Everyone hears about the monster contracts that Major League baseball players sign during the offseason. As of this writing, nine players have contracts of $300 million or more. One, Mike Trout, signed a contract worth $426.5 million.
Juan Soto of the Washington Nationals reportedly rejected a 15-year deal worth $440 million days before winning the 2022 Home Run Derby at Dodger’s Stadium in Los Angeles.
What most people never hear about is the far from liveable wages that minor league baseball players have to deal with. When hours put into training, travel, and games are added up, the amount the majority of ballplayers make falls below minimum wage.
Average Minor League Baseball Salary
High draft picks are often associated with large signing bonuses. A first-round pick will end up signing for millions.
2022 First-round bonus pools from MLB.com:
- Orioles: $8,846,900
- D-backs: $8,189,400
- Rangers: $7,591,600
- Pirates: $7,005,800
- Nationals: $6,497,700
- Marlins: $6,037,500
- Cubs: $5,711,000
- Twins: $5,442,400
- Royals: $5,202,900
- Rockies: $4,983,000
- Mets: $4,780,700
- Tigers: $4,590,300
- Angels: $4,412,500
- Mets: $4,243,800
- Padres: $4,085,000
- Guardians: $3,937,600
- Phillies: $3,794,800
- Reds: $3,659,800
- Athletics: $3,531,200
- Braves: $3,409,200
- Mariners: $3,292,900
- Cardinals: $3,182,200
- Blue Jays: $3,076,900
- Red Sox: $2,976,400
- Yankees: $2,880,800
- White Sox: $2,789,400
- Brewers: $2,701,900
- Astros: $2,621,700
- Rays: $2,548,900
- Giants: $2,486,800
Most players in the lower levels aren’t guys that were drafted in the higher rounds. Even 2nd-9th round draft selections get six-figure bonuses. As mentioned earlier, the thousands of minor leaguers fighting for a shot to make it to the majors make less than minimum wage.
Things are at least heading in the right direction. Prior to the 2020 season, Major League Baseball issued a memo to their ballclubs instructing them that increases between 38% and 72% were in order.
In 2019, the Toronto Blue Jays decided to increase their minor league player salaries by 50%.
I’m glad there has been some dialogue and a decision made in the last week to suggest that guys are going to be compensated differently than they may have been in the past,” he said. “We’ll have to see how other teams either do or don’t fall in line behind them.– Tony Clark
How Much Do Single-A Baseball Players Make?
The average salary in A-ball was $6,000 in 2018. The recent changes have raised the weekly pay from $290 to $400.
All minor league players will still only be paid for five months of the year. This forces many major league hopefuls to redirect their focus from baseball full-time, searching out other employment for the remainder of the year.
How Much Do Double-A Baseball Players Make?
Moving up to AA will net you roughly a $3,000 raise, averaging the salary to $9,350 for someone just two steps away from the bigs. This was increased from $350 to $600 weekly.
How Much Do Triple-A Baseball Players Make?
It’s worth noting that the MLB minimum salary for the 2022 season is $700,000.
Minor league players just one stop from realizing their dreams earn a compensation closer to $15,000. The $500 per week they were earning has been raised to $700.
Average Major League Baseball Salaries
$700,000 is the league minimum, but the average salary across the league is a whopping $4.41 million. Up nearly 6% from the 2021 season.
That average can be skewed a bit by the MVP and Cy Young level players making $20+ million per year, but the disparity between the major league minimum and what minor leaguers are making is a failure by MLB.
Rob Manfred Salary
MLB’s Commissioner Rob Manfred makes $17.5 million dollars per year… 25 times the MLB minimum.
Manfred has been the subject of scrutiny for his stance on Minor League pay. His comments at this year’s All-Star Game have been called out by an advocacy group after making a statement “rejecting the idea” that minor leaguers aren’t paid a living wage.
Investments should be made by these teams to ensure every opportunity for their minor league players to succeed. It appears that clubs feed more on their strong desires to reach the majors at all costs.
Any player that isn’t willing to live the almost mandatory frugal lifestyle can easily be replaced by another player that is. Until their dreams are realized, or until they choose to quit, most minor league players will have to continue to live six men to a small apartment and sleep in bunk beds to make due.
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