It goes to say that baseball is one of the most popular team sports worldwide. What’s good about it is that players of different ages and skill levels can participate and enjoy the game together.
That said, it’s essential for fans and players like us to understand the basics of the game. This includes how many players are on a baseball team.
The average number of people on a baseball team will depend on the specific league or level of play. For instance, in MLB, there are 26 active roster in the team and 9 players on the field. To learn more about this, keep on reading.
Table of Contents
- How Many Players Do You Need for a Baseball Team?
- Average Players: Baseball Roster Size
- Number of Players for Each Position/Roles
- MLB Roster Size By Year
- Popular MLB Teams and Their Team Size
- Frequently Asked Questions
How Many Players Do You Need for a Baseball Team?
As mentioned, the league and level of play will determine the number of players. But before we dive into these leagues, let’s talk about the basics first.
Essentially, there are 9 positions that make the team. That said, as long as you have nine individuals that can fill each position, you can form a basic baseball team.
The different positions players are supposed to be in baseball include core positions, infield positions, and outfield positions.
The core positions in baseball consist of the pitcher and catcher, while the infield positions include the first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, and shortstop. Finally, the outfielders, or the right, center, and left fielders, complete a single team.
Average Players: Baseball Roster Size
Now, here’s where it gets a little bit tricky. The total number of players in a team will depend on each league’s roster rules. This means there are more than 9 pllayers that make up a single team who can play in different positions or roles.
And because there are quite a few leagues in baseball, there will be multiple baseball roster rules you may need to know.
|League||Roster size (players)|
|Little league||Tee Ball and Minor League||7 – 10|
|Major, Intermediate, Junior, and Senior Divisions||Up to 15|
|High school||15 – 20|
|College||Up to 40|
1. Roster Size in Little League Baseball Team
Even in Little League, there are various baseball divisions one should know about. Most leagues and divisions in a Little League baseball team have rosters of between 12 and 15 players. Still, the specific number of players per team will depend on the division and the rules.
- Tee Ball and Minor League
Tee Ball is the entry-level position in Little League Baseball. This is where the youngest players, who are from four to seven years old, get to be introduced to the game.
On the other hand, players between 5 – 11 years old with less experience will most likely fall under the Minor League Division.
There is no minimum or maximum number of players in a single team for both Tee Ball and Minor League Divisions. Although, the average roster size for the Tee Ball division is between 7 – 10 players.
- Major, Intermediate, Junior, and Senior Divisions
As youth players gain more skills and experience, they would join more advanced leagues later on. These divisions are a bit stricter than the two we discussed earlier, perhaps preparing young players for higher levels of competition.
The roster rule for this position calls for a minimum of ten players and a maximum of 15 players in a team.
2. Roster Size in High School Baseball
Things can be a bit different in high school baseball.
The number of baseball players in a high school division’s team will depend on the school itself. The state may also determine the roster size for the high school baseball team.
However, it’s common for high school teams to include between 15 and 20 players on a single team.
3. Roster Size on College Baseball Teams
Just recently, the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) updated its roster rule for Division 1 baseball. For the academic year 2023-2024, each college baseball team can include up to 40 players!
4. Roster Size on a Professional Baseball Team
Now, it’s time to talk about how many players MLB teams carry.
There are different roster rules in the MLB. The largest type of roster would be the 40-man roster. This means a single team can line up to 40 players.
The 40-man roster includes those in the 26-man roster (which we’ll discuss later) and those on the injured list. This roster also includes players who are on leave as well as some Minor League players.
It may seem like such a long list of players for a game that only needs nine individuals.
But we think this shows how competitive each team is.
Another roster rule is the 26-man roster. This lineup is ultimately shorter than the first we mentioned. Still, it’s worth noting that players should be included in the 40-man roster to qualify for the 26-man roster.
The 25 to 26 active players who make up a team will play in the Major League from the opening day until August 31. However, the same roster rule implies that from September 1 until the end of the regular season, all teams should carry 28 players.
- MLB Postseason Roster Rules
Now, what about Major League Baseball playoff roster rules or postseason rules?
The MLB roster size for playoffs also strictly follows the 26-man roster rule. This means each club that competes in the postseason should have a minimum of 25 and a maximum of 26 players on the lineup.
The names of players who can be on an MLB playoff roster must be submitted before each round.
Number of Players for Each Position/Roles
Going deeper into MLB’s 26-man roster, there are a few restrictions on the number of players for a specific position in the field, especially how many pitchers are allowed.
There could be several members of a pitching staff in a single baseball team, which includes:
- Starting pitchers (Starters)
- Relief Pitchers (Relievers)
- Lefty Specialists
- Setup Pitchers
From the opening day to August 31, when there should be a maximum of 26 players in a team, the number of pitchers is limited to 13.
And when teams are allowed to bring additional two players into their lineup, the limit for pitchers is increased to 14.
Each baseball team player, besides the pitcher, should also be designated in their roster.
Although MLB has no restrictions as to the limit of players in other essential positions (batters, baseman), it’s worth noting that position players are strictly prohibited from pitching.
This rule excludes certain circumstances, such as extra innings or when their team has a significant lead or deficit.
MLB Roster Size By Year
As the rules and regulations of MLB evolve, so does their limit to the number of players on a baseball team.
Before teams had the chance to include the current 26-man roster rule, they had to adapt to various changes in the roster size throughout history.
|1881||11, then 14|
|1892||15 (reduced to 13 in mid-June)|
|1901||18 (reduced to 14 in May)|
|1910||25 (May 15 – August 20)|
|1919||25 (May 15 – August 31), 35 (rest of the season), increased to 40 in 1921|
|1957||28 (first month of the season)|
|1968||25 (start of the season – September 1)|
It was due to the COVID-19 pandemic that the current 26-man roster rule was established for Major League Baseball teams in 2020.
Popular MLB Teams and Their Team Size
For every state or city in America, there would be one baseball team that’s likely to have a devoted fan base. But there are ten baseball teams that have become the most popular and well-known across the country.
One thing that may be different across these ten legendary baseball teams is their roster breakdown. Let’s quickly look at the number of players per team in baseball and see how these famous teams compare!
|Team||Pitchers||Catchers||Infielders||Outfielders||Designated Hitter||Active Roster Size|
|8||New York Mets||12||2||6||4||1||25|
|7||San Francisco Giants||13||2||7||4||26|
|6||Los Angeles Dodgers||13||2||5||5||1||26|
|4||St. Louis Cardinals||13||2||6||5||26|
|3||Boston Red Sox||13||2||6||5||26|
|1||New York Yankees||13||2||5||6||26|
Frequently Asked Questions
Do baseball teams still have 40-man rosters to this day?
Not all baseball leagues have the 40-man roster rule. But if you’re talking about MLB, then you should know that MLB teams still have 40-man rosters to this day.
The 40-man roster is like a VIP list in the offseason. It’s where all the protected players go to avoid getting picked by another team in the Rule 5 Draft, which happens in December at the Winter Meetings.
You can quickly see each team’s 40-man roster lineup on MLB’s official page.
What is the restricted list, and what are the other restrictions on positions?
A restricted list in MLB lists players who cannot participate in the game. There are various reasons why a player can be put on this list:
- Pending legal charges
- Player has departed from the team without a justifiable reason
- The team prevents a retired player from joining other teams if they decide to come back
How many MLB teams are there?
As of writing, there are a total of 30 MLB teams that represent various cities and states across the United States.
When do MLB rosters go to 26?
The season’s schedule helps determine how many men can be included in a single baseball team. From the opening day until the postseason, each roster can have up to 26 players.
There’s only a brief period, from September 1 up to the end of the regular season, where teams should lineup two additional players.
When do opening day rosters have to be set?
There’s no definite schedule on when opening rosters have to be set for MLB. But in the past, most teams announce their opening rosters during April, more specifically in the first week.
From now on, you already know how many players are on a baseball team, regardless of the league or division. You also know how many pitchers are allowed per team in MLB, so you won’t get confused when you see multiple pitchers appear on the field.
Still, these roster rules can change in the future. Just like the history we showed you earlier. That said, you should stay tuned on our website to always get updated on the newest changes when it comes to baseball!
Rogers is a hardcore baseball enthusiast. He joined Nations Baseball as a writer to share his knowledge and help others realize their passions for the sport. Roger is striving towards becoming a coach at his local baseball club.