Minor League Baseball or MiLb, and Major League Baseball, or MLB are two very different levels in the baseball arena. While MLB is always the player’s end goal in his career, the MiLB is just as capable when it comes to honing one’s skills.
In this article, let us differentiate AA vs AAA baseball from the MiLB classification. Here’s a quick overview:
|Second highest next to AAA
|The highest level in MiLB
|Where top prospects and young players bound to MLB are trained and groomed
|Where veteran players from the MLB stay to do rehab or work something on their skills
|Consists of 30 teams, further divided into 3 MiLB leagues (Northeast, Central, and South)
|Also consists of 30 teams, further divided into 2 different MiLB leagues (East, and West)
- Overview of Double-A and Triple-A Baseball Divisions
- Similarities of AA and AAA Baseball
- Differences Between Double A Vs Triple A
- Benefits and Challenges
- Which League is Better?
- Exploring the Minor League Structure
Overview of Double-A and Triple-A Baseball Divisions
Every player, including the great ones, had to start somewhere. A good foundation for baseball skills starts from the little league, where young ones immerse in youth baseball and try to soak in America’s favorite pastime.
However, before one makes it to the majors, they have to battle everyone out in the minors. That’s why Minor League Baseball serves as a stepping stone to those who dream of one day being one of the brightest in Major League Baseball.
Although the MiLB and MLB are connected in some ways, there’s a huge disparity between them – including salary and number of teams. The MiLB is also home to other MLB players who are not able to penetrate the lineup out in the majors, or those who are listed to be inactive.
The two most famous divisions in MiLB are the double-A and triple-A, also known as AA and AAA baseball. AAA baseball is the highest minor league level, while AA baseball comes second.
Similarities of AA and AAA Baseball
1. MLB affiliation
The most common link between AA and AAA baseball is their affiliation with the MLB. More than serving as a development club for MLB teams, many MiLB teams are affiliated with an MLB franchise that financially backs them with salaries, uniforms, and other benefits.
2. Level of competition
In minor leagues, AA and AAA baseball are on top of the baseball hierarchy where competition and demands are higher, compared to other MiLB levels. Both of these levels offer more challenging gameplay than A+ and A-, as they help hone players for the MLB.
3. Geographic distribution
Commonly, AA and AAA baseball teams are located and would play around small to mid-sized cities in contrast to where their affiliated professional baseball MLB team plays. In some cases, MLB teams prefer to have their AA and AAA teams closer to their city in case anything comes up.
Differences Between Double A Vs Triple A
1. Competition level
The competition between double-A and triple-A share similarities. However, it should be highlighted that AAA baseball features more experienced players who are only a step away from playing in the MLB.
Compared to AA, triple-A is composed of varieties of players who stay there for different reasons whether it be for rehab or skill advancement.
Double-A is also not to be looked down on, as great talents go straight to the MLB and skip the triple-A level.
2. Play quality
Both levels are capable of producing quality plays executed by seasoned players. However, triple-A is composed mainly of veteran players who may have experienced the MLB so it’s expected that the quality of games is higher than those played in the double-A.
3. Prices of tickets
Depending on a lot of factors like game venues, seating arrangements, and the overall comfortability of the place, AAA baseball tickets usually cost more than double-A games.
Another factor is the popularity of players in the AAA in which some of them may have had appearances in the MLB.
4. Game atmosphere
Fans love watching MiLB games because of their fun and engaging nature. But when it comes to stadium atmosphere, AAA baseball often has larger arenas compared to double-A.
After games, the organizers are free to hold fireworks shows and set up other fun activities that enable people to get along.
Benefits and Challenges
Granted, playing in the MiLB has benefits:
- Players in the triple-A have a chance to train and show off their skills for all the MLB scouts to see. This is made possible by their level’s close-knit relations with professional baseball through the MLB, in consideration of their experiences and skills.
- As for double-A baseball, players at this level get to have their skills sharpened. They are given the chance to discover their capacity and learn from their mistakes while doing so. Just like the AAA, double-A hones players to be MLB-ready.
However, players also need to brave through challenges:
- The most glaring disadvantage of being both at the AA and AAA levels is the salary. MiLB’s salary is considerably lower than in the MLB, making it a cause of concern for players who have families to support.
- Roster movement in the MiLB is also unstable and uncertain, most especially in the triple-A. Oftentimes, the original lineup in a triple-A team is forced to send down players to lower levels when someone from the MLB needs to be inserted in games.
Which League is Better?
Although AAA baseball is the highest level in the MiLB and the place where players often enter before MLB stint, it’s not always considered better than the double-A.
- All factors considered, many people say that AA is better than AAA as this is where you find the hottest candidates with the highest chance of making it big in the majors.
Double-A level is a training ground for players seen to have potential by MLB coaches and can be valuable assets to a team in the future.
- The triple-A level mostly consists of older prospects struggling in the MLB and hoping to find footing again through the MiLB. In some cases, these former MLB players are never again given a chance to come back to the majors.
- Almost all teams in the minors prefer to have their promising prospects play in AA rather than in AAA, as they’ll be playing against their own age bracket. Compared to if they play in the triple-A, they’ll be up against seasoned veterans who are much older than them.
When we base the fans’ perspective on which is better between these two levels, there’ll be no definite answer.
However, there are some points spectators need to remember when choosing what to watch between the two:
1. Prospect watching
If you’re a fan of watching the growth of your favorite prospect player for the MLB, there’s no question – you should watch double-A games. Compared to triple-A, double-A usually parades up-and-coming players bound to MLB.
2. Experience and vibe
Iff you prefer smaller venues where fans could interact in pure camaraderie, double-A games are where you’ll find it. Meanwhile, if you prefer comfort with larger crowds, AAA baseball games offer better amenities, larger stadiums, and livelier coverage.
Note that we can only give you descriptions of how these games go, what is “better” between the two depends entirely on you.
Exploring the Minor League Structure
Out of the 40-man list of players in an MLB team, only 25 of them will be listed as active for the current season, with the exception of when it’s September 1 until the regular season ends when teams are allowed to utilize their 40-man lineup.
So, where do the other 15 players go? They’re either listed as disabled or they find their way to Minor League Baseball, that being usually the double-A or the triple-A.
The MiLB consists of teams in a baseball hierarchy who play games in different cities. For context, here are the different levels of minor-league baseball:
- AAA (Triple A)
- AA (Double A)
- Class A – is further divided into Class-A Advanced and just Class-A.
- Class A Short Season – relatively short season, starts in June and ends in early September.
- Rookie – just like the short season, rookie leagues are played shortly, from June to early September.
Even the great ones had to start somewhere. Looking back at the long list of players in the baseball hall of fame, one thing can be said for all of them – they built their careers on hard work, and more hard work.
For most people, the heart and soul of America’s baseball is etched in the Minors where AA and AAA levels are the vital foundation.
In this article on “AA vs AAA Baseball”, I hope you’ve learned a thing or two about the places where the greats come from before they embark on the MLB.
See you next time!
A powerful swing and the ball is flying across the field, just one hit, and we might never forget the thrill it brings. I do not know about you, but I never do. Every baseball game is the chance to compete with others and cooperate with your teammate. It is among my biggest passions.