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March-May MiLB Player Releases Could Exceed 2019, 2018 Numbers



Across Minor League Baseball, players are receiving word of their official release, some months after they played their last spring training games and were sent home because of the novel coronavirus pandemic that shut down baseball and society at large.

In some cases, this is bad news that has been delayed. More than two-third of MLB teams did not complete their normal wave of releases in March (22 teams released five players or less and 18 released zero or one player).

Normally every team lets go of a significant number of players as minor league spring training wraps up—301 players were released in March 2019, according to MLB’s official MiLB transactions. This year only 131 MiLB players were released in the same timeframe.

But it would appear that in some cases, the releases are larger in scope than in a normal course of March-May MiLB transactions.

An agent told Baseball America that he had heard of one team releasing more than 50 players. Baseball America has as of yet been unable to independently confirm the exact number for any team.

To get a sense of what is normal, Baseball America looked at the number of releases from March-May in 2018 and 2019, according to MLB’s official transactions. In 2019, the average MLB team released 22 MiLB players over that timeframe. In 2018, the average was 25 MiLB players.

The most players any team released over that span in either year was the D-Backs’ 41 releases in 2019. The Indians released only nine players from March-May of 2018, helped by the fact that they were adding a second Arizona League complex team. Every other team over the two-year span released 10 or more players.

Baseball America expects to receive the official transactions for April and May early next week. Until then, here is a look at how many MiLB players each team released in 2018, 2019 and in March of 2020. The number for 2020 does not include any releases from this week, as they have not been verified through official transactions.

We also looked at the data for June. In 2018, teams released an additional 171 players (six per MLB club) and in 2019 they released an additional 233 (eight per MLB club).



MiLB Player Releases March-May
Team 2020 2019 2018
Arizona 65 41 26
Atlanta 32 24 31
Baltimore 37 16 25
Boston 23 22 15
Chi. Cubs 55 39 18
Chi. White Sox 51 25 35
Cincinnati 55 38 17
Cleveland 11 31 9
Colorado 51 29 22
Detroit 46 25 17
Houston 20 10 24
Kansas City 5 21 28
L.A. Angels 66 29 19
L.A. Dodgers 32 15 27
Miami 45 23 26
Milwaukee 60 22 18
Minnesota 3 25 25
N.Y. Mets 42 15 10
N.Y. Yankees 47 20 21
Oakland 48 19 19
Philadelphia 32 25 16
Pittsburgh 39 30 22
San Diego 32 33 23
San Francisco 44 23 25
Seattle 50 38 22
St. Louis 44 19 36
Tampa Bay 25 20 18
Texas 47 33 31
Toronto 30 23 21
Washington 40 22 22
       
Total 1177 755 668
Average 39.23 25.17 22.27

 

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