Baseball is back, though for the minors it was never actually gone. Kristina Airdo has a great primer on all the pertinent changes in the new CBA, but let’s look at some of the ones specific to the minor leagues.
First, let’s start with the easy changes, there will not be a major league portion of the Rule 5 draft for 2022; as some might know, the minor league portion has already happened. It is definitely a bummer for a lot of players right on the cusp of a 40-man spot, as they won’t reap the benefits of the increased minimum salary for MLB players. But front offices are probably happy they get to keep these players. Thankfully, it looks like the Rule 5 draft will be back for both the majors and minors for the 2023 season.
Second, an issue that Joel Sherman runs through here, the new rule that players cannot be optioned more than five times in a single season:
3/don't want to use to avoid deploying too many options too soon in the season. The option issue was not minor. Consider that 8 teams, including the #Yankees, optioned at least 3 players 6 or more times in 2021. Thanks to Eric Nehs of MLB Network for that stat.— Joel Sherman (@Joelsherman1) March 11, 2022
This is probably just specific to 2022 because of a later start, but this could be a great excuse to make MLB rosters bigger — or a good way to show that this rule might not be very smart. It may also mean more players get a chance to get to MLB in a given season, in order to keep the in-season option limit down on the most valuable players shuttling between Triple-A and the majors.
Third, the punted down the road rules: an international draft, and the new rules committee where MLB could institute new rules unilaterally. Obviously, an international draft would drastically change how MLB organizations get talent that will start in the minors. However, one of the agreed-upon aspects on the draft would be getting rid of draft pick compensation for certain MLB free agents.
For an MiLB perspective on new rules, now that MLB can do what they want, any changes they institute in the minors first will officially be test cases to see if they will work in the majors. MLB has been running live tests of new rules for awhile already in MiLB, but they can now do the same thing in the big leagues.
- A draft lottery system for the top six picks, though it is only for the first round (rounds 2-20 will be reverse standings)
All 18 non-playoff clubs will enter a lottery for the top six picks. The percentage chances of each team getting the No. 1 choice, in reverse order of winning percentages: pic.twitter.com/lzWR3PeOqW— Jim Callis (@jimcallisMLB) March 11, 2022
- As a way to stop some of the service-time manipulation (althought we really need to see how it works in practice first), teams can receive draft compensation “If an eligible prospect makes an Opening Day roster, receives a full year of service time in that season, and receives sufficient award consideration in any season before qualifying for arbitration while with the same club.” What does eligible prospect mean? No matter, this concept seems like something that could work depending on the quality of the draft pick compensation — although it won’t be a first-rounder.
The new CBA has brought a lot of changes for both the majors and the minors, and hopefully they will all turn out for the best.