9.1 Phase One Draft
9.1.1 Phase One - Submission
Each owner will submit a list of players. This list must
meet the following criteria:
- Only those players on the master roster
may be included at this time.
- All mandatory positions must be filled
- 14 position players, 5 starting pitchers, 5 relief
pitchers, and 2 spot pitchers.
- The list must also have at least one
player in each field position. This is determined by the
primary position of players on the master roster. Once
the season begins, you can use a player at any primary or
secondary position for which he is listed. For the
purposes of the draft, however, you must adhere to the
- Pitchers, regardless of position
designation, can fill either a starting or reliever role.
- The list can include up to the roster
limit of 40 players.
- Owners may optionally rank players in
order of importance (see Resolution below).
- The salaries of the players must fit
within the salary cap.
2017 Change: The draft
salary cap for brand new teams is the same as for all of
Benchwarmer teams PLUS 10 million BW Bucks (10000).
This used to be added in between Phase 1 and Phase 2
The idea here is to pick a team as though you were
going to get every player. The problem is that several
teams will choose the same players. There may be some
strategy in not selecting certain popular/expensive players.
If a team submits an improper draft list
- Not enough players - or missing
- The League Office will pick the
player making the most money to fill the missing
position and still keep the list under the salary cap.
- If multiple positions are missing,
see the guidelines used for Inactive Owners to fill the
- Too many players - Too many players
above 250 salary - Over the salary cap
- If more than 40 players are
submitted, the League Office will randomly remove
players from the list until it is at 40. If a player
selected to be removed is the only one eligible to fill
a given fielding position, or if he is a pitcher and his
removal would leave the team with fewer than 12
pitchers, he will be retained.
- If the team is above the salary cap
or has too many players making more than 250 on the list
(you can have a maximum of 28 on your "major league"
roster), then the League Office will begin removing
players starting with the players making the highest
salaries, until the draft list is legal.
9.1.2 Phase One - Resolution
Players who are selected by only one team are awarded to
that team. For example, if an owner is the only person to
draft Jacoby Ellsbury, he's on the team. More likely,
however, is that several teams will draft Ellsbury, so he is
not put on a roster. It's highly improbable that an owner
will have exclusive claim to all 40 roster spots, which
leads us to the Phase One Resolution Process.
During this phase, owners sit back and wait for their
rosters to be filled - usually within about a week. All the
"exclusive" draft choices will be awarded to their
respective teams, although for the time being they will not
be officially added to the roster.
220.127.116.11 Resolution Order
- Uniquely drafted players automatically go the team
that picked them. But their salaries and roster
spots will not count toward the tiebreakers below in
determining contested picks.
- New in
2014 Season - Contested selections of all players with
salary 100 will be resolved using the process and
tiebreakers below. Once those players are awarded, team
salary balances and roster composition will be reset to
zero temporarily in order to resolve contested picks of
players with salaries > 100.
- Contested picks of players making more than 100 in
salary will be resolved using the process and
Why the change in 2014 to do Salary 100 players
separately? Years of processing drafts made
it clear that the process for resolving contested picks led
- Once a team received a
player with salary > 1000 or so, they were largely out
of the running for prospects and young players.
- When the first
tiebreaker for resolution is cap space remaining to
spend, once a team is in a position of having only
signed a few players with salary 100-200, they often
could get in a run of being awarded 4-5 prospects in a
row...and might end up with a large majority of the
future stars when the draft was over.
- Some drafts were
starting to turn into teams listing 20-40 prospects
instead of a balanced roster/lineup and the results
could be skewed. Several people had requested a
"minimum salary requirement" for a draft list - this is
an alternate attempt to even the playing field.
18.104.22.168 Contested Pick - Resolution Process and Tiebreakers
Players that have been drafted by
more than one team will be compiled into a list sorted in
- Players given a #1 draft rank by any team (sorted in
descending order of the number of teams ranking them at
- Players drafted by the most teams.
- Players with the highest salaries.
- Numerically, by position number in baseball scoring
(OF = 7, DH = 8 in this case)
- Alphabetical by player's last name.
After the above list has been completed, the League
Office will begin placing these players, one-by-one, onto
the team rosters. The player currently at the top of the list is
eligible to be placed on any of the teams that initially
The team that gets him will be chosen using the following
criteria, in order:
- The team that bid the most tie-breaking cash for the
player. (see below)
- The team with lowest total salary of all
awarded players. (Total team salary is an initial rough
guide to team strength).
- The team with the fewest total number of signed
- Player ranking (see below).
- Random drawing
Thus, at the beginning of the draft, some of the player
awards will be done via the ranking and/or random drawing,
since most teams will have zero players. However,
rules changes in 2014-15 along with draft rank should
minimize the number of random draws compared to the
change eliminates a couple of the tiebreaking criteria
and adds the auction bid to the process.
22.214.171.124 Cash Bids to Break Ties in Player Awards
This is a method added in 2015 to provide a little blind "auction"
action into the list draft process. It's designed to
give owners a bit more say into which players they are
- Along with ranking players as mentioned below, team owners can do
another optional step to attempt to get the players they
really want and bypass the other tiebreakers. They
can bid an extra amount of cash for a player on top of
the player's salary.
- Teams are limited to a total of 5000 (5 million) in
cash for auction bidding.
- Bids can only be placed in increments of 250. (2017
Change - this used to be 500)
- 2017 Change
- The total cash put up for auction bids comes out of
the total amount of cash available to spend for salaries
in the draft list. Total team salary of the draft
list plus total of auction cash bid cannot exceed the
startup salary cap (BWB annual cap + 10000)
- This 2017 change replaces this old rule:
Teams still can pick a draft list that uses the
entire amount of the salary cap. Between Phase One
and Phase Two of the draft, all teams are awarded an
extra ten million in cash (10000). Any cash spent
via bid awards will come out of that between-phase cash
distribution. So, for example, if a team uses all
5000 in auction cash during Phase One, they will only
receive 5000 before Phase Two.
- If more than one team places a cash bid on a player,
the team that bids the highest amount gets the player.
- If more that one team ties for the highest bid,
those tied bidding teams go on to the remaining
award tiebreakers. All other teams are out of
the running for that player.
- Only the team that wins the bid will have cash
- The full amount of the bid will be deducted,
regardless of margin over the other teams. If
one team bids 4000 for a player and the next highest
bidder put up only 500, then 4000 is the amount
Change: Only the amount of the
bid needed to win the tiebreaker (to the nearest
250) will be deducted from the team balance.
If one team bids 4000 for a player and the next
highest bidder put up only 500, then 750 is the
amount paid. If only one team bids for a
player, then 250 is the amount spent.
- Auction cash spent will NOT count toward the team's
total salary. For other tiebreakers that depend on
total team salary or for rearranging draft order in
Phase Two, the total salary of all players and not the
team's remaining cash on hand will be the deciding
126.96.36.199 Player Ranking
As teams pick players for the draft, they may optionally
give each player a rank of importance, entered via the web
interface for selecting players in the draft.
- "1" = the highest rank; "40" is the lowest rank; An
unranked player is shown as "0"
- Ranking players is optional
- If you give 2 players the same rank, both will
automatically be changed to the lowest of your ranked
players, with the higher salary getting the higher rank.
- In this tiebreaker, the team that gives the player the
highest rank gets him. If multiple teams give the same
rank, they advance to the random draw.
Typically, about the first 8-14 players are placed on
teams that have no one on the roster yet. Because we start
with the players picked most often, you'll want to make sure
you give ranks to the players you think other teams will
pick. It might be a waste of your effort to rank your entire
draft list -- but it doesn't hurt anything (and in the end,
you really donít know which players will be the ones
selected most often).
Note: if you are participating in a LIVE draft and don't
show up for the draft, the league will use your ranks to
determine the order of drafting players for you.
188.8.131.52 Resolution Examples
Example A: At the start of the draft, Albert
Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, "Rookie Phenom", and "Japanese
Import" are the most-chosen players - by 14 teams. ARod has
the highest salary, so he is considered first. Since all
teams have 0 players and 0 salary, ARod is awarded via
random drawing, let's say to "Team X". Now we consider
Pujols. If Team X has listed Pujols, it is now eliminated
in tiebreaker 1, because everyone else has total salary =
0. Again, we will have to go all the way to the random
drawing, and "Team Y" wins. Now, between Rookie Phenom and
Japanese Import, both have a salary of 100, but Phenom is a
catcher (2) and Import is a shortstop (6), so we award
Phenom first in the same manner - with Team X and Team Y out
of the running. If Phenom and Import both played shortstop,
then Import would be awarded first (tiebreaker #4 - last
Example B: Further on in the draft, we're awarding
players chosen by three teams. "Grizzled Veteran" has been
chosen by Team X (3400 under the cap), Team Y (5675), and
Team Z (1345). Since Team Y is the furthest from reaching
the salary cap, it gets the player.
184.108.40.206 Uniquely Drafted Players and Players with Salary 100 now
Placed on Teams
After all contested players are awarded, players drafted
only by one team and players with salary 100 who were
awarded in the contested pick phase above will be added to
the proper teams.
Why aren't these players' salaries and positions
counted in the tiebreaker for contested pick resolution? This was
a big change from our initial league in 2000, because adding
these players first unintentionally penalized the teams who
attempted to sign a lot of players or might have been taking
a gamble on a few rookies or relatively unknown players.
9.2 Phase Two
After Phase One, most teams will not meet the roster
minimum of 26 players. At this time, all teams will go
through a special free agent signing period. In a manner of
speaking, this is more like a traditional list draft, and is
similar to the weekly transactions throughout the season,
with these exceptions:
- Before this phase begins, all teams in the league will
get an extra 10 million Benchwarmer Bucks.
As mentioned above in 9.1.1, the extra 10 million in cash
is now provided at the start of Phase One.
- Teams submit an eight-round draft sheet, while the
weekly transactions are only four rounds.
- At the beginning of each round, the selection order is
changed. Teams with the lowest total team salary draft
first. (This is a clarification of
what used to read "most room under the cap" - any cash
spent on auctions in Phase 1 is not counted here for total
team salary - 1/4/2017)
- There are no cuts in this phase.
- Players will only be awarded to a team if he fits
under their salary cap AND the team has enough cash to pay
for any remaining unfilled positions / roster slots.
- Teams may list an alternate selection for each round -
if the primary player is already taken, or cannot be
awarded for reasons mentioned above, then the alternate is
- If the alternate can also not be placed on the team,
then the team's next round selection (and alternate) will
be moved up to the current round.
- If, after this 8-round submission, there are still
teams that do not meet roster minimums, then this phase
will be repeated. All teams are eligible to participate
in any phase. Typically, we can fill the rosters in
three 8-round submissions. Sometimes we need four
submissions until all teams are legal.
If a team misses the posted deadline for selection or
does not submit a list for Phase Two, then they will receive
no players in the first eight-round selection. They will
have a chance to submit a list for a second or any
subsequent run-throughs. Typically, this deadline will be
at least three days after the draft results are posted -
sometimes as long as a week.
The goal in Phase Two is to get every team to a legal
roster - with 14 hitters, 12 pitchers, and every
fielding position covered. That's not to say that the
roster will good - minor league players will
be used to fill roster minimums - but you'll have normal
free agency for the remainder of Spring Training to fine
tune the roster.
If a team misses several deadlines in the follow-up
signing periods, then the League Office may fill their team
for them - using the methods described in the Inactive
Owners section of the rules. For returning leagues, this
policy is used only at Opening Day, but in startup leagues,
it is important for all teams to meet minimum levels so that
free-agency and trading can begin. Another option may be to
call an end to Phase Two and the team will fill the final
spots during the Free Agency period.
9.2.1 Late Season Drafts Ė Exceptions to Phase Two
220.127.116.11 Additional Rounds
For leagues drafting later in the pre-season, the League
Office might increase the number of rounds in a Phase Two
submission to more than 8 in order to allow the teams to
reach a legal roster more quickly.
18.104.22.168 Calling an Early End to Phase Two
If only a few teams are slightly short of a legal roster
and the beginning of the season is drawing near, the Office
may call an end to Phase Two and allow the league to go into
Free Agency. If the teams without a legal roster missed a
Phase Two deadline, it is almost certain that Phase Two will
end early. (So, in mid-to-late March donít skip the second
submission of Phase Two thinking youíll have the third
submission all to yourself).
9.3 Free Agency
At this point, now that each team has a legal roster, the league will enter a Free Agent signing
period to allow the teams to fill out their rosters. Actual
dates will be communicated from the Commissioner's Office.
See Roster Changes for selection details. Selection order
will be based initially on room left under the salary cap,
and will continue as a normal league in the off-season (as
teams select a player, that team goes to the bottom of the
order, which is maintained from week to week). Trades will
also be allowed at that time.
Transaction Order exception: If Phase Two was
stopped by BWB before all teams had a legal roster, those
teams missing roster spots will be at the top of the
transaction order. Teams needing the most players will
pick toward the top and then will be ordered by team total
Typically at this point, new leagues will follow the same
once-per-week transaction schedule. However, if the draft
rounds were completed late in the pre-season, it is possible
that the selections will occur more frequently and/or teams
may be allowed to pick more than four players per
Until the season begins, there is only an 80% salary
rebate for players cut from rosters. Teams get no rebate
when cutting a player making a salary of 200 or below.
2009 Change - Because
teams can get in somewhat of a salary cap jam during the
draft and they don't have full control over every action in
the draft (due to the list-submission and resolution
process), new leagues can make cuts in the first two normal
transaction periods after the Phase Two draft is done and
receive a 100% salary rebate on cut players.
There is still no rebate for players with salaries of 200 or
below. For late-drafting leagues, if this 2-cycle
period extends into the regular season, that's OK.
Returning teams are limited to just 5 million bucks that
they can bring into a season. Anything above that is
removed before the start of the season. First-year teams do
not have that limitation. If they have 15 million left on
Opening Day, they get to keep it.
All teams get an extra 2 million to spend on Opening Day.
9.5 Live Draft Option
As new leagues join the BWB Universe, owners will have a
choice of entering either the standard, list draft process,
or participate in a new, experimental live draft. Why
"experimental" when all sorts of leagues on the Internet do
this now? Starting a league in BWB with a draft brings a few
interesting problems, including: Salary cap, 16 teams per
league, and 40-man rosters.
If we draft an entire team, it will take a full day,
maybe two! So, the draft will allow teams to draft in a live
manner the first ten players for their rosters. At a minute
a pick, that's still over 2.5 hours. Once the live draft is
over, teams will then enter the normal Phase 2 process of
the draft as described above.
BWB does not expect to build its own draft interface in
the near future. Instead,
we'll use some kind of pre-existing Internet chat interface.
There will be limited draft sessions available, but in the
heart of the drafting season (late Feb. and early March),
we'll try to present a wide array of days/times. Starting in
January, 1 or 2 draft sessions should be available each
9.5.1 Live Drafts in 2017
We'll take another shot at live drafts this season.
Instead of using a chat interface as we did in the past,
we'll try to use a commercially available draft
- For 2017, we'll use the ESPN Fantasy Baseball draft
room. Owners who choose a live draft will need to
sign up for an ID/password there if they don't have one
- Users should join the league(s) of their choice in
BWB to reserve a spot. Close to the date of the
draft, users will receive an invite to join the ESPN
- We'll draft via the snake draft format. Draft
order will be done randomly via ESPN.
- There will be 20 rounds to the draft - the draft
rosters will be set up in this manner:
- 9 hitters - One player each at DH, C, 1B, 2B,
3B, SS and 3 OF
- 5 starting pitchers
- 3 relief pitchers
- 3 bench players at any position
- I'm tempted to limit time for picks to 30 seconds,
but things can happen, so we'll set it at 1 minute per
pick, but I strongly suggest you to queue up your picks
in advance so that you can pick as soon as it's your
- If I have the ability to halt/correct the draft, any
"mistakes" by hitting the wrong button must be called
out via the draft chat before the next team picks,
otherwise you have to live with the pick. (If the next
pick is on "auto" or the owner was quick on the trigger,
then with discretion I may allow a fix - but will not
allow that fix to be the player picked by the next
- Once the draft is complete, each team will have 20
players and will only be 6 players short of a legal
roster. We'll use the normal Phase 2 process to
finish up the draft. We should be able to wrap up
Phase 2 with one or, at most, two list submissions.
- We'll utilize whatever positions ESPN assigns to
players, even if they differ from BWB. However, in
order to determine the draft is complete after Phase 2,
each team must have positions filled by someone eligible
via their primary position.
- After the draft, owners will be responsible for
filling out the draft list for their team that is
normally used for list drafts with the players they pick
in the draft. This will need to be complete by
some pre-determined time (about 24 hours). This will be
used in order to fill out the rosters in the BWB system.
Note - if BWB can find a way to take a final draft
report/listing from the draft engine and automate the
process, it will do that instead.
- Different player lists
- Players who are in BWB but not in ESPN:
We'll be limited to ESPN's player pool, which won't
include the deep minor league players (last year's
first round draft picks, for example). They
will not be available in the live draft and will
need to be selected in Phase 2 or via free agency.
- Players who are in ESPN and not in BWB:
Typically these are rookies who weren't on the
40-man roster in December to be picked up on the BWB
list or perhaps some late-signing international
player or a player making a comeback from injury or
returning from Japan that didn't make the 40-man
cut. BWB will attempt to identify any notable
players ahead of time and not allow those players to
be drafted. If such a player is drafted
- If discovered during the draft: If the BWB
office can halt/correct the draft while in
process, at the end of the current round the
draft will be paused. The player will be
removed from the team's roster and that team
will have a chance to make an immediate
correction pick - but only from the available
undrafted players at that moment (can't go back
and select a player that another team picked
after the bad pick occurred).
- If discovered after the draft is over:
Before the Phase 2 lists are opened up for
submission, BWB will get a substitute pick from
that team to replace the player not yet in BWB.
If multiple teams are affected, they will pick
in order of when the bad picks are placed.
- Salary cap problems
- Since the players in the draft rooms we'll be
using won't have salaries attached, it will be up to
the drafting owners to keep salary in mind as they
draft players. They'll need to do this for their own
balance and to ensure they have enough cash left to
fill out the team in Phase 2.
- Following the live draft, each team will have 20
players out of a minimum roster of 26 players.
So when the draft is complete, each team will need
to have at least 600 left in salary to draft 6
minimum-salary players to complete the roster.
- If, after the draft is complete, it is
determined that the team has less than 600 in
cash, then before Phase 2 begins, that team will
have player(s) removed from the back end of
their draft until the cash balance is sufficient
to complete a 26-man roster using minimum-salary
players. Once that is accomplished, the
team will pick player(s) to get to a 20-man
roster. (This will probably be just one
player, but it's possible that it could be
- If the mistake is found during the course of
the draft that causes the team to run out of
cash or not have enough cash left to fill out
their team, then if the draft can be
paused/corrected, BWB will make the change as
above for a mismatched player list - at the
completion of the current round, the draft will
be halted. The team's last pick (or picks)
will be removed to resolve the situation to
provide enough cash to fill out the roster with
minimum-salary players. The team will then
provide substitute pick(s) from the current list
of undrafted players.
- BWB will NOT correct drafts for salaries that
leave the team with little cash for remaining picks
during the live draft or for Phase 2. As long
as the team has enough cash to fill out the roster
with players at minimum salary, that's what it will
have to use.
- Suggestion: As the draft
proceeds, when you pick a player for your team, use
another browser/window to add that player to the BWB
draft list used to collect Phase One drafts.
You'll need to do that anyway to report your draft
results and as you add players, it will
automatically calculate the amount of salary cap
9.6 League Package Drafts
New BWB leagues that join as a full 16-team league are
welcome to conduct their own drafts upon joining and devise
their own methods for how many players to select and other
draft rules. They'll just need to fit into certain
guidelines and then report the results to the BWB office.