SimLeague Baseball Official Rules

SimLeague Baseball - Official Game Rules

Team Draft | Team Management | League Play

TEAM DRAFT

A. Roster/Salary Cap

After you sign up, you will be taken to the Team Draft Center. You must fill a roster comprised of the following positions:

PositionNumber
Catcher1
First Base1
Second Base1
Shortstop1
Third Base1
Outfield3
Bench Players4-11
Pitching Staff6-13
TOTAL25

Each team owner is given cash based on the league salary cap to cover their payroll expenses. Open leagues will all have an $80 million cap. Theme leagues may have salary caps ranging from $40 million to $200 million.

This cash may be dispersed any way you see fit. For example, you can choose to spend most of it on just a handful of players or you may choose a more balanced spending approach. It is highly advisable to draft a backup for each position because position players will fatigue during the season if used more frequently than in their actual season.

Salaries for all players are not based on actual salary data, but instead calculated using formulas to equate the value of historical players in today's dollars, e.g. how much would '27 Babe Ruth be worth in today's market?

Once you add a player to your roster, the player may be replaced at any time until you join a league.

***You do NOT have to draft your entire team all at once. We save your draft picks, so if you want to come back and finish you draft, you can!

B. Available Players

Since SimLeague competition is based on statistics (i.e. past performance), you may choose from any player, both current and past, that meets the following criteria:

  • Pitchers (both starting and relief): minimum of 25 innings pitched.
  • Position players: minimum of 50 at bats.

Players are not listed by career numbers, but instead individual season statistics. So, you may have the same player on your roster multiple times, as long as the player is from different seasons (often referred to as a 'clone'), i.e. you can have '98 and '99 Pedro Martinez on your roster, but you can not have 2 '99 Pedro Martinez on your roster. In addition, a player may be on more than one team in the league at the same time, i.e. 2 teams may both have'98 Sammy Sosa on their rosters.

When searching for players, you may search by using a combination of various criteria including some of the following criteria:

  • The player's last name, e.g. Rose
  • City of the team he played for, e.g. Cincinnati
  • Salary Range, e.g. $200,000-$500,000
  • Season Range, e.g. 1975-1990

Searches are also saved and can be recalled later to help make the drafting process as easy as possible. In addition, there are 3 different search interfaces: beginner, normal, and advanced. So, based on your knowledge of historical players and statistics, there'll be one interface available just for you!

C. Joining a League

Once the roster has been completed, you will be asked to give your team a name (the use of profanity is prohibited) and be asked to choose a home ballpark. You have over 100 ballparks to choose from, ranging from historic to modern, pitcher's parks to hitter's parks.

You will also be asked to either:

a.) Join the first available league - your team will be placed in the first league with an open spot - this option gives you the best opportunity to start league play as soon as possible,

b.) Create a private league - this option allows you to create a new private league. After the league has been created you can invite your friends to join you.  Please note that if you start a private league, you have 7 days to fill the league (all full-season leagues need 24 owners). After the 7 days, your league will be opened to the public to fill any remaining spots,

c.) Create a theme league - this option allows you to specify certain restrictions and rules for the league ranging from player seasons available to statistical requirements to whether or not a live player draft should be used. The choices are plentiful and the rules are automatically enforced. See more details below.

d.) Join an existing league - use this option if you have received an invitation to join a private league or join a theme league.

After you've completed your roster, passed your team through any necessary rules enforcement, named your team and selected your ballpark, your team will be saved and placed in a league. Once the league is full, each team owner will receive an email notifying them that their league has been set, games scheduled and the date league play will begin.

D. Team Draft Tips

When creating your team, remember these tips:

  • Unless it's a theme league that uses a Designated Hitter, your pitcher will bat for himself.
  • Fatigue is a factor. Don't expect pitchers that normally throw 3 innings to be able to pitch for 9 innings and don't expect players that only had 50 at bats to be fresh for the whole season. They will get tired!
  • Our recommendation is to draft at least 1,500 innings pitched and 6,000 plate appearances in order to successfully handle a 162 game Open League schedule.
  • The matchup of the current pitcher/batter (right versus right, right versus left, left versus right, left versus left) will influence the outcome of each at bat.
  • Ballpark is factored into the simulation, e.g. if your lineup is loaded with power hitters, Coors Field may be wise choice for a home ballpark.
  • Speed and defense are used by the simulation engine -- but remember, they are also affected by fatigue.
  • After your team has been created and the league has been filled, you may modify your roster by making trades and claiming players off the waiver wire (unless it's a theme league where each may be turned off). For more information on Trades and Waiver Claims, see below!
Team Draft | Team Management | League Play

TEAM MANAGEMENT

Once you have completed your roster and selected a home park, you will be taken to the Team Management Center. The Team Management Center is the center of your SimLeague universe. From the Team Management Center, you have access to different areas to help you manage your team:

A. Team Center

The Team Center allows you to switch between teams (if you own more than 1 team), sign up for new teams, continue drafting teams in the Draft Center, participate in Live Draft leagues, see the Game of the Week, view recent Site Changes, and view other important notices passed along from WhatIfSports regarding SimLeague Baseball.

B. League Office 

The League Office allows you to view your team's schedule, view your team's standings, view stats for the other teams in your league, post messages to other team owners in your league, and view boxscores from any day on your schedule.

C. Manager's Office 

The Manager's Office allows you to preview your current series matchup including the next pitcher you'll face, set your Managerial Style, align your pitching rotation (anywhere from a 1-man rotation to a 6-man rotation), configure your bullpen and set your lineup versus both left-handers and right-handers. From here, you'll also be able to assign individual player settings for both offense and pitching, view your team's hitting and pitching stats, view your next opponent's pitching and hitting stats, view the statistical league leaders, view statistical team rankings, and view the condition of everyone on your team.

All decisions must be made by 11:59pm EST to ensure they are used for overnight games, 11:59am EST to ensure they are used for afternoon games, and 4:59pm EST to ensure they are used for evening games.

D. GM's Office 

Waiver Wire

The General Manager's office provides access to the SimLeague Waiver Wire. The Waiver Wire shows players that are available to be claimed. The longer the player is on the wire, the lower his salary goes. Salaries are reduced by 4% per day up to a maximum of 12%. You may claim a player if you don't already have that player on your roster (the same player from the same year can not be on your roster twice) and you have enough available cash to afford to claim the player. If it's a theme league, he must also meet the theme league's rules.

In order to claim a player off waivers, you must also release a player unless your team has an empty roster spot resulting from an uneven trade. The salary freed up by releasing a player combined with any available cash you had after your draft equals your buying power - the maximum you can spend to claim a player on waivers.

Players are claimed and released constantly as the same Waiver Wire is used by all leagues. So if you release Sammy Sosa, he may be picked up by someone else in another league or by someone in your league and vice versa.

Limitations:   All rosters must be final by the date specified on your GM's Office page (the transaction deadline) , i.e. you will not be able to waive or claim players after that time. In addition, you may not waive the pitcher scheduled to start your team's next game. For spring-training leagues, you are limited to 2 transactions with no deadline. For both types of leagues, you must pay a 10% transaction charge for each player that you claim. For example, if you want to claim a $1 million player, you'll need to give up $1.1 million.

Trades (FULL-SEASON ONLY)

Full-season team owners are also capable of making trades with other league owners. Each trade may involve anywhere from 1 to 6 players (including AAA players) and can also involve the transfer of cash. But remember, the resulting trade must keep both teams under their salary cap! Once a trade is accepted by both participating owners, there is a 24-hour waiting period where other league owners may approve or veto a trade. If 6 or more owners reject the trade, then it is officially veoted. But be careful, the other owners will see who approves and rejects trades.

In order to facilitate trades, team owners may place certain players on the trading block for other owners to view. If you see a player on the block you're interested in, simply click on the player's name and the trade proposal is initiated.

Limitations:

  The Transaction Deadline also applies to making trades.   However, trades can be proposed no later than 24 hours prior to the transaction deadline.

AAA Prospects (FULL-SEASON ONLY)

Full-season teams also have 8 AAA prospects to choose from. Each player is rated relative to other AAA players. Certain ratings use a scale of 1 to 10 (10 best, 1 worst) and other ratings use a scale of A, B or C (A best, C worst). Just as in real life, some prospects will do poorly and some will do well, it's up to you as the General Manager to monitor their performance before deciding who stays on the final roster and who finishes the season in AAA.

Players can be called up at any time (until the transaction deadline - see above) by simply clicking on the player's name. Calling a player up will require that someone from your active roster be sent down to AAA (unless there's an empty roster spot resulting from an uneven trade). Players sent down to AAA can not be recalled to your big league roster until at least 3 games have been played.  The payroll for your active roster can not exceed the league salary cap. The payroll for the players you have in AAA is unlimited, but keep in mind that you still have to pay the salary of someone you send to AAA.  So for example, if you had $100,000 in cash and you called up a AAA prospect and sent down someone making $1,550,000, you would still have $100,000 incash.

Limitations:  You can not waive a AAA prospect.

Team Draft | Team Management | League Play

LEAGUE PLAY MANAGEMENT

A. The Schedule

For the full 162 games season leagues, each team will play 3 games every day - one game will be simulated overnight, one game in the afternoon and one game in the evening. The breakdown will be as follows:

Opponent Teams Games Total
Against my division 3 14 42
Inter-Division 8 12 96
Inter-League 12 2 24
TOTAL     162

For the spring-training leagues, teams play a 10-game season, 2 games at home and 2 games away against each team in your league. Games are simulated overnight on the same schedule as full-season, 3 games per day.

B. Playoffs (FULL-SEASON ONLY)

Each division winner will make the playoffs. The winner of each division shall be the team with the best winning percentage at the completion of the regular season relative to other teams in their division. In the event of a tie in which 2 teams have identical winning percentages at the end of the regular season, a 1 game tie-breaker will be scheduled to take place the day after the regular season is over. The home team will be decided via coin flip. In the case of a 1 game tiebreaker, each manager may choose the starting pitcher for the game by placing that pitcher in the #1 spot in the rotation.  Each tiebreaker game is then included in the regular season's record, so some teams could end up with more than 162 regular season games when calculating the team winning percentage.

The 3 division winners from each conference and the team with the best record not to win their division (wildcard team) will make the playoffs for a total of 4 teams from each conference. The teams will be seeded 1-4. Seeds 1-3 will be the division winners in order of winning percentage (the #1 seed going to the division winner with the best winning percentage). The #4 seed will go to the wildcard team.  The team with the lower seed will have home-field advantage throughout the playoffs. In the event two teams have identical regular season records, total winning percentage (including playoff wins and losses) shall be used. In the event two teams still have the same records, a coin flip shall be used to determine who receives home field advantage.

Of the division winners, the team with the best overall winning percentage will play the team with the best record not to win a division (the wildcard team), unless they are in the same division. In that case, the #1 team will play the #3 team and the #2 team will play #4. In the event 2 teams have identical winning percentages, head to head record will be used as the tie-breaker. The other 2 division winners will play each other. Both series will be best of 5 with the team with the better regular-season record having home field advantage. Games 1 and 2 at the team with home-field advantage, Games 3 and 4 at the team without home-field advantage and back to the team with home-field advantage for game 5 (if necessary).

The winners of these series shall meet in a best of 7 league championship series. Games 1 and 2 at the team with home-field advantage, games 3, 4, and 5 at the team without home-field advantage and games 6 and 7 at the team with home-field advantage.

The winner of each conference's LCS shall meet in the SimLeague Finals for a best of 7 series. This series shall follow the same format as in the LCS: Games 1 and 2 at the team with home-field advantage, games 3, 4, and 5 at the team without home-field advantage and games 6 and 7 at the team with home-field advantage. Home-field advantage is given to the team with the higher seed. In the event of even seeds, the team with the higher regular season winning percentage receives home-field advantage. If this is even, too, then the team with the fewest playoff losses earns it. Otherwize, a coin flip decides.

Note: For theme leagues that enforce a minimum games played LIVE requirement, additional logic applies when not enough teams qualify. When a division winner can't be crowned because no team in the division played enough games LIVE, then the team with the best winning percentage in the league who played enough games LIVE and did not win a division title will earn the playoff spot. If a division title or wild card spot isn't awarded because no team in the league met the requirements, we then issue a virtual forfeit to each team for each game under the minimum. For instance, if a team has a record of 100-62 but only played 50 games LIVE when the requirement is 60 games, they then have a record of 90-72 for playoff purposes. The team with the highest virtual winning percentage will earn the playoff berth. Seeding is awarded the usual way except any team meeting the games played LIVE requirement will receive a higher seed than any team not meeting the minimum requirement.

There are no playoffs for the Spring Training leagues.

C. Results

As soon as the games for each day have been simulated, you can find the results, including complete boxscores (with full play by play) in your Team Management Center. League standings and league leaders are also automatically updated.

D. Theme Leagues

In addition to standard leagues, users may also join 'theme leagues'. Theme leagues have specific rules as set by the league founder, e.g. only Yankees players or only players from 1970, etc. The majority of theme league rules are automatically enforced. However, since there is no end to the creativity involved with theme leagues, some leagues are still self-policing.

Teams which violate league rules may be subject to fine, forfeiture or both. If an owner in a theme league has questions about the specifics of a league's rules and/or how those rules are being interpreted, that owner must contact us at commissioner@whatifsports.com immediately. This allows us to A. clarify the meaning of the rule in question with the league's founder and B. make a ruling or clarify the wording of the rule.

E. Prizes (FULL-SEASON TEAMS PURCHASED AFTER 6/9/2004 ONLY)

As if the glory and admiration of your defeated opponents wasn't enough, the League Champion also receives 4,000 reward points for use in the WhatIfSports Reward Center! 

If you don't win, but you make the playoffs, you'll still get 'a little something for the effort'. If you lose in the first round, you'll receive a $3 credit towards your next purchase. If you lose in the 2nd round, you'll receive a $6 credit and if you lose in the World Series and you'll receive a $10 credit towards your next purchase!

Please note that these rewards change for open leagues depending on the number of times an owner reaches the World Series in any league:

  • The 1st - 5th trips to the World Series yield the full value of the prizes mentioned above (100%).
  • The 6th - 10th trips to the World Series yield 75%.
  • The 10th trip and beyond yields 50%.

Also, don't forget that every full-season SimLeague Baseball team is automatically qualified for the Tournament of Champions! Just get to the World Series and your team will be entered into the next tournament where players can win up to 22,500 reward points (a $150 value)!

You can use your reward points towards free simleague teams, merchandise and other great prizes!

Team Draft | Team Management | League Play

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