How Many Players are on a Baseball Team? (Full Guide)

Baseball is a sport played with two teams of nine players on a field of four bases in a diamond design. However, some baseball associations have different numbers of required players. Additionally, certain rules can change the number of players on each team.

In professional baseball, the active roster can be from 22 to 26 players. Also, Major League Baseball (MLB) can expand its player roster up to 28 by the beginning of 2021.

If MLB teams can have up to 28 players, how about minor league baseball teams? Also, how many players are allowed in college and youth baseball teams? What are the differences between the 25- and 40-man roster in baseball? Here, you can find the answers to these questions, and more!

players on baseball team

The MLB is the highest level of the sport, but it also comes with strict restrictions, particularly in its player roster. With that in mind, the league allows up to 26 players per team on a normal season. However, teams can have a 27th player for doubleheaders. Teams can also add an extra player (leading to a maximum of 28 players) for substitutions.

Before, the MLB only allowed its teams to have a maximum of 26 players. However, the COVID-19 pandemic made the association rethink its guidelines to accommodate teams while ensuring the health of its members.

These changes originally called for 30 active players during the first two weeks of the height of the pandemic. However, the league changed their initial rulings to 28 active players per team after two weeks after the previous announcement.

Take note that players on the Injured, Paternity, and Restricted Lists don’t count to the active roster ceiling. However, these athletes still count towards the 40-man limit (which will be discussed in a later section).

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How Many Players are on a Minor League Baseball Team?

Minor League Baseball Team

Like the MLB, the minor league is no stranger to strict player roster rules. Here, teams have a limit of 25 active players per team. Teams can also have a total of 35 players for A and A-Advanced Class leagues. Additionally, all short-season leagues require teams to adhere to a 35-player limit. Injured players and those athletes in rehabilitation assignments don’t count to the active player count.

Minor league baseball teams should also follow other rules when picking their players. For instance, short-season leagues prohibit players with more than three or four years of baseball experience. However, the teams can still enlist an MLB player in rehabilitation for an injury.

How Many Players are on a College Baseball Team?

College Baseball Team

College baseball teams are larger than MLB teams. First, teams in the NCAA Division I baseball category have a 35 active player limit. On the other hand, NCAA Division II baseball teams can have up to 34 active players. Further, NAIA institutions, such as the University of Antelope Valley and the Arizona Christian University, can have a maximum of 38 active players in their baseball teams. Last, NJCAA schools can only have 30 players. Keep in mind that NCAA Division III schools don’t allow athletic scholarships.

The reason why college baseball teams can cater to more players than the major or minor leagues is because of player experience. Most, if not all baseball players at the collegiate level are amateurs, which means the athletes have higher risks of injuries. Therefore, teams can have more substitute players if an individual is incapable of joining matches. These substitutes can also pitch in (no pun intended) when some players are unable to join games because of academics.


How Many Players are on a Youth Baseball Team?

Youth Baseball Team

Baseball teams at the high school level are tougher to nail down because of the different governing bodies. However, most youth baseball leagues set smaller numbers than their major, minor, or college-level counterparts.

Many high school baseball teams can only have up to 14 to 20 active players. However, some youth baseball associations allow their teams to have 11 to 15 active players.

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What is the 25-Man and 40-Man Roster in Baseball?

25-Man and 40-Man Roster in Baseball

The 25-Man Roster

As its name implies, the 25-man roster is an MLB team composing of 25 players. Also called the active roster, this team will have eight starting positions, along with its pitchers and reserve players. Players listed on the 25-man roster can also play on the 40-man roster.

Generally, a 25-man roster will have the following athletes and their positions:

At the beginning of the 2012 season, MLB teams can now have 26-man rosters for ‘day-night’ doubleheaders. It’s an instance when teams need to play two games on the same day.

The 40-Man Roster

Also known as the expanded roster, the 40-man list has players in the MLB with major league contracts. Further, the players in this roster can play at the 25-man roster at any time. Players on the 40-man list should also be on the 15-day disabled list and have been minor league players with major league contracts. These players can also play minor league games on optional assignments.

What are the Nine Positions in Baseball?

Nine Positions in Baseball

Baseball teams will have nine positions, regardless of the association. These positions are:

Final Words

MLB teams can have up to 26 active players. But since the dawn of the COVID-19 pandemic, the professional baseball league increased that limit to 28. Furthermore, each baseball league has different rules regarding the maximum number of active players in their teams. Knowing these limits will safeguard those teams from potential violations.

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