All local Little League® programs are required to assign players to teams via a draft once player evaluations conclude to assure divisions are completed. Having a draft is not only a requirement in the Little League Divisions and above, it also allows for parity within your league that will provide for a valuable experience for all players and teams. Leagues are required to choose from one of the three approved Little League Draft Methods that will take place after the player evaluation period.
First Option – Plan A
When a thorough player evaluation has been completed, the last place team from the preceding season gets the first choice in every round of the draft, the next to last place team gets the second selection in every round, and the remaining teams select in the reverse order of standing. For the purpose of explanation, let us assume that there are four teams in the league:
- Fourth Place manager selects first player.
- Third place manager selects the second player.
- Second place manager selects the third player.
- First place manager selects the fourth player.
- Fourth Place manager selects fifth player.
- Third place manager selects the sixth player.
- Second place manager selects the seventh player.
- First place manager selects the eighth player.
- Process repeats until the rosters are completed.
Second Option – Plan B
This draft takes place in two separate parts.
First part includes those players who are:
- Returning from a Major team in the same division, AND;
- Have registered for the current season
Second part of the draft includes:
- All players who are eligible for selection and have attended the required number of player evaluations.
This first draft of returning players must be completed before the second part of the draft, and all returning players who qualify under both conditions above must be drafted. Managers are not permitted to waive a draft choice.
The draft rotation follows the reverse order of finish from the previous season, with the last place team’s manager receiving the first pick. For example, in a four-team league, the team that finished last in the previous season would get the 1st, 8th, 9th, and 16th picks through the first four rounds.
Third Option – Plan C / Blind Draft Method
This method takes all players available and has managers draw names from a container. An example of this process for the Majors Division is as follows;
- Step 1: Determine the number of teams that you have. Remember that Major League teams may have a maximum of eight league age 12-year-olds; and league age 12-year-olds must be drafted to a Major League, Intermediate, or Junior League team.
- Step 2: Managers are randomly given a team name.
- Step 3: Place all registered 12-year-olds into a container. Then each manager selects a player from the container until all league age 12-year-olds are selected.
- Step 4: Place all registered 11-year-olds into a container. Then each manager selects a player from the container until all league age 11-year-olds are selected or until the team roster is full.
- Step 5: The same procedure for league age 9- and 10-year-olds.
3 Tips on Drafts
- It is recommended that managers not select more than eight players in a given age group.
- Draft Plan C works well with the Tee Ball Division, as most players are just starting to learn the game of baseball and softball.
- When a league decides to substitute a selection system for the ones outlined above, a complete description of such substituted system must be presented in writing to Little League International for approval.