What happens at the Tryouts?
Danville Little League uses a player tryout process to determine eligibility and skill level. Players will be assigned a day and time to arrive for their scheduled tryout. Due to the HUNDREDS of players who show up to tryouts, you are strongly encouraged to arrive 15 minutes early and plan to stay for 2 hours.
When the player arrives at the tryouts they will be directed to the registration table. Only players who are paid registrants through the Danville Little League web site will be allowed to participate in the tryouts. The players will all be given an identification number to attach to the back of their shirt, and then directed to the warm-up area for their age group.
In the warm-up area the players will be lead in stretching exercises and then pick partners to throw a ball and loosen their arms. When the managers and coaches are ready for that age group, they will be instructed on where to wait for their turn.
Each player will in turn be evaluated on the following:
1) Catching long fly balls – typically 3 chances thrown by a machine
2) Long throw after catching the fly balls
3) Relaying throws from one player to another
4) Fielding ground balls and throwing to 1st base
5) Playing first base and receiving throws
Each player rotates through positions 1) through 5) above until all players have had their opportunity. Then the entire group will participate in batting tryouts.
During each activity the players are evaluated by the managers and coaches from each division. Each manager and coach has his own style and preference, but they are all evaluating skill, results, and effort.
For example, the player who catches every ball, hits the target on every throw, and smashes his batting practice may score low if he also pushes the other players, doesn’t follow instructions, and displays a bad attitude. Conversely, the player who drops every ball, but chases them down like the game depends on it will likely score higher than you might think.
After the tryouts have been completed the managers and coaches will apply their own ‘science’ to ranking hundreds of players and develop a list of players they would like to draft for their teams. Every player who attends tryouts will be eligible to be drafted, but there are not enough slots available for everyone, so attendance is not a guarantee.
There is an article on the Danville Little League web site, Hey Coach page, called Drafting Help further describing the tryout and draft process.
I volunteered to coach. Does my son need to attend tryouts?
Possibly yes, possibly no:
- Volunteering to coach is not an assignment to coach. The Division Directors will select the best qualified candidates as both manager and coaches. Therefore you cannot guarantee your son’s placement on any team at any level.
- Only players who tryout are eligible to play at the higher level for their age group. So if you have a 10 year-old son, for example, he is only guaranteed to play in Double-A, not Triple-A, regardless if you are a coach in Triple-A.
- Only players who tryout are eligible for post-season All Star teams. If your son is 10 years-old, only wants to play at the AA level, does not want to play All Stars, and you have already been named a manager/coach, he does not need to tryout.
What if it rains or I can’t make the scheduled tryout day?
In the event that tryouts are canceled due to rain, a makeup day will be scheduled for all. If the player’s schedule prevents him from attending tryouts, he will be placed in a pool to be selected at his lowest eligibility level. He will not be eligible for “call-up” during the season, nor will he be eligible for post season teams (“All Stars”). With between 400 and 500 players attending tryouts, it is not practical, nor possible, to accommodate the player who has a scheduling conflict that weekend.
What if a player can’t participate in the tryouts due to an injury?
A player who is physically unable to participate in the tryouts due to a temporary injury (E.g. broken arm, sprained ankle, etc) should still attend at his or her scheduled time. By registering at the tryouts they maintain their eligibility to be drafted to a higher level and their eligibility for All Star participation. They will be excused after tryout registration.
How are players assigned to teams?
The process differs at each Division level, and each level impacts the one below it.
- Danville Little League currently employs the “Property Player” regulation. This means that every eligible player who played on a Majors team in the previous season is entitled to return to that same team, and is NOT required to attend tryouts to maintain eligibility.
- “Property Players” may, for unusual circumstances, petition the Player Agent for release from his previous team and re-enter the draft. This is not an automatic right of any player, and is investigated by the Player Agent before being accepted or rejected. If the player re-enters the draft, any team – including his previous team – could draft him, although returning to the same team is highly unlikely.
- Once all of the returning Property Players have been added to the teams’ rosters, the available slots are tallied. For example, Danville Little League has 8 Majors teams with 12 players per team, for a total of 96 Majors players. If there are 50 returning Property Players, there are 46 available slots (96 – 50 = 46). There is not necessarily a balance in rosters as one team might have 8 returning players (4 available slots) and another team might have 2 returning players (10 available slots). This is balanced during the actual draft process, however.
- The Majors managers (no coaches or assistants allowed) will meet at the conclusion of tryouts – around the end of January – to draft eligible players to complete their rosters. In order of priority, eligible players are:
- 12 year-olds who attended tryouts
- 12 year-olds who did not attend tryouts, but by rule must play in the Majors
- 11 year-olds who attended tryouts and want to compete for a Majors’ position.
- The first order of business will be to set aside enough slots so that the 12 year-olds who must play Majors will all be assigned an available slot. For example, say there are 16 12 year-olds who did not attend tryouts but must be on a Majors team. Each manager must reserve 2 slots to accommodate the 16 players. However, they will be assigned teams last in the draft process. This leaves 30 available slots.
- Step two is to assign the manager’s child(ren) to the team roster. At the Majors level, no manager is automatically assigned to a team, even if he managed the team in the prior season. Every eligible manager applicant is evaluated on experience and previous parent reviews to determine who is assigned a team. Also, different from the minor divisions, no coaches are assigned until after the teams are formed. This means that only the manager’s player is assigned to his team, and a potential coach can only be named if his player is drafted to the team.
- The next step will be to draft eligible 12 year-olds and 11 year-olds. Recall that the 12 year-olds are guaranteed a slot in the Majors while the 11 year-olds are not. Consequently, the number of eligible 12’s will be tallied, and the remainder of the slots will be available for 11’s. Continuing with the above example, there are 30 available slots. If there are 20 eligible 12’s, that leaves 10 slots for eligible 11’s. (No, the Player Agent does not need to be an accountant, but it helps.)
- The draft begins with each manager in a pre-determined order making his selection. In all likelihood the 10 slots for 11 year-olds will be filled first, although not necessarily. If the best players are clearly from the 12 year-olds, they may be picked in early rounds, but knowing that only a small number of 11 year-olds can be chosen usually dictates that they are selected early in the draft. (Recall that an 11 year-old becomes a “Property Player” in the following season and therefore has two years to develop with the team.1)
- In the first round, every team will generally have one pick. In subsequent rounds, teams may be skipped if they already have more returning players than other teams. So the team with 8 returning players may not get to pick a player at all during rounds 2 – 9 so the other teams get to fill their rosters to the same level.
- After all eligible 12 year-olds have been drafted and the teams have also selected among the eligible 11’s to fill their unreserved slots, the 12 year-olds who did not tryout but must play in the Majors are assigned teams. This is completed by use of “Hat Picks”. As the name implies, each of the remaining 12 year-olds’ names are placed in a hat, and continuing in the same draft order each manager picks a player until all players have been assigned a team. Hat Picks are not necessarily weak players, and can, in fact, be some of the best. They are the players in that division who did not or were not able to attend tryouts. (Recall that injured players who attended tryouts but could not physically tryout are part of the group eligible to be drafted and are not part of the Hat Pick group.)
- The draft for the Majors is now complete.
- Majors managers and coaches are forbidden by National Little League regulations to discuss any aspects of the draft process outside of the meeting. Please do not ask “Who was drafted first” or “What round was my son drafted in”, etc.
Triple-A, and Double-A:
The selection process for AA and AAA is similar to Majors, but differs in a few key points:
- There are no “Property Players” at these levels. Consequently, the teams are reformed each year from the pool of all eligible players.
- Managers in AA and AAA are allowed to select one coach prior to the draft, ensuring that both the manager’s child and the coach’s child are on the team’s roster. Rules establish the round in the draft the manager’s and coach’s players are ‘drafted’. No other players can be ‘reserved’.
- Triple-A must allocate enough slots to cover all remaining 11 year-olds (not drafted into the Majors), both eligible and those who did not tryout. The remaining slots can be used to draft eligible 10 year-olds.
- Double-A must allocate enough slots to cover all remaining 10 year-olds (not drafted into Triple-A), both eligible and those who did not tryout. The remaining slots can be used to draft eligible 9 year-olds.
- Both AA and AAA use the Hat Pick method to assign players (10’s and 11’s, respectively) who did not tryout but are required to play at that level.
The selection process for Single-A is probably the most involved and complicated of the divisions.
- Managers may select two coaches prior to team assignments, so the roster begins with at least 3 players. No other players may be reserved.
- 9 year-olds who participated in tryouts must be assigned to each team equally, based on their tryout evaluation. The consideration is rather complex, but is related to the Player Call-Up Process. (See the FAQ on the What is a Call-Up for a complete description of the process.) Essentially, if a Majors team loses a player for any reason during the season, that team will “Call-up” a player from Triple-A. That Triple-A team will then look to Double-A for a replacement player, which in turn will select an available 9 year-old from Single-A. Single-A does not have that option; the buck stops there, so to speak. To ensure that this process is fair across all Single-A teams, each eligible 9 year-old (attended tryouts) is assigned to a team based on skill level. This ensures that no one Single-A team will lose all of its 9 year-olds without replacements and not have enough players to field a team.
- After assigning all eligible 9’s to teams equally, the remaining 9’s (did not tryout) are assigned to the teams. Consideration is given to schools, neighborhoods, carpools, etc.; however, balance in team skill level and parent request are measured. For example, if four slots remain on one team and three parents want their players on that team, leaving 1 player from a different school or neighborhood to fill the roster, it is likely the best solution is to fill those four slots with two players from each school. Please understand that this is not a science and the best solution for everyone drives the decisions that sometimes appear to ignore a request.
T-Ball, Rookie Ball and Farm:
These teams are formed by the Player Agent and Division Directors on the basis of providing the best fun and instructional experience for the players. Primary considerations are:
- Manager and Coach volunteers
We do our best to build teams enjoyable for all the families, and regretfully cannot accomodate special requests.
What is a “Call-up”?
Little League regulations require Majors Division teams to play with the same number of players on each roster. This means that if any Majors team loses a player during the season for any reason the local Little League must have a process in place to replace that player in a timely manner. Danville Little League employs a Player Call-up Process:
- Once a player has been officially released from a team for any reason, the Player Agent will consult the Division’s wait list. (Any player who registered after the draft is placed on a waiting list for the next available slot within his division). In the case of the Majors, the wait list will consist of 12 year-olds who must play in the Majors, but registered too late to be drafted. The manager of the affected team will be allowed to choose from the wait list to fill the vacancy.
- In the event that no players are wait-listed, the manager of the affected team will be presented a list of eligible Triple-A 11 year-olds. ‘Eligible’ means the player attended tryouts, did not submit a waiver to remain in Triple-A, and has not turned down a previous call up offer.
- The manager will select an eligible AAA player. (See the FAQ: What are a player’s choices if he or she is Called up?)
- The Triple-A team that loses a player must now find a replacement using the same steps:
- If an 11 year old is wait-listed, that player fills the slot.
- If no wait list exists, the AAA manager is given a list of eligible 10 year-olds from Double-A)
- The manager selects an eligible AA player to join the team.
- Double-A is now required to complete the same process, giving preference to wait-listed 10 year-olds then Single-A eligible 9’s.
- The process stops at the Single-A level. The only replacements available to Single-A team are wait-listed 9 year-olds. That means that during the season there may be an imbalance to rosters on competing teams. This may appear to give the team with fewer players an advantage, but recall that they are in this position because they just lost one of their strongest players to a call up.
What are a player’s choices if he or she is “Called Up?”
Danville Little League considers a “Call Up” an extremely positive experience. The player is acknowledged for a skill level considered appropriate for the next higher division. Players are typically only eligible for a Call Up if they tried out for that higher division. The Call Up is recognition that the player would have been at the higher level had there been enough slots in the first place. In every way possible, managers, coaches and parents should promote this to players, especially the younger players who may be uncomfortable at the thought of moving to a new team and playing, developing a new set of friends.
As you might expect, the cascading effect of moving players from team to team can take weeks, weeks that can be better spent developing on the new team. Consequently, the choices once called up are limited.
- First and foremost, we want players to accept the call up for the positive opportunity it is. What baseball movie doesn’t have the classic scene of the farm team rookie being called into the manager’s office and being told he’s “going to the show”?
- Before a player declines, he and his parents should understand fully the outcome:
- A player from a different team will be called up, and the player who declines will be immediately moved to fill that player’s roster spot on a different team. Please understand that this means a player can not decline a call up to stay on the same team.
- The player will not be eligible to be called up at any point later in the season.
- The player will not be eligible to participate on post season teams (“All Stars”).
- Please review the FAQ What level or division will my child be playing? and note Option 2 under Parental Preference. You can elect before the draft to restrict upward movement for your player, but this must be done before teams are selected.
If you have any concerns about the Call Up Process, please contact the Player Agent at:
I’m not happy with my son’s team assignment. What can I do?
Once the teams have been assigned, there are no opportunities for movement of players. Little League does not allow ‘trades’ between teams. If there are extenuating circumstances before the teams are formed, email
with the details and we can consider them.