Winter: Tryouts (Candidate Evaluations) and the Draft
In the announcement of tryouts/candidate evaluations, well-run local Little Leagues contact all who signed up to inform them about the dates, times and sites of the tryouts/candidate evaluations.
Tryout dates and times should be varied, and registration of new players continues up until the time of the tryouts/candidate evaluations. This allows for late registration, giving all children in the community ample opportunity to play. All of those required to try out should be informed in writing of the dates and times, and the importance of attending.
The player agent oversees the tryout and produces a list, for each manager, of the eligible candidates and their ages. All managers are informed that attendance at the tryout is mandatory.
Remember: All eligible candidates must try out (including “option” players). Exception: The league may opt to immediately place all 9 and/or 10 year olds in the Minor League, without a tryout. It is recommended that any 11 year olds who are not of sufficient ability to play in the Major Division be placed in the Minor Division.
If a player fails to attend at least 50 percent of the tryouts/candidate evaluations, the first step is to find out why. At a well-run Little League, the player agent obtains a written excuse from the parents. If the excuse is acceptable to a majority of the board, the child can enter the draft and be placed on a team. If the excuse is not acceptable, the child cannot play in the league AT ANY LEVEL for that season.
Exception: All league-age 12-year-old players must be drafted onto a Major Division team whether or not they attend tryouts/candidate evaluations. Exceptions to this can occur only if the District Administrator, Board of Directors and parent agree in writing (on a specific form provided by Little League International) that the player should be placed in the Minor Division.
Any child who is placed on a Minor League team (and is the correct age for the Major Division) is IMMEDIATELY eligible to be called up to the Major Division, in the event of a vacancy – with the exception of those 12-year-olds noted in the previous paragraph. (Regulation IV f.)
At the tryouts/candidate evaluations, candidates should be tested in five areas. All managers must attend, and all eligible players must attend at least 50 percent of the sessions. (Pamphlet - The Player Agent in Little League.)
Here are the recommended areas in which the local Little Leagues should test candidates:
Batting/bunting - Fielding fly balls - Fielding ground balls - Throwing - Running
When it comes to the draft, there are almost always “options” claimed at local Little Leagues.
Options regard only sons or daughters of the manager or eligible coach, or siblings of players. (Pamphlet - The Player Agent in Little League.)
Most options must be submitted in writing to the player agent 48 hours before the draft begins, so he or she can properly prepare the list of eligible candidates. Options are not secret, and should be discussed prior to the draft with all managers.
If no option is submitted, the candidate may be drafted by any team at any time.
Regarding coach’s options, the coach must have been a manager or coach in that local Little League for at least the past two years AND must be returning to the same team on which he/she coached/managed last season. (Operating Manual - Draft.)
“Gentlemen’s Agreements” are not valid.
Trades can only be conducted AFTER the draft, and before the 14th day of the regular season.
If ALL of the following parties do not agree to the trade, then there cannot be a trade (Operating Manual - Draft):
- The managers of both teams
- The player agent
- The board of directors by majority vote
The board must decide if the trade is for justifiable reasons. Just exactly what is “justifiable” is totally up to the local Little League’s board of directors.
Trades must be player for player only. Example: Two managers could trade players they have just drafted, pending the approval of the player agent and board of directors.
The player agent must monitor trades closely to prevent manipulation of the system. There can be no trades between teams in separate charters or divisions. For example, a team in Downtown National Little League could not trade with a team in Downtown American Little League, even if both leagues are operated by one board of directors.
A database of all of these Operations Tips can be found here: http://www.littleleague.org/leagueofficers/Tips_Successful_League
Next article: What Divisions Will We Have?