Arizona League logo
|No. of teams||14|
|Arizona League Mariners (4th title)|
|Most titles||Arizona League Athletics (6 titles)|
|Official website||Official Website|
The Arizona League is a minor league baseball league that operates in and around Phoenix, Arizona. It is a rookie-level league run by Major League Baseball since 1988. Along with the Gulf Coast League, it forms the lowest rung of the minor-league system. Games are not marketed to the general public, and no admission is charged for spectators.
Games are played at the spring training complexes of the teams' parent organizations from mid-June until the end of August. Every Cactus League team fields an Arizona League team with the exception of the Colorado Rockies. Night games are commonly played in the spring training stadium, though games may be played at the team's practice fields.
The regular season is 56 games, with a 35-player roster limit. Players must not have more than three years of previous minor league experience to be eligible to play.
Teams primarily consist of players from the Dominican Republic and recently drafted high school and college players, and are owned by their parent clubs. Most of the players have just been selected in that year's entry draft, two to three weeks before the league begins its season. The league is also where major league players often go for their first rehab assignments. No official attendance records are kept as there is no paid admittance fee, and no concessions are sold. Few spectators show up, and games are typically played in temperatures above 100 °F (38 °C).
Prior to 1998, the league champion was the team with best record over the course of the season. Since 1998 the season has been split into two half-seasons. From 1998 to 2008, the teams with the best records in each half faced off to decide the league champion. If the same team won both halves, they were automatically crowned champions (only one team accomplished this, the 2005 Arizona League Giants).
In 2009, the league split into two divisions, an alignment that was used through the 2012 season. The two teams in each division with the best record in each half-season played off for the division championship, and the winners advanced to the final. If the same team won their division in both halves, they advanced directly to the final.
The league's current playoff format has been used since the league realigned into three divisions in 2013. The six teams who win their division in the first and second half of the season qualify for the playoffs. If a team wins both halves, the next best team in that division by overall record qualifies for the playoffs. The top two teams by overall record receive a bye to the semifinals. All playoff games are single elimination, with the exception of a best-of-3 final.
- Arizona League Cardinals (1989–1994; became Gulf Coast League Cardinals and moved to Gulf Coast League, 1995–present)
- Arizona League Mariners/Red Sox (1988; split into two teams: Arizona League Mariners, 1989–present, and Gulf Coast League Red Sox in the Gulf Coast League, 1989–present)
- Arizona League Mexico (1998–2000)
- Arizona League Rockies (1993–2000)
- Arizona League Rockies/Cubs (1992; split into two teams: Arizona League Rockies, 1993–2000, and Gulf Coast League Cubs of the Gulf Coast League, 1993–1996)
- Arizona League Royals 1 and Arizona League Royals 2 (2003; Arizona League Royals operated as two teams for one season, then as one team from 2004–present)
Finals opponent in parenthesis, if applicable.
- 1988: AZL Brewers
- 1989: AZL Brewers
- 1990: AZL Brewers
- 1991: AZL Athletics
- 1992: AZL Athletics
- 1993: AZL Athletics
- 1994: AZL Cardinals
- 1995: AZL Athletics
- 1996: AZL Padres
- 1997: AZL Cubs
- 1998: AZL Rockies
- 1999: AZL Athletics (def. AZL Mexico)
- 2000: AZL Mariners (def. AZL Rockies)
- 2001: AZL Athletics (def. AZL Mariners)
- 2002: AZL Cubs (def. AZL Giants)
- 2003: AZL Royals 1 (def. AZL Rangers)
- 2004: AZL Giants (def. AZL Athletics)
- 2005: AZL Giants
- 2006: AZL Padres (def. AZL Angels)
- 2007: AZL Mariners (def. AZL Angels)
- 2008: AZL Giants (def. AZL Angels)
- 2009: AZL Mariners (def. AZL Giants)
- 2010: AZL Brewers (def. AZL Reds)
- 2011: AZL Dodgers (def. AZL Giants)
- 2012: AZL Rangers (def. AZL Athletics)
- 2013: AZL Giants (def. AZL Dodgers)
- 2014: AZL Indians (def. AZL Giants)
- 2015: AZL White Sox (def. AZL Mariners)
- 2016: AZL Mariners (def. AZL Angels)
- "Baseball Leagues by Season". TheBaseballCube.com.