First Pitch: What Happens to Players Who Don’t Make Minor League Rosters?

The rosters are out for three of the four Pittsburgh Pirates full season minor league affiliates. The only roster remaining is the West Virginia Power. In the process of announcing rosters, some names get left off the list, with questions about where the player is expected to play. If it’s an injury, then we usually have that information in the article when the rosters are released. But some players are just stuck in no-man’s land, due to a numbers game. So where do these players go if they don’t make the Opening Day rosters?

A lot of these players will hang back in extended Spring Training, hoping to take a spot when an injury comes up at an appropriate level. This isn’t a great situation to be in, since it involves being the 26th or 27th man on the Triple-A roster. That’s why teams will try to make these players available to other teams who might give them a better opportunity.

Sometimes, a player is held back to work on something specific, or just for more evaluation. I’d imagine that’s why we haven’t seen Vance Worely on any rosters yet. I’d expect him to eventually report to Indianapolis, but his absence could either be due to the numbers game in Triple-A, the fact that he’s new to the organization and is a big reclamation project, or both. This happened a few years ago with Robby Rowland. The right-hander was acquired from the Arizona Diamondbacks at the end of Spring Training, then spent the first month and a half working in extended Spring Training before joining West Virginia.

Some of the players who are missing from the rosters end up getting released, although we’ve reported all of the known releases from the organization.

Usually these questions become clear when the extended Spring Training rosters are released. Extended Spring Training starts on Thursday with a few camp days. The Pirates play their first game on Monday. If you’re unfamiliar with Extended Spring Training (“extended”), it’s just like regular Spring Training, except that it’s mostly for players in short-season leagues. It’s a place where players can focus on development, and get live game action in an extremely controlled environment.

The majority of players in extended are guys who will play for Jamestown, Bristol, or the GCL this summer. You’ve also got some rehab players, and that list will be very popular at the start of this season, with Jameson Taillon, Austin Meadows, Tyler Glasnow, and Stetson Allie beginning their seasons in extended. Chris Stewart and Jeff Locke are also currently in Bradenton, doing their own Major League rehab work (which is different from an official rehab assignment — that only takes place at an official Minor League level). Finally, you’ve got all of the guys who didn’t make the full-season teams, but are still depth options for those teams.

I’ll have an Extended Spring Training roster posted when it is finalized. That will answer any questions wondering where a certain player might be. Until then, if you don’t see a guy on any minor league rosters, and you don’t see him listed in any transactions, assume he’s in extended Spring Training for one reason or another.

Links and Notes

**The 2014 Prospect Guide is in stock on the products page of the site. The book features profiles, scouting reports, and grades on every player in the minor league system, including our top 50 prospects. The Prospect Guide has been mentioned as a resource several times on the Pirates’ broadcast, and has been purchased as a source of reference by opposing MLB front office members, opposing scouts, and media members. If it’s a good resource for them, it’s a good resource for you. You can order your Prospect Guide on the products page of the site.

**If you missed it over the weekend, here are all of the season preview articles:

**Indianapolis Indians Opening Day Roster

**Altoona Curve Release Opening Day Roster

**Bradenton Marauders Announce Opening Day Roster

**The New Revenue in MLB Didn’t Lead to a Big Increase in Payrolls

First Pitch

  • +++ Tintin.The poor food and some of the lousy living conditions were bad enough. I knew one MiLB pitching coach,at the AA level yet,who had to live in the Home team locker room because he was making so little money and had a family to support. And that was a coach who 2 years later was a MLB pitching coach ! You can imagine what the organizational type players were making.

  • You got that right Lee , in a New York minute .

    • If you were around Minor League ball and the players for any length of time to see the difficulties and disappointments involved,you might reconsider. For those players with less than a heavy financial investment made in them by an orginization,it can be very,very tough time.

      • I understand that and have been around minor league teams and have had several discussions with players who will never make it as well as a few that have a chance . As you say it is a tough life particularly for their families if they are married but if I had a chance I would have jumped at it .

  • Leefoo Rug Bug
    April 2, 2014 7:54 am

    Thanks Tim. I’ve read a few books about how tough a life it is to be a minor leaguer…always chasing the dream (most recent one by Hayhurst).

    Not an easy life…but one I would’ve done in a heartbeat….lol.