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Rule Changes for 2005

Benchwarmer Baseball Rules Index

As the season and then off season progresses, check here for the latest changes to rules - Last update:  November 26, 2004

Changes to Choosing a Pitcher for a Game*

If you look back at the rules for how the rotation is handled, it's never actually worked that way.  In practice, if your starter wasn't available for his turn, we checked the spot starters.  If neither of them could go, you got a Pinesitter.  You'll notice though, that I should have been checking to see if someone could move up in the rotation.

For 2005, we'll go back to that method - though slightly modified.  If your regular starter can't pitch, we'll still check the spot starters next.  However, if needed, we'll then see if someone else in the rotation can move up to cover the start and hope the next time around your normal guy is ready or a spot starter is available.

Note: pitchers who move up still must have 4 games of rest - so this is likely to occur only at the beginning of the season or if you reorder your rotation during the year.  It will also have a ripple effect throughout the rotation, so it still could cause problems later (and perhaps cause some issues if you reorder the rotation again soon), but you may get lucky and avoid the Pinesitter altogether, which is the prime goal.

Salary Rebates for players cut in the off-season*

Previously, all contracts were guaranteed in the off-season - meaning that if you cut a player between the time you sign him (whether you carried him over, drafted him in the Redistribution Draft, or got him as a free agent) and Opening Day, you got none of that money back.  Part of the idea in this is to reduce the transaction volume by cutting out speculative transactions such as sign one week, cut the next.  However, this can put a team in a bind who needs to free up salary room or has a player go down in Spring Training.

Starting with the 2004-05 off-season, teams that cut a player before Opening Day will get a 50% salary rebate.  Again, players already under multi-year contracts and players making under 250 will not be eligible for salary rebate.  If you can hold out, that rebate goes back up to 80% when the season begins.  Trades in the off-season will continue to be done at 100% salary assumption/rebate for the teams involved.

Spot Starters become Spot Pitchers*

In a major variation for how spot starters are viewed, the 2 spot positions now become spot pitchers - for both starting and relief work.  Spot pitchers will fill in for open starts as they have done before, but now, if a team is missing a reliever and needs his stats, the spot pitchers are eligible to fill in from the bullpen - perhaps allowing the team to avoid the Pinesitter Pitcher.

Should there be an open slot, a spot pitcher with eligible relief appearances (no starts will count for this), will move into the bullpen formula for that game.  If that pitcher is needed as a starter for that game, he cannot be included for the bullpen.  He still must rest 4 games between starts, but there will be no rest requirement between appearances as a starter or reliever.

Note - This does not mean that 6 or 7 pitchers can be used to fulfill relief minimums.  It provides an opportunity to have a pitcher replace another pitcher in the bullpen formula who has no appearances in the 6-game stretch of games used for relief stats. Also note the emphasis on appearances.  If a reliever is credited for a game, yet still has 0 IP, he is not eligible to be replaced in the bullpen.

There will be no increase in roster size to account for this.  It is the opinion of BWB that you are better off making sure you have sufficient backup for starting pitchers, but this provision does allow you some roster flexibility and the chance to replace a reliever who has questionable status.

Additional Post-Season Tournaments - for 2004 Playoff Season*

All BWB League Champions (and perhaps some wild card teams, though maybe not in 2004) will play in a final tournament for the season to determine a Benchwarmer Grand Champion.  These games will be scored in November as teams gear up to make their player carry-over decisions for the coming season.  Teams will submit one lineup to last throughout all rounds - no changes will be allowed.  Games will be drawn from random games throughout the entire season.

As BWB continues to grow, leagues will be organized into Associations and Federations, which in future years will provide the structure for the early rounds of this tournament.

Scoring Formula Changes - for 2005 Season*

Pitching Formula - Raw Score*

A slight adjustment to take into consideration the number of hits and walks a pitching staff gives up in a game.  The new pitching half of the formula looks like this:

P = ER + (BP * BI) a ( K + BK) b (S) + c (E) + HBB

Where "HBB" is the new "Hits/Walks Adjustment"

HBB is an adjustment based on the total number of hits and walks allowed by the team.  For the starting pitcher, that is simply the number he allows in his start.  For the bullpen, the number of hits and walks per inning is calculated for the relievers that are used in the scoring formula.  This value is then multiplied by the number of bullpen innings (BI) and rounded to the nearest integer.

Total Hits + Walks allowed


8 or fewer






11 to 13






16 or more



Pitching Formula - Perfect Games

Currently, 3 runs are deducted from a team's total score if the opposing pitcher throws a complete game no hitter.  Both teams with Randy Johnson nearly lost in 2004 during his perfect game.  It shouldn't be automatic, but nearly a sure thing if your pitcher does that - thus the reduction for a perfect game will be changed to 4 runs in 2005.

Pitching Formula - Complete Games

Although a team gets a definite benefit from having a pitcher throw a complete game in not bringing in potential problems from the bullpen, they may face a decided disadvantage from not being able to include their closer(s)' saves into the pitching formula.  The raw pitching score for that team will be reduced by .25 (the value of one save).  Note - this refers to BWB complete games - 9 innings pitched - not the MLB stat which could include less than 9 innings.

Relief Pitcher minimums - for 2005 Season

This was last changed in 2003.  Again, owing to how differently bullpens are used, we're reducing the minimum innings pitched for relievers.  At the halfway point, the median value of average innings short was just under 1 inning (the average was much higher, but we're not trying to bail out teams that consistently fall 2-3 innings short or more).  Essentially we're dropping a third of an inning at the #1, #3, and #5 positions.


Relief Pitchers Used Current Minimum IP New Minimum IP Total Reduction
R1 2.3 2.0 -0.3
R1-R2 5.3 5.0 -0.3
R1-R3 9.3 8.7 -0.6
R1-R4 12.3 11.7 -0.6
All 5 15.0 14.0 -1.0


See the Scoring Formula for more details on how this is used.

Relief Pitcher - Missing Relievers - for 2005 season

Starting in 2004, for each pitcher short in the bullpen (for example, the scoring formula says a team needs four relievers, but only have three with eligible appearances), a Pinesitter Pitcher was added in the bullpen.  The line for that pitcher was set at 1 IP, 3 H, 3 BB, 0 K, 3 ER, 0 Sv.

The new line: 5 IP, 10 H, 10 BB, 0 K, 10 ER, 0 Sv

Minimum innings pitched values will remain the same and will be factored in if the team is still short of the needed level.  The new line should help avoid the double whammy of missing a pitcher but only getting one inning so still falling short of IP minimums.

See the Scoring Formula for more details on how relievers are used. This change will not mean ten additional runs given up in the game, but the ten runs will be used to determine how many runs per inning the entire bullpen allows for the game.  You should also notice that the ratio has been dropped from 3 runs per inning to 2 runs per inning.  In any case, the moral of the story continues for you to keep 5 healthy and active pitchers in the bullpen.


Salary Formulas - for 2004-2005 Off-Season*

Closer Salary Premiums*

A couple years ago, we added premium additions to salaries for players placing in the top 20 in many statistical categories, and in voting for the MVP and Cy Young and results of the Fireman of the Year.  Although we made provisions for pitchers not getting double-bumped for MVP and Cy Young, the same rule was not applied for relievers and their Fireman scores.  That will be fixed and some kind of additional reduction will be made to closer salaries to help get those values back in line for 2005.

The Island of Misfit Free Agents - Salary Reduction*

This is directly from an owner suggestion to address the laws of supply and demand.  All players within the system that did not appear on a single BWB roster for even a single week of the regular season will have some sort of reduction in salary.  This value will be set in the fall of 2004.  At no point can a player's salary fall below the BWB minimum (currently 100).  This applies to players who were not signed to ANY league, not just the league in which you happen to have a team.  In future years, this may be modified to include players who are only signed in a very small percentage of leagues.

Startup Cash for New Leagues - for 2005 Season*

Over the first few years of BWB, the salary formulas were adjusted to make premium players cost premium dollars.  The first-year league in 2004 ran into cash flow problems for most of the teams right after the startup draft (thus, many star players sat on the free agent lists all season).

Starting in 2005, the initial phase of the draft - the first full submission of a team - must still fall within the salary cap guidelines for all of BWB.  However, before Phase 2 begins, each team will receive an additional $10 million.  No other distribution will be provided except for the 2 million all teams receive on Opening Day.

Weekly Cash Earnings for Teams - for 2005 Season*

For each win, a team will receive $30,000 (up from 20,000)

Income by position will increase as well:

  • 1st place : $0
  • 2nd place : $35,000
  • 3rd place: $70,000
  • 4th place: $105,000

Financial Rewards for Player Performance - for 2005 Season*

Some minor adjustments to provide a little extra in-season cash.

Player of the Week - Currently, winners receive a $10,000 bonus for their team.  In 2005, that will increase to $25,000.  There is no change for Player of the Year awards.

Benchwarmer All-Stars - Currently, each team receives $10,000 for each player on the Benchwarmer All-Star Teams.  Starting in 2005 that will increase to $25,000.

Major League All-Stars - No change. Each team will receive $10,000 for each player on the Major League All-Star Teams.

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