An Education in Roster Management

Yesterday the Cannons acquired 7 new players to fill out their roster and now that we have this blog up and running it seems the perfect way to give you some insight into how the roster is compiled.  It’s some complicated stuff so we asked Cannons GM Mark Kastrud to help navigate us through it.

At the end of every season each team in the MLL protects up to 23 players on its roster.  These 23 players are the core of the organization.  Any player not protected by a team becomes eligible for the MLL Supplemental Draft.  The number of rounds in the Supplemental Draft has varied over the years, this year it was 7 rounds.  The Supplemental Draft Order is decided by the standings of the just concluded season; the worst team gets the first pick, second to last the second pick and so on.

At the end of the Supplemental Draft teams may acquire additional players beyond the ones they have just drafted.  Teams must put in a claim for a player.  If multiple teams put in a claim for the same player the player’s rights are awarded to the team that put in a claim who had the worst record.  Kastrud said it’s uncommon for multiple teams to put in a claim for the same players as teams at this point typically claim local players.

Kastrud pointed to John Ortolani as a player taken in the Supplemental Draft in the past who has a real chance to make an impact in the league.  In addition to the 7 round draft the Cannons selected 9 players through the waiver claim process for a total of 16 supplemental eligible players.

John Ortolani was a supplemental pick who could make an impact

Players had until March 1st to sign their MLL contracts or they weren’t eligible to play in the league this season.  If a player chooses not to sign, the team that has his rights retains his rights until they must choose 23 players to protect at the end of the season.  The team could choose to protect a player who did not play the previous year, but that is also uncommon because the 23 protected slots are precious.

Now some of you may be wondering how the Cannons could sign 7 players yesterday, after the contract signing deadline.  Good Question says Kastrud! Any player who was not selected in the supplemental draft is not subject to the contract signing deadline and may be signed by any team at any time.

After the contract signing deadline the Cannons had available space on their roster.  Kastrud indicated the 7 players signed yesterday will get a serious look in training camp, “We’re always looking for that diamond in the rough,” he said.  Brandon Spillett is a player the Cannons acquired whose availability is seen as somewhat of a surprise considering the previous success he has enjoyed as a member of the now defunct Rochester Rattlers.

Kastrud was sure to clarify that there are essentially two different rosters and actually three after the Collegiate Draft; are you still following? The first roster is the off-season 40 man roster that we have covered up until this point.  Next is the in-season roster.  The in-season roster consists of 23 players, 19 of whom may be active and dress for a game. 

On top of the 23 player roster, after training camp each team designates 8 players to its practice squad.  A practice squad player may be signed by another MLL team at any time, but must then be placed on that teams active roster; meaning a team cannot sign another teams practice squad player to make them a part of their practice squad.

And there’s one more aspect to this personnel carousel, and that’s the draft. The draft is the “third roster” that Kastrud referred to earlier. The MLL is somewhat unique in having its draft during the season.  To enable teams to keep their roster stable and allow young players to develop, collegiate players can be put on a special “Collegiate Inactive” list.

Paul Rabil quickly made the transition from college to the pro's

 Players with this designation may practice with the team but cannot play in games.  If a team wishes to activate a college player they must waive a member of the 23 man roster.

The draft this year is June 6th at Yale, the top collegiate seniors will scrimmage against Team USA.  The event is open to the public and sounds like a great time! You can read more about it at bostoncannons.com.  The Cannons have 5 of the first 21 draft picks this year.

Hope that gives some insight into the flow of an MLL roster, pat yourself on the back if you were able to follow all the way through!  If you have any questions for GM Mark Kastrud post them here and he’ll try to answer them.

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