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Rule Changes for 2016

Benchwarmer Baseball Rules Index

As the season and then off season progresses, check here for the latest changes to rules

Last update:  February 25, 2016

The written version of the rule book is also available, but it is several years old.  If there is a conflict, the online version is now the guide.

Here are the last rule changes in 2015 ...

Listing of all rules changes

Comment on Rules Changes for Lineups

Updated 12/8/15

Note in December 2015: This is carried over from a possible 2015 Rule Change and I will try to test this winter.  Equipment problems in January 2015 prevented me from even looking at this in time to try some changes.

Over the years there have been requests for rule changes on game lineups with respect to:

  • Allowing a bench player to fill in the lineup for a starter who just appears in their MLB game and doesn't have any ABs (or only 1 for many requesters)
  • Allowing a multiposition player in the starting lineup OTHER than the DH fill in at other positions beyond the listed position in the order to prevent a Benchwarmer Batter

I'm looking into the feasibility of these things - as well as fixing the "Call up" rule in Weeks 23-25 to allow for treating minor leaguers as normal bench players and not just filling in the leftover gaps after the bench process is done.

This is a significant rewrite of program code to set lineups and I can't go into the season announcing some sort of change and not sure that I can change and test the lineup-setting code.  So, here's what I'll do -

  • I will try to fit in time in January and February to rewrite and test the code (I've already marked up what needs to change and how I think it can work)
  • I need to keep the game running normally otherwise - running Redistribution and Startup Drafts, trying to fix the bouncing email problems, and making other site improvements and fixes.
  • If I'm not ready by March 1 (unless REALLY close) then we'll shelve the changes for 2016 and check into it for 2017
  • I reserve the right to not implement changes even if it is technically feasible.  Again, March 1 is the intended decision point.

My ideas of the possible changes:

  • The lineup slot of a starting player with zero official AB and no other positive offensive contribution (walk, HBP, run, RBI) will be treated as an open lineup spot.  The player will be moved to the bottom of the bench, so can be put back in to prevent a Benchwarmer Batter if the spot can't be filled.  Right now I'm leaning toward keeping a player with no official AB but commits an error in the lineup.
  • For multipostion players, if after normal lineup/bench processes a position is filled by a Benchwarmer Batter and a starter could switch positions and the bench rearranged to prevent the Benchwarmer, we'll make the switch - but won't consider those extra positions for starters if all 9 spots can be filled via the existing bench process.

1.0 Basics

1.1 Leagues and Teams

Added 12/8/15

See the full rule

In trying to figure out a particular rule situation, I realized there was no formal listing of league setup, continuity between seasons, or the term "orphan team."  This section lays out some basics.

Additionally, some information about orphan status and cash distributed to orphan teams are both codified and adjusted from past practice.  See Finances and Off Season for details.

1.3 Entry Fee and Prizes

Modified 12/8/15

See the full rule

There are changes in the prize distribution for performance (starting with 2016 results):

  • Prize for division champions increase from $20 discount in next season's fee to getting the team for free in the next season.
  • Conference champs, along with the free entry next season as a division winner, will get $10 off all teams the owner has in other leagues in the next season.
  • League champs will get the benefits of division and conference winners, plus an additional free season.

Winning a division is tough enough to do and playoffs can be a bit variable due to the random games selected for game scoring - so bumping up the reward for the title seemed in order.


Referral bonus increased again as a 2016 Special from $10 to a free team.

2.0 Season Schedule

2.2.2 Game Selection (for Playoffs)

Modified 12/10/15

See the full rule

In order to accommodate the rule change below for starting pitchers below, the game selection for hitters will change from MLB games 81-160 to 81-155.  This will also help out for situations where regular players sit out or have reduced time in the final few games of the season.

2.2.3 Selecting Starting Pitching Performances (for Playoffs)

Modified 12/10/15

See the full rule

Picking the starting pitching performance for any playoff game has in the past needed to have been within 20 games of the MLB game picked for the hitters.  Starting in 2016, this now must be within 7 games.  20 games was too forgiving and allowed (perhaps) some teams to utilize pitchers with only a handful of starts in the second half of the season with little consequence.


Hitters and relief pitchers have always been held to a tighter standard for appearing in the playoffs - the hitters must have played in the exact MLB game used and relief pitching performances are counted from the 6-game range ending with the MLB game picked for the hitters.  This gets the pitchers closer in line - and in some cases, since rotations may be stretched out or starts skipped at the end of a season, 7 games were picked rather than 5.


What about a rare, but possible, instance where the random game picked for series game #6 or #7 is close enough to the game picked for #1 or #2 and the only start available for a pitcher in that range for game #6 or #7 has already been used up?


We'll actually use MLB games 76-162 to pick starting pitching stats.  We were already going to game #162 for SP stats and making the back end of games used for hitters to be MLB game #155 will fix the possible issue of needing to use the same game twice.  And on the front end, we've actually already been using relief pitching performances as early as game #76 if needed.

8.0 Finances

8.2.1 Player Salaries - Preseason

Modified 2/25/16

See the full rule

The preseason salary rebate is increased from 50% to 80% for the entire preseason, instead of just for week zero.  This used to be a zero rebate until Week Zero, and then was allowed to be 50%.  The original intent had been to insert a certain amount of risk into free agent signings and perhaps pay a cost for wild speculations and a cycle of cuts/drops.  However, that's less of a worry now and the practical effect over the last few years is that everyone saves all their cuts until Week Zero whenever possible.  This will allow teams to fix roster problems earlier in the preseason.

8.2.3 Player Salaries - Exceptions to prorated salary assumption/rebate

Modified 2/25/16

See the full rule

Corrected a typo or mistake in the written rules - previously the rule read that a team would pay no less than 30% of a player's salary when signing as a free agent.  That has always been 40%.  From Week 15 onward, when picking up a free agent, a team will pay 40% of the salary.

8.4 Orphan Cash

Added 12/8/15

See the full rule

Providing extra cash to owners who take over orphan teams was a practice from the beginning, but had never been listed officially in the rules.  This section codified that.

Added 2/25/16

In situations where a team remains an orphan and in control of the BWB Office as of July 1 of the season, the extra 4 million Benchwarmer Bucks will be added to the team balance at the next transaction processing.  If another owner takes over the team before the regular season is over, no additional cash will be awarded.  Once the off season arrives, the clock resets and any new owner for the following season will be awarded the cash.

12.0 Off Season Procedures

12.8.3 Redistribution Draft - Multi-week results and weekly adjustment of draft list

Added 12/15/15

See the full rule

In 2015, BWB modified the draft to allow teams to readjust lists after each round.  That process will be modified slightly for 2016:

Benchwarmer Baseball will do three posting of results for the draft, instead of five:

  • Round 1.  Teams may then update their draft lists for Rounds 2-5
  • Round 2.  Teams may then update their draft lists for Rounds 3-5
  • Rounds 3-5

Comment - the breaking up of the draft produced the desired results for BWB in that it seemed teams were better able to use the Redistribution Draft for rebuilding rosters - allowing for targeted positions and salary levels and so that teams were better able to utilize most of their picks throughout the entire draft.  However, it was a bit of overkill and the later rounds weren't all that vital.  In fact, for teams that kept their full allotment of 28 players, most reached the 40-man limit in Round 4, making Round 5 pointless.  In addition during a time of the year when things should be a little more "relaxed," it required teams to get in and update every week - whereas the previous incantation of the Redistribution Draft allowed teams to submit lists and then sit back for 3-4 weeks.  This was particularly hard for those owners in 10+ leagues.  Finally, the process cut into meaningful trade and free agency time.


Owners should have two weeks between each submission which will help provide time enough to adjust the lists plus bring back a little of the winter downtime.



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