It has come to the Board's attention that there has been some confusion regarding how little league players are slotted into their Divisions each season. This page is intended to help parents understand how players between league age 7 and 12 are assigned to their divisions. Below please find a summary explanation.
There are six divisions in the Ahwatukee Little League:
- The Majors Division is limited to league age 12 and 11 players. League age 12 players cannot play below Majors.
- The AAA Division is limited to league age 11 and 10 players. League age 11 players cannot play below AAA.
- The AA Division is limited to league age 10 and 9 players. League age 10 players cannot play below AA.
- The Farm Division is limited to league age 9, 8, and some league age 7 players. League age 9 and 8 players cannot play below Farm.
- The Coach Pitch Division is limited to league age 7 and 6 players.
- The T-ball Division is limited to league age 5 and 4 players.
If a player does not attend tryouts, they will automatically be slotted for the lowest division for which they are eligible (more info on this below).
The breakdown of league age players eligible for each division varies from year to year depending upon the total number of player registrations. However, the league age limitations listed above are generally what the Ahwatukee Little League follows. [Please note there may be special circumstances in which players may play in a Division below the league age parameters listed above, but those are rare and subject to Board approval.]
Players are able to play in a Division higher than their baseline division only where additional spots are available. For example, if there are 4 Majors teams with 12 spots on each roster, there are 48 total spots available. Recall that all league age 12 players must play in Majors. If only 32 league age 12 players have registered, 16 additional league age 11 players will be drafted onto the 4 majors teams (32 league age 12 players + 16 league age 11 players = 48 total players across 4 teams). Because a certain number of league age 11 players are "pulled up" into majors, a corresponding number of league age 10s will then be "pulled up" into AAA. This affects the number of league age 9 players "pulled up" into AA, and the number of league age 7 players "pulled up" into Farm. Please note the number of players "pulled up" into each Division will vary depending upon the number of teams in each Division.
The scarcity of slots for younger players in each Division may explain why your player did not get "pulled up" into a higher division. For example, if 60 league age 7 players have registered but only 12 slots are open for league age 7 players in the Farm Division, 48 league age 7 players will slot into the Coach Pitch Division.
Critically, a player will only be drafted into a higher Division if the coaches in that division believe the player has the appropriate skill level. Coaches are only able to assess skill level if players attend tryouts. This is one important reason why all league age 7-12 players are required to attend tryouts. If players do not attend tryouts, they will automatically be slotted in the lowest Division for which they are eligible. Coaches cannot draft a younger player into a higher Division where the player's skill level is unknown.
Relatedly, some coaches in the past have encouraged skilled players not to attend tryouts so that they can draft the player without other coaches knowing of the player's talent. This goes against the spirit of little league, which is one additional reason why all players are required to attend tryouts.
Because the Board understands that families are busy, tryouts are scheduled over two separate Saturdays. If your player cannot attend either tryout day, they will be slotted in the lowest division for which they are eligible for the reasons stated above. The player will become a "hat pick" during the draft, meaning that they will be randomly assigned to a team.
We hope this information provides some additional clarity regarding your child's Division placement. Please note that this page is meant as informational and as a general summary. It does not attempt to address every possible circumstance in every season. If you have any questions, please reach out to a member of the Ahwatukee Little League Board.