Major League Baseball Extends the MLB Draft League Through 2030 and adds Two Teams

Major League Baseball announced a commitment to extend the MLB Draft League through 2030 while committing to adding two more squads.

SCOTTSDALE, AZ - MAY 23: Oregon infielder Sabin Ceballos (21) at the plate during a Pac-12 Baseball Tournament game between the California Golden Bears and the Oregon Ducks on May 23rd, 2023, at Scottsdale Stadium in Scottsdale, AZ. (Photo by Zac BonDurant/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Major League Baseball announced on Thursday that they have extended their commitment to the MLB Draft League through 2030 while also announcing that they will add two additional teams to the league, bringing the total up to eight within the next few seasons.

The MLB Draft League was founded in 2021 with six teams making up the league, all of which were former minor league affiliated squads that were cut following the reorganization of MiLB teams that saw 43 teams lose affiliation with a Major League squad. The realignment followed the 2020 COVID campaign, with MLB organizations being able to pay minor league players more in terms of salary while cutting down on costs with one less affiliated club within the farm system.

With this extension through 2030, the MLB is extending the league to give draft-eligible players and those looking to take their talents to the professional level an additional opportunity to showcase their talents to various scouts and club representatives from across the league. To join the MLB Draft League, respective players are required to fill out a form on the official website or a coach or representative can do so on a player’s behalf.

The six original teams include the Trenton Thunder, Williamsport Crosscutters, Frederick Keys, State College Spikes, Mahoning Valley Scrappers, and West Virginia Black Bears, who have won the MLB Draft League championship the past two seasons. The MLB Draft League also boasts coaches and managers, both past and present, who have MLB experience and can pass along their knowledge, including Jesse Litsch, René Rivera, Coco Crisp, Jeff Manto, Dmitri Young, David Carpenter, Ezequiel Carrera, Quinton McCracken, Ryan Hanigan, and many others who are making an impact off the field in new roles since 2021.

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The season is split into two different segments, with the first portion (35 games) being dedicated to draft-eligible players ranging from high school seniors through the college ranks, including Division 1 to Division 3, NAIA, and Junior College players.

This gives players a chance to showcase their talents to scouts in hopes of either improving their draft stock or putting themselves into a position to get drafted by facing other competitive players before the draft, held now at the Midsummer Classic in mid-July. Even if a player is still participating with their college team at the start of the season, they can still find a spot with a squad once their respective college campaign comes to an end.

The second segment of the season (45 games) is for players who are no longer eligible for amateur/post-secondary baseball, mostly graduating college players, to show off their talents for a professional contract, whether that is through the MLB or independent ball. This league is considered professional as well, with players being paid for their efforts while receiving housing, meals, and transportation coverage.

Since the MLB Draft League has been introduced, over 230 players have gone on to sign with a Major League organization whether it is through the draft or as an undrafted free agent. Currently, eight players who suited up in the MLB Draft League and were drafted or signed by an MLB organization have reached triple-A while 37 more alum have graced a double-A diamond as well.

The highest-drafted college player from the league is infielder Sabin Ceballos (Oregon), who suited up for the Williamsport Crosscutters in 2022 and was drafted a year later in the third round, 94th overall by the Atlanta Braves. The highest-drafted prep player is shortstop Devin Saltiban (Hilo High School), who was selected 98th overall in last year’s MLB Draft by the Philadelphia Phillies after posting a .262/.354/.405 slash line while suiting up for the West Virginia Black Bears. Overall, 47 players from the MLB Draft League were selected in the MLB Draft last summer.

With this six-year extension, the MLB is continuing to support prospect development and bringing competitive baseball back to at least six cities within the United States, which will include two more squads shortly (with sites still to be determined).

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This will allow for more players to get exposed to big league scouts and other professional organizations within the independent ball system and continue to enhance the pipeline for Major League squads to continue stocking respective farm systems with talented prospects.