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Old 11-25-2019, 09:20 AM
TheZenPaperboy is offline
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Can a sixteen year old play baseball in the majors?


See above question.
What would be the conditions for the player to allowed a contract?
Or would this be impossible?
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Old 11-25-2019, 09:26 AM
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The record holder pitched at age 15 years, 316 days, so it was possible at one point.
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Old 11-25-2019, 10:06 AM
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Possibly problem might be executing a contract with a minor who could choose to void the contract at age 18. That shouldn't be a problem if he or she has not received up front money or a long term payment commitment. The players union could be an impediment to that. Even those problems could be eliminated if the player gets emancipated. That shouldn't be difficult to do for someone with a job that pays at MLB levels.

ETA: I suppose any long term payment commit goes out the window anyway if the player voids the contract on reaching majority age. The contract doesn't seem to be that much of a problem. In addition, numerous players under the age of 21 played in the majors at a time when 21 was considered majority age.

Last edited by TriPolar; 11-25-2019 at 10:08 AM.
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Old 11-25-2019, 10:47 AM
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Adalberto Mondesi signed with the Royals on his 16th birthday (7/27/11), and made his professional debut in 2012. Now, that was rookie league, and nowhere near the MLB. He made his MLB debut at age 20 (in the World Series, no less), but that’s not all that uncommon.
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Old 11-25-2019, 02:44 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
Possibly problem might be executing a contract with a minor who could choose to void the contract at age 18. That shouldn't be a problem if he or she has not received up front money or a long term payment commitment. The players union could be an impediment to that. Even those problems could be eliminated if the player gets emancipated. That shouldn't be difficult to do for someone with a job that pays at MLB levels...
Voiding the contract is one thing, but it won't prevent the league from determining that his rights remain with the last professional team to employ him. He can quit if he wants, but he can't play anywhere else. Which should stop him from quitting.

I thought Adrian Peterson (sp?) had the skill to potentially play in the NFL right out of high school.
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Old 11-25-2019, 03:02 PM
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I thought Adrian Peterson (sp?) had the skill to potentially play in the NFL right out of high school.
The irony is that if he had, and as a youth he was hit too roughly by a veteran defender on an NFL field, people could allege child abuse.
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Old 11-25-2019, 03:29 PM
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The irony is that if he had, and as a youth he was hit too roughly by a veteran defender on an NFL field, people could allege child abuse.
That'd be a switch...

I'll see myself out.
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Old 11-25-2019, 04:10 PM
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The international signing draft is on July 2nd. Players have to be 16 by that date. In the Dominican Republic especially and also some other Latin countries, MLB is putting money into instructional leagues. The are trying to get good nutrition and and training into them at a young age. Someone who hasnít developed sufficiently by 18 will be left behind. Thatís why lying about their age is very common of prospects in the DR.

https://bleacherreport.com/articles/...-a-better-life
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Old 11-26-2019, 12:41 AM
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If you are a citizen, resident, or student in the United States, Canada, or Puerto Rico, you cannot be drafted until you or your class graduates from high school. (And, you can't sign as an undrafted free agent until after the draft.) For most people, this means you have to be 18. Of course, it's possible to finish school early. Bryce Harper famously did that and was drafted at age 17 and made his MLB debut at 19. So if you were enough of a prodigy to graduate high school and be good enough to play in MLB at age 16, you could do it. I'm not holding my breath.

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Originally Posted by Loach
The international signing draft is on July 2nd. Players have to be 16 by that date.
There is no international draft. MLB would like to implement one, but to date they haven't. The international signing year begins on July 2, and to sign you have to be 16 by September 1. So depending on your birthday you could be as young as 15 years and 10 months. The vast majority of young signees spend time at a Latin American academy and then in the minor leagues and only rarely make MLB before age 20, but if you were good enough at a ridiculously early age, you could do it at 16. Again, I'm not holding my breath.
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Old 11-26-2019, 09:21 AM
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Thanks for the information. It looks like being in the majors at sixteen is next to impossible. I am reading a book about being in the minors and even college players go straight to the minors.
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Old 11-26-2019, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by TheZenPaperboy View Post
I am reading a book about being in the minors and even college players go straight to the minors.
Usually, but not always. This list shows players who went directly from college ball to MLB; recognizeable names from the (relatively) recent past on that list include Dave Winfield, Xavier Nady, Jim Abbott, John Olerud, and Pete Incaviglia.

Last edited by kenobi 65; 11-26-2019 at 09:28 AM.
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Old 11-26-2019, 10:12 AM
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The record holder pitched at age 15 years, 316 days, so it was possible at one point.
That was during WWII, when most of the 'real' players were wearing military rather than baseball uniforms.
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Old 11-26-2019, 10:46 AM
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Rafael Devers was 16 when he signed with the Red Sox. Played in Gulf Coast League at age 17. MLB debut was age 20. He tore through the minors, so while I'm sure he wouldn't have been great in MLB at age 16, it would have been interesting to see. Could he hit .250? Who knows.
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Old 11-26-2019, 12:59 PM
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Juan Soto was 16 when he signed with the Nationals. Skipped AAA entirely and, because of an injury on the MLB team, became a major-leaguer at the age of 19. Hit .292 with 22 HR in 116 games in his age-19 season, and .282 with 34 HR as the Nats' everyday starting left fielder in 2019 at age 20. He turned 21 during the World Series and was a key member of the Nats' first-ever World Series championship team.
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Old 11-26-2019, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by kenobi 65 View Post
Usually, but not always. This list shows players who went directly from college ball to MLB; recognizeable names from the (relatively) recent past on that list include Dave Winfield, Xavier Nady, Jim Abbott, John Olerud, and Pete Incaviglia.
I do remember it happening occasionally when I was a kid in the seventies--Winfield and Burt Hooton, and of course David Clyde, and then Horner. Interesting to see that it basically never happens any more. Nady in 2000 (I had forgotten that) and since then only one player, Mike Leake in 2010 (I had forgotten that too). So, one player in the last nineteen seasons.

There are service time issues these days as well--if teams are squeezing 22- and 23-year-old guys there's no reason they'd hustle to advance a a kid who's 16.

I'm sure there are players who would not have been impossibly overmatched at that age, though what "impossibly overmatched" means I dunno. I agree with ekedolphin that Soto is an especially intriguing case--would've been interesting to see what he might have done as a 16-year-old.

Last edited by Ulf the Unwashed; 11-26-2019 at 01:29 PM.
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Old 11-26-2019, 03:23 PM
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I'm not seeing any reason a 16 year old should not be allowed to play MLB. He must be well represented. He must be paid well enough to make it worthwhile if he cannot continue this career. He can certainly afford private tutoring to finish high school, if that is important. He can still go to college in couple of years, or anytime later, and he will be able to pay his way through college in cash if that's the route he wants to take.

It would be a shame to prevent a kid from playing in MLB if he is so talented at age 16.
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Old 11-26-2019, 04:29 PM
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Any contract issues would be prevented by having his parents sign the documents.
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Old 11-27-2019, 09:10 AM
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It may be next to impossible, but it's not impossible. It is absolutely theoretically possible. It's a one in a billion shot but there is no firm rule against it.

Of course, it's entirely possible that even if an MLB team wanted a 16-year-old on the active roster, MLB would do something to, shall we say, discourage it. Or maybe they wouldn't - maybe this child prodigy would be a huge draw.

The history of MLB debuts under 18 is not a good one; there are maybe a dozen examples in modern history. Jimmie Foxx, Phil Cavarretta and Bob Feller became stars and they debuted in the 1930s; Mike McCormick, Larry Dierker and Joey Jay were pretty good. Joe Nuxhall, the guy who started at 15, only did so because it was WWII and it was a fiasco; he made it back eight years later and had a decent career but clearly the teenaged experiment was not good. Virtually all the others have completely fizzled; there have been guys who debuted at 18 or 19 who became Hall of Famers, but starting a kid before 18 smacks of desperation.

Incidentally, the aforementioned Larry Dierker, a pitcher who won a lot of games for the Astros and then became a successful broadcaster and manager, is the last player to debut before 18, and that was in 1964. The modern First Year Player Draft was instituted in 1965, so I guess the rule against drafting kjds who had not graduated high school yet was an immediate brake on really young debuts.
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Old 12-05-2019, 01:27 PM
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What about child labor laws? I nearly lost my first semester of college when some officious prick in the PA dept of labor didn't like my job in a lab. I had graduated HS at 17 1/2 (you could start first grade at 5 1/2) and needed that job to be eligible for a half tuition waiver and to pay for the other half. Finally, the guy relented. Maybe they would think that baseball is too dangerous for a 16 yo. You might get hit in the head by a pitch.
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Old 12-05-2019, 01:50 PM
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What about child labor laws? I nearly lost my first semester of college when some officious prick in the PA dept of labor didn't like my job in a lab. I had graduated HS at 17 1/2 (you could start first grade at 5 1/2) and needed that job to be eligible for a half tuition waiver and to pay for the other half. Finally, the guy relented. Maybe they would think that baseball is too dangerous for a 16 yo. You might get hit in the head by a pitch.
Itís too dangerous for a 29-year-old too...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Chapman
...but they play anyway. I donít think safety is the issue. Itís not like your head will be more durable a couple of years later in life.
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