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How Many Players Are on a Baseball Team? (MLB, NCAA, Youth)

How Many Players Are on a Baseball Team? (MLB, NCAA, Youth)

You may have seen a baseball team with 20 players, but not all of those players are on the field at the same time. You might be wondering if they just have that many players, or they keep some on the bench.

That is actually what is allowed in a roster, but there are 9 team players in each team.

How Many Players Are on a Baseball Team?

Teams may maintain 40 players on major-league contracts and have a maximum of 26 active players, with a small expansion—to 28 players—from September 1 through the end of the regular season.

Major League Baseball Team

There are 26 players on a Major League Baseball team’s roster. However, each MLB club can have as many as 40 players under contract for a single season and may add extra prospects from the minor leagues if necessary during the regular baseball season.

The 40-man roster is made up of all the players under contract with a Major League club’s organization who are on a major-league deal. These are the players who may be called up to the 25-man roster at any time.

NCAA Baseball Team

Back in December 2020, the NCAA Legislative Relief Committee extended a blanket exemption for Division I Baseball through the 2022 season, which allowed for a 40-man roster, 32 counters (scholarship players) and the continued reduction of the 25 percent scholarship minimum.

The vast majority of schools in Division 2 compete against schools from their regions, and they give 9 whole baseball scholarships, but these can be spread out among many players.

For Division 3, each team is allowed a maximum of 34 people in the dugout, including 24 eligible players in uniform, eight others in uniform (including the coaching staff), and two medical personnel who are not to be substituted.

Youth Baseball Team

The numbers are a little lower for youth baseball organizations than for adult ones. There are only 14 to 20 players permitted on most high school baseball teams. However, some youth baseball organizations allow their teams to have 11 to 15 active players on the field at any one time.

  • 8U – Ages 7 and 8. Baseball fundamentals are taught using an adult coach to throw balls to players. During the regular season and end-of season tournament play, a maximum of 10 players may be on the field at any one time. Every player is a batter.
  • 10U – Strict pitching limitations based on pitch counts, innings, or a combination thereof are in place and enforced. In a match, teams each have 9 players on the field at once. There is a two-inning defensive play rule that is required. Each member of the team must also play infield for one inning at the least in each game.
  • 12U – On the field, the team utilizes 9 players. The rule states that a defensive play is necessary for every two innings. Each team member must play one inning of each game in the infield for softball. All of the players in the batting order are present.

Minor League Baseball Team

  • Low-A – with an active roster size of 30. There must be no more than two players with 5 or more years of minor-league experience.
  • US-based Rookie – with no limit of roster size. There may be no more than three players over the age of four with four or more years of minor-league experience.
  • International Rookie – with an active roster of 35. There are no players with four or more years of minor-league experience.

What Does Active vs 40-Man Roster Mean in Baseball

A typical season consists of a mix of players from the 26-man roster (it was formerly 25), the list for bereavement/family medical emergency, the 7, 10 and 15 day injured lists, plus the paternity leave list, and some Minor Leaguers.

They are the team’s primary position players, pitchers, and replacement players. Active roster players are also on the 40-man roster. The only ones who wear a uniform and may enter the field at any moment are these players.

From the 2020 season through the present day, teams were permitted to increase their active rosters from 25 players to 40 after September 1, making them the only major league with variable roster sizes throughout the year.

What are the Positions of a Baseball Team Player

There are nine standard baseball positions; they’re more guided by experience and conventional practice than the rules. They are:

  • First Baseman
  • Pitcher
  • Shortstop
  • Center Fielder
  • Third Baseman
  • Catcher
  • Left Fielder
  • Right Fielder
  • Second Baseman
  • Designated Hitter

The First Baseman

A first baseman is the player who fields the area closest to first base, also known as first of four bases a base-runner must touch in succession to score a run. The first baseman is in command of the majority of plays made at that position.

The first baseman is in charge of both fielding grounders aimed at him and catching throws from infielders to nail a runner at first. The first baseman is frequently required to scoop or pick low throws out of the dirt.

The third baseman is labeled with the number 3 in the defensive play numbering system. The first baseman, often referred to as the cornerman or first sacker, is a righty who throws left-handed and has exceptional flexibility and quick reflexes.

The Pitcher

The pitcher is the person who attempts to retire a batter who wishes to hit or draw a walk by throwing a baseball from the pitcher’s mound to the catcher at the beginning of each play.

The pitcher must throw the ball within a certain distance of the batter in an attempt to get them out. The pitcher is one of the nine baseball player positions and as such, like all other players on the team, must abide by The Rules.

The pitcher is the most essential player in the game, with the potential to make or break a team’s success. Every play has the pitcher, as well as the catcher, involved. To be a good pitcher, you must have a strong arm and the ability to deliver the ball accurately.

The Shortstop

A baseball shortstop is an infielder who plays between second and third base. Shortstops are frequently called the team’s leaders on the field. The shortstop is the most essential infielder, as well as one of the most important fielders on the playing surface.

Shortstops are responsible for fielding balls hit to the left of second base, where they have less time to react than other fielders. Shortstops also cover more territory than any other player on the diamond, so they must always be ready to receive or grab line drives and ground-balls hit into the outfield.

The Center Fielder

The center fielder covers the main portion of the outfield when viewed from home plate. A center fielder has more ground to cover than either of the corner outfielders, thus distance is critical.

Catchers must be able to hit effectively while also maintaining a focus on their skills. Overall, collegiate center fielders must be well-rounded players that can cover ground in the outfield and have effective at-bats for their teams.

The Third Baseman

The player in baseball or softball whose duty is to defend the area closest to third base, the third of four bases a base-runner must touch in succession to score a run, is known as a third baseman. The third baseman’s number is ‘5’ in the defensive play recording system.

A third baseman defends the base, which is referred to as the ‘Hot Corner.’ It’s an extremely difficult defensive position. When a third baseman must complete the longest infield throw to get a runner at first base, there’s little margin for error.

The Catcher

The role of the catcher is a baseball or softball player’s position. When a batter is at bat, the catcher adopts a position behind home plate in front of the (home) umpire and receives the ball from the pitcher. The catcher is the most difficult position to master, as it’s on the far right.

The catcher will always be in a low squat whether there are runners on base or if the batter is facing strikes. Catchers are not only weaker in the low squat, but they’re also more athletic and quick. This theory is disputed by some coaches.

The Left Fielder

The left fielder is responsible for the left side of the outfield grass (when looking at the field from home plate). A left fielder’s speed and range are not as important as they are for a center fielder.

In baseball, the position of left fielder is used to describe an outfielder who defends in left field. The left field zone is the portion of the outfield to the left of a player positioned at home plate and facing toward the pitcher’s mound. In the method of recording defensive plays, the left fielder is assigned the number 7.

Keep in mind that the extreme left field is more challenging because more balls are hit to the left than to the right. However, with runners on first and third, the right fielder has more tosses to make. In general, the superior runner is on the left side and the superior arm is on the right.

The Right Fielder

The right fielder is in charge of the field’s right third, or sector (when looking from home plate). However, in order to throw from right field to third base when runners attempt to advance from first to third on a hit to right, they must have the greatest throwing arm on the team’s outfield crew.

The position of right field is generally the more difficult. Batsman hitting to the right (or left) generally tails one way or another, but a powerful arm is required of a right fielder.

They don’t just have huge power, but they also have the speed and coordination to make outstanding defensive plays in right field. Obviously, these are far less frequently visible, but they are usually among the best players.

The Second Baseman

The second baseman fields ground balls hit near him and then throws the ball to a base to make an out. In this situation, since the shortstop is covering second base, the runner must be pushed out at second base.

Second basemen must be agile and quick defenders with the potential to steal bases. They don’t have to be strong hitters, so they’re frequently players who play exclusively below 6′ at the professional level.

Second base is sometimes considered simple to play, and it’s where intermediate infielders are stationed who aren’t good enough to play shortstop. That isn’t correct, it just doesn’t consider that there is a lot of work to be done. Second base is not only one of the most essential fields positions, but it also requires a lot of effort. It’s not simple to achieve.

The Designated Hitter

A designated hitter is a player who bats in the lineup while the pitcher rests. The designated hitter does not take the field when his team is on defense because the pitcher continues to perform his regular tasks.

  • In Major League Baseball, the designated hitter is a position player who takes the place of the pitcher in the batting order. The pitcher’s plate is only allowed to be used with the DH.
  • The DH can play in the field, but once a manager decides to put him on defense, the pitcher assumes control of the batting spot that was occupied by the defensive player (unless there are many substitutions, in which case the manager can choose where the pitcher will bat).

Under the designated hitter rule, a team may replace the pitcher with another player. Because a pitcher is still considered a member of the team’s nine defensive players, he or she does not participate on defense under the designated hitter (or “DH”) rule.

Why Do Baseball Allow a Roster of 40 But Only 10 Plays?

A baseball team can have up to 40 players on its ‘active’ roster, but only the first nine are allowed to play in a game. The other players are held in reserve just in case they’re needed later.

It would obviously be too tiring for any one player-even an outfielder or catcher-to play all nine positions for nine innings, so they just don’t. The last player to bat in the lineup is designated as the ‘last man’ and plays right field for that game which is the 10th player.

The tenth player on a roster is called into duty when:

1) A player gets hurt during an at-bat and can’t continue;

2) A player in the field gets hurt and can’t continue;

3) A player in the bullpen gets tired, usually after pitching three or more innings;

4) A pinch-hitter replaces a last player to bat who is still at the plate;

5) If a player has been taken out of the game for a substitute, he can’t be put back in until the next inning;

6) If the game goes into extra innings, an 11th player is allowed to participate. (Exception: if there are two outs or runners on base when play ends, no new players will be added.)

The lineup must consist of nine players who start at positions arranged from the lead-off batter to the ninth player.

What is the Restricted List in Baseball?

The Restricted List is a list of players that are out of organized baseball but are not free agents.

A player can be on the Restricted List for a variety of causes, but it is essentially an excuse but with unpaid absence. A club may pay a player while he or she is on the Restricted List in some cases. It must be authorized by the Commissioner if a club asks him to add a player to the Restricted List.

What is a Paternity List in Baseball?

In 2011, the MLB implemented a paternity list. A player who is expecting a baby can be temporarily replaced on the roster by his team to allow him to attend to his newborn.

A player who is on the paternity leave list must miss the next team game, but no more than three games. The coaching staff may use another player from its 40-man roster to fill in for a player on the paternity leave list.

What Does DFA Mean in Baseball?

Designated for assignment is the act of releasing a player from his team’s 40-man roster, after which the club must, within seven days of the date of designation, return him to the 40-man roster, put him on waivers, trade him, release him, or outright him from the club’s 40-man roster.

When a player’s contract is designated for assignment, he is immediately removed from his team’s 40-man roster. Players with three or more years of Major League service time and who have previously been outrighted have the option of rejecting the outright assignment in favor of free agency.

Difference Between Major League Baseball Team and Minor League Baseball Team

In the United States, two different types of teams make up the baseball world. One is Major League Baseball (MLB), and the other is Minor League Baseball (MiLB).

While both are as competitive as each other in terms of skill, there are some differences between them that you should be aware of before deciding which one to support.

The following is a comparison of the two types of baseball teams.

Season Length

Major league baseball teams play about 162 games per season. However, minor league baseball teams play less than half that number, usually between 132 and 144 games each season. This does not mean that these teams are any less competitive than their major life counterparts. In fact, many minor league teams have been known to produce some of the most talented players in the MLB.

The primary reason behind this is that while major league teams are more concerned about their statistics and player development, minor league teams can afford to play more relaxed games that focus on providing a great experience for fans, even if they do lose a few. In addition, because players are not under as much pressure to win games while they are still in the minor league, it allows them time to hone their skills and increase their chances of making a successful career in the MLB.

Player Salaries

Another major difference between a MLB team and a MiLB team is that salaries for athletes on a major league team are much higher than those on a minor league team.

In fact, players in the MLB earn an average salary of $4.7 million per year, and this is expected to rise even further within the next few years. While players at MiLB do not earn as high salaries as their counterparts at the major league level at $15,000 per year, most players in MiLB do play to gain experience and exposure that they hope will one day lead them into the MLB.

In addition, it should be noted that players in minor league teams also receive housing and insurance benefits during their time with the team.

Money Dispersion

Minor league teams rely on support from fans and sponsors just as much as major league teams do. However, while major league teams rely on huge gate receipts and expensive sponsorships to support their finances, minor league teams typically work with much smaller budgets.

For this reason, it may seem like big name players in the MLB would be better off playing in a MiLB team just because of their potential exposure and salary options that come with it. However, the compensation for these players in terms of endorsements and sponsorships is usually much lower than what major league teams can provide for them.

This means that while minor league players may have to give up on some money, many are willing to do so because they are gaining invaluable experience at a higher level. However, this does not mean that players do not wish to move up from a minor league team to a major league team. In fact, many minor leaguers become so good at what they do that teams soon start recruiting them for the MLB.

The Future of Baseball

The future of baseball looks very exciting as more and more people fall in love with this great sport. While major league teams continue to dominate baseball as usual, those who play in the minor leagues take comfort in knowing that they are part of a team that looks out for their best interests. This is not to say that the future does not look bright for major league teams, but it’s just a different kind of excitement.

If you love baseball, then be sure to check out some minor league games and you will quickly notice the difference in how these teams play when compared to their major league counterparts.


In baseball, there are many different types of players on a team. Some players play for the major league teams while others help prepare them and develop before they get there, but all work together to bring success to their club. The rosters allowed may be different in number, but the rules of the game and the love for it remain the same. Be sure to check out a game soon!

How Many Players Are on a Baseball Team? (MLB, NCAA, Youth)