Baseball - Minor Division Rules

Updated Monday May 22, 2017 by Franklin Little League.

Note that the Little League International rules apply, with the exception of the following.  These rules and guidelines will be in place for all interleague Minors regular-season games and the end-of-the season Minors tournament.

1.     Home and visitor dugout location for games is based on the “Miller Park” example.  Home team will occupy the 1st base dugout and the visiting team will occupy the 3rd base dugout.  Pregame warm-up should follow the following 5:30pm game example:

a)         Teams should really only count on using the infield for pre-game warm-ups before the first game of each day.

b)        5:00pm - All managers should have their players arrive ½ hr before the start of the games.

c)         5:00pm-5:05pm – Foul Line - Warm-ups should happen with the teams. Outfields will continue to be used by both teams until game time.

d)        5:05pm-5:15pm - Visitors can use the infield –Teams should be respectful of the lines during this time, and should be reminded of “superstition” if necessary.

e)         5:15pm-5:25pm – Home team can use the infield since they can then keep their gloves with them and catcher will keep his gear on/pitcher can warm-up so they are ready at the start of the game.  “Home Starting Pitcher” warm-ups should happen before 5:30pm with the first pitch of the game as close to 5:30pm as possible. Let’s get in as many innings as possible.

2.     Games last 6 innings or 2 hours, whichever comes first. A new inning shall not begin after 1 hour and 45 minutes of game time has expired.  There are no time limit exceptions for when no games follow and the inning that had started (before 1hr 45min) should be completed.  A game stops mid-inning if the 2-hour time limit is reached and then the score will revert back to the last full inning completed. Four innings is considered a complete game in the event of time limit or inclement weather.

3.     Franklin Little League is using continuous batting order. Any player arriving late (after managers have exchanged line-up cards) can be added to the roster but must be added to the bottom of the batting order to avoid game delays.

4.     A half inning ends when: Three outs are made, five runs are scored or the offensive team has batted through the order once (if the team with fewer players’ bats around, that team shall bat as many batters as the other team has players).

5.     Courteously runners are allowed for players playing the position of catcher in the next half-inning.  This is to avoid games delays

6.     On-deck batters are not allowed at any time, during the game, except for the first batter to start the top or bottom half of an inning.

7.     Batters may not square to bunt and then take a full swing. A batter that fakes a bunt and then swings will be called out. The ball is immediately dead and runners return to the base occupied at the time of the pitch.

8.     No player shall deliberately throw a bat or helmet. An umpire has the option to issue a warning to the player or immediately eject the player for unsportsmanlike conduct.

9.     A player who accidentally throws a bat – the bat slips out of their hands on a swing – will be given a warning at the end of the playing action. On a second or subsequent incident, the ball will be ruled immediately dead, the batter will be called out and any runners will be returned to the bases occupied at the time of the pitch.

10.  If a ball rolls under or is stuck underneath the outfield fence it will be ruled a ground-rule double. Balls that roll past or bounce over the outfield fence will also be ruled a ground-rule double.

11.  There is NO “must-slide rule” in Little League. By rule, a runner is out if he or she doesn’t slide OR attempt to get around a fielder that has the ball and is waiting to make the tag.

12.  A runner is out when he or she slides head first while advancing. Runners can slide head first only in returning to a base already attained.

13.  Nine players are required to play a game from start to finish and avoid a forfeit even if a player gets hurt. If a team doesn’t have nine players, a scrimmage game can be held with players from the other team filling that team’s roster.

14.  Walks are allowed, including when a run will score as a result.

15.  Obstruction is the act of a fielder who, while not making a play on the ball or in possession of the ball, impedes the progress of any runner. A fake tag is considered obstruction.

16.  A pitcher may only pitch 2 consecutive innings per game or 75 pitches, whichever comes first.

17.  If a pitcher throws 41 or more pitches they cannot play the position of catcher for the remainder of the day.

18.  Rest rules for pitchers:
- If a player pitches 66 or more pitches in a day, four (4) calendar days of rest must be observed.
- If a player pitches 51 - 65 pitches in a day, three (3) calendar days of rest must be observed.
- If a player pitches 36 - 50 pitches in a day, two (2) calendar days of rest must be observed.
- If a player pitches 21 - 35 pitches in a day, one (1) calendar days of rest must be observed.
- If a player pitches 1-20 pitches in a day, no (0) calendar day of rest is required.

19.  Stealing second or third base is allowed once the pitch has reached the batter. Only one base can be stole at a time. If Catcher makes poor throw in an attempt to get runner out, the runner must stay with the one base taken. No stealing home.

20.  Leading off is NOT allowed. Dancing on the bases will not be allowed when trying to steal bases, the player will be sent back to his/her base. Players cannot leave the base until the pitch reaches the batter or the ball is hit by the batter. If a runner leaves early, the runner is sent back to base he/she was on. If the runner is thrown out, the out stands.

21.  Injury to player on field will stop play after the play is called “dead” by umpires and time is called.

22.  All players should be rotated in and out of the games as equally as possible. Minors is an instructional/developmental league.

a)       No player shall play any position for more than 2 innings per game. 

b)      Managers have a couple options to ensure this materializes, both of these options have pros and cons:

1.         One option is to keep players at positions for 2 innings rather than only 1 inning.  To do this fairly equally within the season, managers have a plan that rotates players in the field for 2 innings at a time over multiple games.  With (12 to 13) players per team in the Minors this would result in players playing the field for the entire game about every other game (sometimes two games in a row) based on attendance of other players.

2.         The other option is to simply rotate players every inning, of every game.  

c)       Batting order must change from game to game, and all players should get at least one chance to be lead-off hitter, and other spots in the batting order, through-out a season.

d)      Players at 1st tier positions of Pitcher, 1st Base, and Catcher should be at skill level appropriate for those positions, to lessen the risk of injury.  The positions of 2nd base, 3rd base and shortstop are 2nd tier positions, with outfield being 3rd tier positions.  All managers should have a goal to work with players and their parents to get players to move up one tier by the end of the season.

23.  Outfield player positions are to start each play on the grass 5 to 10 steps or more from the infield.  At no time shall an outfield player start a play on the infield “dirt”.

24.  All managers are to have their players “tuck in” their jerseys when on the field during games and no player shall be on the field without their team jersey “tucked-in” and the team’s baseball cap on their head, when playing the field.

25.  All players should wear “cups” for all games but no player shall play the catcher position without “cup” protection.

26.  Batting helmets in Minors need to have an approved NOCSAE label.

27.  At the end of the game, the “home team” manager shall confirm with the “visiting team” manager and agree to the final score of the game.  Within 4 hours of the end of the game the “home team” manager shall input the score into the league administration system, Sports Illustrated Play

28.  After the game please promptly clean up your dugout and ensure the field is available for the next team to use on time

29.  If you are the last game of the evening, kindly re-tarp the field with the tarp and stakes provided in the dugouts.

30.  Other Guidelines, Expectations and Information for FLL Minors Managers

a)       Before the season begins Managers are expected to have at least two practices per week.

b)      It is expected that teams will practice at least once a week outside of games for a Sunday thru Saturday calendar week.  (Example:  Mets have games Tuesday and Thursday, Mets will practice Monday).  Managers should avoid Sunday morning practices.  Any time after 1pm on a Sunday should be fine.

c)       Managers are ultimately responsible for their coaches, players and parent’s actions during games.  It is strongly encouraged to have a team meeting, with the parents present, to review team rules and polices regarding practices and games.  Any manager that has a dispute with another manager, coach or parent that cannot be resolved after a game or practice, with 24 hours of cool down, should bring the issue to the attention of the Minors VP.  The Minors VP will work with the president and the board to resolve the issue.

d)      Managers are no longer responsible for concession sign-ups.  All coaches are expected to participate ½ of the full requirement to receive the $100 volunteer hold-back fee.

e)      Managers are responsible for opening day / picture day attendance.

f)       Managers are responsible for to have all their team families review the “FLL Code of Conduct” if warranted because of a situation that arouse.

g)      Managers are expected to become familiar with, and follow the “new” field and facility use instructions document.