How to Play Fantasy Baseball
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The Internet's most complete index of Fantasy Baseball links!
The following intructions for playing Fantasy Baseball are compliments of the Fantasy Sports
Trade Association (FSTA), a non-profit trade organization, was founded for the betterment of the fantasy sports industry
and to encourage participation in Fantasy Sports Leagues. The FSTA will look to protect the commercial and
consumer rights of individual players and business owners, address government regulations and serve as the unified voice of
the Fantasy Sports Industry.
Visit the The Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) official homepage, Click the Logo Below:
How to Play Fantasy Baseball
Every day, more and more sports fans are becoming familiar with the rules and regulations of fantasy
baseball. For anyone interested in starting a league, it's as easy as one-two-three. All you have to do is follow a few flexible
rules and take it from there. The beauty of fantasy baseball is that there really isn't any set guideline you MUST follow.
It's your fantasy league, so fantasize any way you want. The main thing is to enjoy baseball and enjoy fantasy baseball. That's
it. OK, let's take it step by step and get you started.
Assemble a handful of baseball fanatics who are willing to wheel and deal throughout the course of
the baseball season. There is no set number, mind you, but 10 teams is great and 12 teams is perfect. Anything less than eight
makes it a league filled with all-stars, while anything more than 12 is pushing the impossible. Make sure you find guys who
are just as nuts about baseball as you are, and it will help immensely if a couple of the players have been in a fantasy league
Elect a commissioner. He or she will be responsible for compiling weekly statistics of every team,
and can be called the High Exalted Commissioner for Life or something of that ilk. The commissioner should be somebody that
every team owner respects because he/she will be responsible for the league constitution, bylaws and all final decisions.
One of the commissioner's responsibilities is writing the league newsletter, which goes out every week or two with complete
standings and statistics, or typing into the computer if it's an on-line league.
One of your first big decisions will be to decide whether to mix players from the American and National
leagues or to compete with players from just one league. If you mix leagues, the number of teams can be greater than 10 or
12. Using just one league has the advantage of making every owner use stars, backups and scrubs. Mixing the leagues, of course,
provides enough superstars for every team.
Each team is composed of 23 players taken from the active rosters of the NL and/or AL teams. Each
team's roster usually consists of two catchers, one first baseman, one second baseman, one shortstop, one third baseman, one
middle infielder (second baseman or shortstop), one corner infielder (first baseman or third baseman), one designated hitter
(for AL leagues, or call him a utility player for NL leagues), five outfielders and nine pitchers. The pitching breakdown
is usually five starters and four relievers, although that isn't written in stone.
Players are acquired in one of two ways and here's one of the slight differences between Rotisserie
baseball and fantasy baseball. Generally, fantasy baseball uses a draft to select teams, much like the NFL does. Each team
is responsible for filling its 23 roster positions, but the owners can pick any player at any position whenever their turn
in the draft comes up. Some leagues hold drafts in January and February and draft as many as 40 players per team, and then
cut down to 23 by Opening Day. Other leagues pick after Opening Day and fill their 23-man roster through the draft, using
only players that made major-league rosters. To pick the draft order for an inaugural season, cut cards, draw straws or do
something equally scientific. Rotisserie baseball is different in that teams are formed using an open auction to select players.
Each team is assigned $260 to allocate for player salaries. Unlike the first method of drafting, the order of auctioning players
doesn't matter. The minimum first bid is $1. Bidding then proceeds around the room at minimum increments of $1 until the player
is purchased by one team owner. The process is repeated until every team has a full complement of 23 position players. With
this method, each team has to stay within its budget.
Team rankings are tabulated using four or more offensive categories and four pitching categories.
The offensive statistics most often used are composite team batting average, total home runs, total runs batted in and total
stolen bases, with runs scored the fifth-most popular choice. The pitching categories are usually composite team earned-run
average, total wins, total saves and composite team WHIP Ratio (walks plus hits divided by number of innings pitched), and
strikeouts are also often used.
Know your rules. For instance, if you're in a 10-team league, the team that finished first in a category
earns 10 points, the second-place team gets nine points, third place eight points and so forth down to the last-place team
getting one point. So the team with the most home runs by its 14 offensive players receives 10 points, while the team with
the least number of home runs gets just one point. This system works for all categories, each of which have equal value, so
the most points a team in a 10-team league with eight categories could receive if it won every category is 80 points.
The biggest headache for the commissioner used to be compiling team statistics. That was before the
Internet, that is, and the development of stats services. Very few leagues currently compile their own stats. Your best bet
is to search on-line or check out the ads in this magazine. You'll find that because of competition, the price can be very
reasonable, or even free.
Transaction deadlines must be set. It used to be that leagues would use USA Today for their stats,
so the week would run from the time USA Today ran its stats for each league on Tuesday and Wednesday. Now, most stat services
run on a Monday through Sunday week, and many on-line services are flexible enough to allow you to determine when your weekly
transactions must be made. Most often, it's Monday afternoon.
A player is eligible to be drafted at any position at which he appeared in 20 games or more during
the preceding year. Because of this rule, Fantasy Sports Magazine includes games played at each position for every player
who is analyzed in this issue.
If one of your players is put on the disabled list, sent to the minors or released, he may be replaced
by a player who is unprotected by any other team. If Carlos Lee gets hurt or somehow gets sent back to the minors midway through
the season and is replaced by Jeff Abbott, you could put Lee on your protected list and pick up Abbott as a free agent. But
when Lee returns from the minors or the DL, you have to cut one of them for good.
Each league has to make decisions on how they want to play and for what price. We do not recommend
you play for money; think of the $260 figure as a form of Monopoly money. But a league traveling trophy is a good idea, so
that at least you have something concrete to play for.
Don't get too complicated with your rules. For starters, we recommend that you don't include any
more statistics than the eight proposed, although runs and strikeouts are also used in many leagues across the country. Those
eight categories will give you a clear indication of the better team.
Another bit of advice if you want
to play fantasy sports in the future, plan on being on the Internet. That's where the game is headed, although many services
provided stats that can be faxed or mailed, and those leagues can be just as fun. Finally, keep it simple and have fun. That's
the entire groundwork you'll need to start a fantasy baseball league. We hope this will help you get a league started. Soon
you'll find out what more than 4 million fantasy baseball fanatics have been enjoying for the last decade.