 2019 they released an additional 233 (eight per MLB club).

MiLB Player Releases March-May
Chi. Cubs553918
Chi. White Sox512535
Kansas City52128
L.A. Angels662919
L.A. Dodgers321527
N.Y. Mets421510
N.Y. Yankees472021
San Diego323323
San Francisco442325
St. Louis441936
Tampa Bay252018

Blake Sabol . (Photo By John E. Moore III Getty Images)

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