How Many Players Are on a High School Baseball Team?

Nieka Ranises

A common trait among all Major League Baseball players is that they all played organized baseball before they achieved professional success. Among the many ways amateur baseball players in America enjoy the game and develop their skills is by playing for their high school teams.

One in every 6,600 high school baseball players makes it to the Major Leagues, according to, but everyone must start somewhere if they wants to play professional baseball.

A player’s chances of making his local high school team are much greater than his chances of making a Major League Baseball team. High school baseball teams have between 15-20 players, depending on their school and state.

It will be discussed further in the article How Many Players Are on a High School Baseball Team and how this can vary based on several factors.

How Many Players Do You Need for a Baseball Team?

How Many Players Are on a High School Baseball Team

A league’s level and league size will determine how many players there are. I’d like to take a moment to discuss the basics before we get into these leagues.

The team is composed of nine positions. Having said that, you can form a basic baseball team as long as you have nine players who can fill each position.

It is important for players to know which positions they need to play in baseball, including the core positions, the infield positions, and the outfield positions.

Pitchers and catchers are the core positions in baseball, while first basemen, second basemen, third basemen, and shortstops are infield positions. As a final component of a team, the outfielders make up the right, center, and left fielders.

What Are the Factors that Contribute to Roster Size?

How Many Players Are on a High School Baseball Team

High school baseball teams generally carry a roster of 12 players due to the following factors:

  • Size of the school
  • Preferences of the coach
  • Teams for freshmen and junior varsity
  • Regulations by the state

In addition to these factors, there are many others that affect the roster size of high school baseball teams.

Size of the school

As each school’s team is selected in the spring, larger schools have a greater selection of players. That’s all there is to it.

The possibility of witnessing a high school baseball game involving a large team with nine players on the field and 13 others in the dugout and a much smaller team with nine players on the field and three in the dugout is not uncommon.

Baseball is not always about numbers, which is good news for smaller schools. When the quality of their players on the field is similar to that of some of the bigger schools, small schools with smaller rosters can still compete with bigger schools.

The depth of the roster is where bigger schools gain an advantage. There is typically a much greater dropoff in talent between starters and reserves when they lose players to injury or graduation than at some smaller schools.

Preferences of the coach

High school teams carry players based on the preference of their head coaches.

It is common for coaches to overestimate their roster size. It provides the team with more depth in the event of an injury. In addition to giving the coach more options, it creates more competition within the team when assembling a starting lineup.

Many coaches prefer to have fewer players so that more players have a chance to play.

Each of these philosophies has its benefits and drawbacks. The more players, the more options, but the less time available to play. When there are fewer players, there are fewer options, but there is more time for everyone to play.

There is a balance between having a small enough roster to allow for some flexibility in case of an injury, but not having too many players parked in the dugout who aren’t playing.

Teams for freshmen and junior varsity

It is possible for some schools to have several teams in their program because they have the resources and coaches to do so. The average high school has three teams, Varsity, Junior Varsity (JV), and Freshman.

It is common for the Freshman team to consist only of freshmen at such schools, and the Freshman team will often play other freshmen’s teams. Junior Varsity teams are made up of underclassmen and play against their peers.

Varsity teams consider these teams to be minor league teams. Some players may be shared between them. Depending on the program, players are either assigned to Varsity, JV, or Freshman teams, and do not play for other teams.

It doesn’t matter which school has a JV or Freshman team, they have the opportunity to retain a larger number of players. In this way, they are able to develop the skill sets of younger players before they progress to the varsity level.

There are often not enough players or coaches in schools with Freshman or JV teams to fill out more than one roster. This means they have fewer roster spots in their programs, but fewer players are competing for them.

Regulations by the state

Fielding a roster is governed differently by different states. Varsity teams are sometimes limited to a certain number of players. Others don’t have a limit on how many players a team can carry, allowing them to decide for themselves.

There is no roster limit in most states until the postseason, however. Players may be permitted to dress for postseason games and to stay in the dugout for a certain number of games.

There are usually 18-22 players who can be in uniform at any given time. Up to 25 players can sit in the dugout, but they cannot enter the game dressed in uniform.

Some schools with smaller Varsity teams benefit from this by expanding their postseason rosters and giving some younger players some experience dressing and traveling with them. In the postseason, schools with larger rosters may need to reduce their Varsity rosters.

In the regular season, schools that have the luxury of big rosters often make their decisions based on the postseason roster limits. Keeping their rosters with this strategy keeps them from having to reduce them too much and denying post-season eligibility to players who have been on the team all spring.

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) does not specify how many players high school baseball teams can carry, so states have different guidelines.

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How Little League/Travel Ball Rosters Compare to High School Rosters

How Many Players Are on a High School Baseball Team

Changing from Little League / Travel Ball to High School Baseball can be a challenge due to roster size.

Youth Little League and Travel Ball teams typically have about 12 players on their rosters. In general, high school teams carry more equipment.

Every player on a Little League team must also play at least a few innings. The rules for travel ball teams are different, but parents generally understand that their child should play, not sit on the sidelines.

The High School rules prohibit players from receiving any kind of playing time. Does the coach try to get players into the game as much as possible? Yes, of course. However, will they be willing to sacrifice losing games to achieve this? In most cases, no.

In high school, a child may compete for playing time with 20 or more players instead of 11 in middle school. To help set realistic expectations, you should let them know about this before they enter high school.

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Positions/roles and number of players

How Many Players Are on a High School Baseball Team

As we dig deeper into NBA’s 26-man roster, we find that certain positions have certain limitations, particularly pitchers.

A baseball team’s pitching staff may include several members, including:

  • Starting pitchers (Starters)
  • Relief Pitchers (Relievers)
  • Lefty Specialists
  • Setup Pitchers
  • Closers

In the period between opening day and August 31, when teams can have a maximum of 26 players, 13 pitchers are allowed.

A team’s limit for pitchers increases to 14 when two additional players may be brought into their lineup.

There should also be a roster designation for each baseball player, aside from the pitcher.

It’s important to note that position players cannot pitch in MLB, regardless of whether they play other essential positions (baseball, batters).

There are some exceptions to this rule, such as in extra innings or when their team is ahead or behind significantly.

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The size of the MLB roster by year

It is inevitable that the number of players on a baseball team will change as MLB’s rules and regulations change.

There have been a number of changes in roster size throughout history before teams were able to include the current 26-man rule.

YearRoster Size
188111, then 14
189215 (reduced to 13 in mid-June)
190118 (reduced to 14 in May)
191025 (May 15 – August 20)
191925 (May 15 – August 31), 35 (rest of the season), increased to 40 in 1921
195728 (first month of the season)
196825 (start of the season – September 1)

Major League Baseball established the 26-man roster rule in 2020 as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Are 40-man rosters still used by baseball teams today?

There are some baseball leagues that do not have a 40-man roster rule. As for MLB teams, they still have 40-man rosters to this day if you’re talking about the league.

When the offseason begins, the 40-man roster becomes like a VIP list. The Rule 5 Draft, held at the Winter Meetings in December, is where all protected players go to avoid being selected by another team.

The official MLB website has the 40-man roster lineup for each team.

Are there other restrictions on positions besides those on the restricted list?

It is illegal for players to participate in MLB games if they are on a restricted list. This list can be compiled for a variety of reasons:

  • Suspension
  • Charges pending
  • Unjustified departure of a player
  • A retired player cannot join another team if he or she decides to return

The size of the most popular MLB teams

There’s likely to be a baseball team in every state and city in America that has a loyal fan base. Among the 10 most popular and well-known baseball teams across the country, there are ten that are particularly well-known and well-known.

The roster breakdown of these ten legendary baseball teams may differ from team to team. Comparing these famous teams’ player counts in baseball will help you see how they rank!

TeamPitchersCatchersInfieldersOutfieldersDesignated HitterActive Roster Size
10Milwaukee Brewers13273126
9Minnesota Twins1326526
8New York Mets12264125
7San Francisco Giants1327426
6Los Angeles Dodgers13255126
5Philadelphia Phillies1226525
4St. Louis Cardinals1326526
3Boston Red Sox1326526
2Chicago Cubs1337326
1New York Yankees1325626

Frequently Asked Questions

How many pitchers are on a high school roster?

Most high school coaches agree that a team cannot have enough pitchers regardless of the number of pitchers on the team. High school teams rarely have pitchers exclusively on the roster, unlike college and professional teams.

Can a team carry a minimum number of players?

For a team to be able to start a game, it must have at least nine players on the roster. During a game, a team can play with less than nine players if a player is unable to finish it, but no game can begin without nine players.

How many MLB teams are there?

MLB teams represent a variety of cities and states across the country as of this writing.

When do MLB rosters go to 26?

An individual baseball team’s size is determined by the season’s schedule. A roster can contain up to 26 players from the start of the season until the end of the season. Two additional players should be lined up by teams only for a brief period between September 1 and the end of the regular season.

When do opening day rosters have to be set?

Opening rosters for MLB don’t have a definite schedule. It is usually announced during April, specifically in the first week of the month, when most teams announce their rosters for the upcoming season.

How many JV players does a high school team typically have on the roster?

There are usually fewer JV players than Varsity players in most schools, though this may not always be the case at larger schools. The JV team of many schools often shares some of its best players with the Varsity team. Getting enough repetitions at JV level as well as varsity level is the goal behind this.

What position should my child play to be a better candidate for the high school team?

A child’s chances of making a high school team are always improved if they are able to pitch. A pitch count regulation restricts pitchers from pitching too often in most states. Pitching is a skill that needs to be mastered by more players. His high school coach will probably view him as a player who can play two positions and play defense and pitch at the same time.


Now, no matter what league or division a baseball team belongs to, you know the number of players on it. When a team has multiple pitchers on the field, you won’t lose track of who is who in MLB.

There is still a possibility of these roster rules changing in the future. It’s the same story we told you earlier. To ensure that you are up to date on all the latest changes related to baseball, be sure to check out our website!

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  • Harrison Idris

    I'm Harrison Idris, not only a seasoned baseball player with over a decade of experience on the field but also a passionate advocate for the sport. As the owner of baseballes, i am dedicated myself to sharing my expertise through comprehensive guides and insightful reviews.

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