Why an "Adopt A Minor Leaguer" Twitter Account is Completely Necessary - Part 1
Image courtesy of © Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports
If your response to the opening paragraph is something along the lines of “they are playing a child's sport for a living” or “they chose this route” then I would challenge you to think of this issue from a humanity perspective and less of a financial perspective. The foundation of our country is based on freedom and pursuing your dreams, and as a child growing up you are urged by your role models to pursue those dreams. This article will show you how easy it would be for a billionaire sport owner to provide a livable, not exuberant, salary for the very players they rely on for the future of their franchise (and its bottomline).
Before we get into the number crunching, I want to take a second to promote an account (temporarily locked) and website that has already raised thousands to this very cause. What started as a small account run by a local Minnesota man has turned into a national, and likely, international venture as it was taken under the wing of More Than Baseballwhose mission is to “enhance and protect the game of baseball”, according to their website. This mission includes providing financial assistance to minor leaguers to enhance their basic needs like housing and food as well as the professional need for equipment and services to plan for “life after baseball”. I know times are tough right now, but in the words of Jon Bon Jovi, “when you can’t do what you do, you do what you can”. That is to say that, whether you can or cannot donate, nothing hinders you from sharing this article with your friends and family and bringing additional light to the issue at hand.
Okay, lets dig into the numbers and start with the current salary structure of MiLB players. These numbers were retrieved from an NBC Sports article and organized in a table by myself.
Of course, these figures don’t take into account possible signing bonuses of which some can be quite large for the top draft picks. Using data from Andrew Thares article on the 2019 Minnesota Twins Player Draft their top overall pick, Keoni Cavaco, received $4.05 million for signing with the Twins. He was just fine making $3,480 over the three month rookie ball season. But what about everyone else?
The Twins were able to sign 32 of their 41 draft picks in 2019. Of the 32 signees, 13 signed for $30,000 or less, three signed for $10,000, one signed for $5,000, and seven signed for $1,000. For reference, The three players who signed for $10,000 beat the 2019 poverty line by a mere $990, according to the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (ASPE). As a reminder, not that you need it, signing bonuses are a one-shot deal. So other than having some sort of seasonal/part-time job for the other seven to nine months (depending on their level) after the year they are drafted the salary is all they earn for their season. For players that are fortunate enough to receive a signing bonus in the hundreds of thousands, they better spend wisely as it takes most players four to six seasons to reach the major leagues if they make it at all, per Business Insider.
For more on this topic, I would encourage you to check out this twitter thread from five-year minor leaguer Tyler Cyr of the San Francisco Giants. For some top notch minor league baseball stories, some about living conditions, former Twins farmhand and St. Paul Saints pitcher Todd Van Steenselis an awesome follow.
What are your thoughts on minor league pay? Do they deserve more? Why or why not? Next week, we’ll look a little deeper into the owners pocketbooks and analyze what it would cost owners to provide a livable, not exuberant, wage.
MORE ON @ADOPTMILBPLAYER
Sports Illustrated article
The Athletic article
Pioneer Press article
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