Little League Baseball Draft Rules

By Ron White

Little League Baseball, of the most well-known youth sports organizations in the United States, uses a draft to determine the teams for most of its league play. Coaches make selections from a pool of available players. To streamline and regulate Little League drafts, the international organization includes draft rules in its annual Official Rules and Playing Regulations. All Little League organizations are required to follow the published rules on drafting of players. The rules, though, provide significant opportunity for individual leagues to develop their own draft rules.

General Rules

The league player agent is responsible for supplying the coaches with a list of all available players. The list should include the name and age of each player. A league official determines the draft order, and coaches then take turns selecting playing from the list of available players. Players are not allowed to select players who are not on the list of available players. Local league boards are allowed to limit the amount of time each manager is provided for the selection of a player. Little League rules also make coaches’ children available to other coaches after a predetermined draft round. Therefore, coaches must draft their own children by the predetermined round to ensure that their kids play for their own team. When parents wish for multiple children to play for the same team, they must make this request to the league at least 48 hours prior to the draft. When a manager drafts a sibling, he retains the right to draft the other sibling on his next turn. If he fails to do so, the sibling becomes available to other managers.

Pre-Draft Tryouts

Prior to drafting, players are required to attend one of multiple tryout sessions. During these sessions, players are numbered and organized. The numbers and names are provided to managers and coaches in attendance. Coaches and managers use the rosters to record evaluation of players. The evaluations can be used by coaches during the drafting process.

Division Selection

The league player agent determines the division where each player is placed for drafting purposes. The agent makes the determination based on the age of the child and the child’s skill level, as determined by scores from tryouts. Generally, the Junior Division is composed of children in the 13-14 age bracket and the senior division is composed of children age 15-16. Leagues, though, have the opportunity to move some or all 14-year-old players to the Senior Division. The Big League division is composed of players 17-18 years of age, but leagues can include 16-year-old players in the Big League division. Players must play in the division in which they are drafted.

Trading

Managers are allowed to trade drafted players up to 14 days after the first scheduled game. The player agent must handle the trades. Managers are only allowed to trade one player for another player. Trades involving future draft choices are not allowed. All trades must be for justifiable reasons and must be approved by the local league board.

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