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4A Player: Baseball Terminology

A 4A baseball player is someone who is good enough to play well in Triple-A but isn’t good enough to succeed in the Majors. Guys who are called up and optioned down frequently might think of themselves as 4A players because they aren’t the ones who stay in the Majors. They are the players who are the first ones to be sent down when a change is needed.

There are September call-ups who get a cup of coffee every year. Some of those players are getting their first taste of the big leagues. Others are trying to get more playing time and prove they can handle the competition at the highest level. With expanded rosters at the end of the season, there isn’t much to worry about as far as getting sent back down to the minors. The minor league seasons are over at this point.

4A Player: Baseball TerminologyIt is during the beginning and middle of the baseball seasons that players are on the lookout for that call up to The Show. The 4A player might even start the season off on the big league club out of spring training. But again, if there is another player whom the parent club needs, the 4A guy is the first one sent down. He could be the first one called up when there is a spot to fill, but the lack of assurance of a roster spot can be daunting.

Many players can be considered a journeyman as they meander through the minor leagues. These players never seem to stick with one club but are able to bounce from team to team as needed. The 4A player can very well turn into a minor league journeyman after a plethora of promotions and demotions. It can be taxing on a player both mentally and emotionally. A Major League debut can provide an adrenaline rush like no other, but after four or five call-ups, the uncertainty can kick in for a 4A player.

How long is he up? Is there a chance to start or is he a bench guy? Who is the next guy in line for a chance? Some of the answers to these questions might be known, and some might not. Either way, the 4A player is the one in Major League limbo who has to decide whether he can handle being tossed around from league to league. Or he can find a way to get better and turn himself into a Major Leaguer who earns a full season’s salary and not prorated paychecks.

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