MLB Teams

MLB Roster Size 2023 And Rules Explained

By Ayush Khadka / 23 June 2023 05:00 AM

Dodgers team celebrating after the victory against Phillies in the ninth innning.
Source : instagram

MLB Roster Size 2023 consist of 26 active athletes for the opening day and 28 for September. Each MLB team has a 40-man roster. 

MLB has defined their players size with the 40-man and 26-man roster in the 2023 season. This rule aids the MLB teams to put a fair amount of player positions like pitchers and hitters accordingly. This rule is placed so that the franchises will not possess an unfair advantage through particular positions. 

The 40-man team is the culmination of all the 26-man teams, alongside the injured list members, the players who are on leave paternity, and a few Minor League players.

If the MLB teams seek to add a new MiLB player to the 40-man team, then they must first remove an active player. This can be done through trading the baseballer, releasing them, putting them on the injured list, or via DFA

The players who are not in the 26-man team during the opening season can have Minor League options available to them. There is generally a three-year option and those who do not get the option will get DFA'd.

However, a player with 10 years of MLB experience, and 5 in the same club can exercise the 10-5 rule and reject any trade offered from his team.

MLB Roster Size

MLB active roster size is 26 baseball players for each team. The MLB franchise needs to have at least 25 baseball players during the regular season. 

The active players are considered the best and fittest in the team.
Source : twitter

During the Spring training, the franchises can have a 60-man team, that includes the 40 men along with other invitees and rehabilitated athletes. Every team has until the Spring training to finalize their regular season roster. 

The Major League gave a date of 15 November 2022 for the franchises to make the final decisions on their roster size for the 2023 season. If the teams cannot select all the players, they can exercise the Rule 5 draft which happens every December. 

The Rule 5 draft helps the franchises to pick some non-40-man team baseballers from other clubs. Now, some clubs will only perform this since they have to pay $100,000 to the previous club of the baseball athlete. Prior to the 2017-21 CBA, the teams were required to pay $50,000. 

Here is a list of some players that were included in the 40-man team through the Rule 5 draft:

  • Shane Victorino -  Philadelphia Phillies
  • R.A. Dickey - Seattle Mariners
  • Nestor Cortes Jr. - New York Yankees
  • Thad Ward - Washington Nationals
  • Jose Bautista - Toronto Blue Jays
  • Zach Greene - New York Mets

MLB Opening Day Rosters 2023

MLB Opening Day Rosters 2023 covers 26 baseball players from every 30 teams. This number will be present from the Opening Day till 31 August. 

Opening days is special for every franchises.
Source : twitter

The 26-man team will have to get registered during the Opening day match with limitations in the position. The clubs are only allowed to carry 13 pitchers during this timeframe. Similarly, all 26 players must be members of the 40-men team. 

The clubs will also need to put a designation on every 26-man member as either a position player or pitcher. Some teams can also appoint a baseball as a two-way player if they meet the pitching and hitting criteria. Los Angeles Angels have regarded Shohei Ohtani with such a designation.

The position players are forfeited from conducting any sort of pitching activity unless they fulfill two categories: 1) their team goes to extra innings or, 2) their team leads or is behind by at least 6 runs during their defensive turn. Meanwhile, the two-way baseballer is exempt from this rule, but they won't count as an active pitcher. 

The Major League teams generally divide their 26-man members into 5 starting pitchers, 8 relief pitchers, 2 catchers (one backup), 6 infielders, and 4 outfielders. Teams with utility players can add them to the active roster. One position player is preferred to be someone who can play in both outfield and infield. 

MLB Playoff Roster Size

MLB postseason roster size requires the team to have 26 active athletes. The team numbers are the same as the Opening day. 

Only top 2 division leaders and wild cards reach the playoff.
Source : twitter

The postseason team will only be determined after the franchise secures its playoff position. The team's active roster during the 2023 regular season can participate as the postseason roster without any problem. 

If any players are on the injured list at the end of the regular season, their status will also be passed to the playoff squad. This synergy helps in the seamless transaction from the Regular Season to the playoffs. 

MLB postseason roster rules

MLB postseason roster rules state that a maximum of 13 pitchers will be allowed on the team. The teams have to submit their final 26-man members before the postseason begins. 

In case a player gets injured during the playoff matches, the MLB franchise will have to contact the Commissioner's office if they want to replace the injured player/s. However, this will lead to the player not getting the opportunity to play in the postseason for that year again. 

For replacements, the baseballers are altered per their position designation. For instance, only a pitcher can be replaced by a pitcher, and so on. This is the reason why every MLB team will carry additional players to the second squad to compensate for this delicate event. 

Similarly, the players who are two-way players can bypass the limit of the 13 pitchers since they are not active pitchers per game definition. If a player becomes injured from the 26-man squad, the franchise will subsequently promote a player from the 40-man members.

MLB Playoff Roster Eligibility Rules

For eligibility in the MLB playoff roster, the player has to be on the 40-man team or the 60 Days of Injured list by 31 August, 11:59 pm ET. Any player not on the list cannot be awarded the postseason playoff. 

Any baseballers suspended due to performance-enhancing drug use, PEDs, and other illegal substances, will not get the opportunity to play in the playoff round. 

If any baseballers got traded or promoted from the Minor League are all eligible to play in the preseason. Any new players signed before the designated date of 31 August are eligible to play in the postseason.

Athletes who are not eligible for the initial selection can get selected afterward if the franchise petitions the Commissioner in the event of the 26-man roster's injury. The players who got traded or signed in September are not allowed in the postseason matches. 

MLB September Roster Size

MLB September roster size should be 28 baseball players starting from 1 September during the season.

The squad size has extended from 26 to 28 members since September.14 pitchers are available to be utilized by the Major League teams so that they can reduce the endless amount of bullpen always bogged down the September matches. 

Before the 2020 season, the teams could call anyone from their active players list from the 40-man members and play the games. This provided additional help during the special playoff matches but often resulted in a bloated lineup with lengthy games. The covid-19 pandemic shortened the games and led to roster limitations too. 

MLB September Roster Rules

MLB expanded roster rules state that a maximum of 14 pitchers are allowed in the squad. 

One more member can be added in the doubleheader match.
Source : twitter

Two extra players can be added once 31 August ends, providing extra help in defense and offense. Teams can opt to add another starting pitcher or reliever. However, they have to cut down the number again during the playoffs. 

Likewise, they can bring a 29th member for the doubleheader matches. Since these twin bill days are tiresome, MLB has allowed one extra player to come alongside the team as an active member. During the 26-man team days, the team can call the 27th member of their squad. 

The 29th player will be involved for one day and then return to the Minor League upon the matches' completion. Likewise, the 29th player can also be brought when the team has to play a postponed game alongside a regular season match. However, this baseballer can only play the regular game. 

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