With the goal of increasing competitive balance within divisions, the
NOLL/SOLL board approved a Division Realignment plan to take effect for
the Spring 2017 season. The major change of the plan emphasizes moving
younger players into the Intermediate and Juniors divisions. The plan
makes subtle changes that aim to create a consistent growth and
development path for all kids from AA thru Juniors.
Under the previous alignment, there were only two playing differences
between the AA, AAA and Majors divisions: by national rule, the batter
is out on all dropped third strikes (D3K) in AA and AAA and by local
rule, curveballs are not allowed in AA and AAA. This means that many
kids play 5 years with essentially the same ruleset. After Majors, the
growth path steepens sharply. The Intermediate division (new to LL in
20013) lengthens the bases from 60′ to 70′ and adds
leads/steals/pickoffs/balks. From Intermediate to Juniors, the diamond
increases to 90′ bases.
Under the realignment, AA will use a 42′ pitching distance. This makes
pitching in AA a more reachable goal for more kids and creates a
significant difference between AA and AAA. By moving advanced 12s into
Intermediate division, we move those kids further along the growth path
by increasing the size of the diamond and adding the leads/pickoffs
ruleset instead of letting them stagnate for a second (and sometimes
third) year at Majors.
Under the previous alignment, 9s (FarmB, AA, AAA) 10s (AA, AAA) and 11s
(AAA, Majors) are all drafted to multiple divisions based on talent. As
an example, an inexperienced 10 would play in AA (with good 9s and some
8s), an average 10 would play in AAA (with weaker 11s and some 9s).
This ‘talent striping’ effect has worked well in the minors. All 12s
play together at the Majors level and all 13s play together at the
Intermediate level. This exposes and emphasizes the differences between
the best and worst 12s and 13s.
Under the realignment, 10s may be drafted to Majors, 12s to Intermediate
and 13s to Juniors. By allowing teams in Majors, Intermediate and
Juniors to draft 10s, 12s and 13s respectively, we extend the ‘talent
striping’ across all these divisions which should create more
competitive balance across divisions. The Majors and Intermediate
divisions will get slightly younger as 12s are replaced by 10s in
Majors, 13s are replaced by 12s in Intermediate and 13s are added to
HOW WILL THIS AFFECT YOUR PLAYER
Many families asked us how this will affect their child. Let’s break it
out by 2016 age and skill. Note, rising 11s means 11 in 2017.
Players who were age 5-9 in TBall or Farm will not be affected. When
players are drafted into AA (as rising 8s, 9s or 10s) they will
experience the new pitching distance.
Players who were age 8-10 in AA will be drafted into AA or AAA. Some
rising 11s may be drafted up to Majors, but the league will proactively
contact those families in advance before forcing them to skip a division.
Players who were age 9 in AAA may be drafted into AAA or Majors as
Players who were age 10 in AAA may be drafted into AAA or Majors as
Players who were age 10 in Majors will be drafted into Majors as rising
11s unless they indicate that they want to be eligible for the
Players who were age 11 in AAA will be drafted into Majors as rising 12s. The league will contact families where we think that a player should be considered to play up into Intermediates.
Players who were age 11 in Majors will be drafted into Majors or
Intermediates as rising 12s.
Players who were age 12 in Majors or Intermediates will be drafted into
Intermediates or Juniors as rising 13s.
WHAT IF WE HAVE SPECIAL REQUESTS for our PLAYER?
The Division page on our website has a simple graph of the ages and
divisions which should make it easier to see what the primary age group
at each division is. As part of the division realignment process we
determined that for players age 11 and up, the family will have to make
a request to the league for players in the lowest age bracket of a
division to play up a division. For example, a league age 11 player
will have to request to be available in the Intermediate draft if the
family thinks that player is ready to play at a higher level. If no
request is made, 11s would be drafted primarily into Majors and AAA. On
the other end of player requests, if your family believes that your
player belongs in the lowest division appropriate for that age group,
you may submit a request for that player to ‘play down’. We handle
requests to play down in the context of achieving competitive balance
for our divisions, if the player would be drafted in the top half of the
player draft, the play down request would be denied, however if they are
not selected in the top half of the draft, we will make sure they play
down in the lower division. Additionally we clarified that players will
not be forced to skip divisions without approval from the player and
family. A player who is a AA player may only be drafted into Majors if
the family and player requests or acknowledges a desire to be available
in the higher draft.
We hope this answers any questions you have. If not, please email us at