Drafts in Scoresheet


Scoresheet offers a deeper draft than most other fantasy baseball games. Scoresheet's pre-season draft ends on round 35, with 5 additional 2-round mid-season drafts bringing the season total to 45 rounds. Up to 30 players are part of a team's active roster, with remaining players belonging to the farm system.

With such a deep roster, Scoresheet owners can move players into and out of the farm system to accomodate injuries, slumps, and players moving up from the Minors to the Majors.

Scoresheet does have basic drafting features in common with other fantasy baseball systems, such as:

  • You draft online
  • You prepare an ordered draft list
  • You may change your draft list at any time before draft is over
  • When it's your turn, you get the top available (undrafted) player from your draft list
  • Once a player is drafted, he is no longer available to be drafted by anyone else
  • Each draft pick is publicly posted, with league rosters updated in real-time
  • Trades can include 1 or more draft picks
  • Scoresheet drafts accommodate both keeper teams and one-year teams.

However, there are also differences, some of which are driven by the greater realism of using simulated games as opposed to adding points:

  • Player lists are "frozen" before the draft starts, meaning a player will not be dropped from a team mid-season due to a real life AL-->NL (or NL-->AL) trade, nor will a player pop onto a draft list due to a recent AL-->NL (or NL-->AL) trade
  • One draft round lasts about a day (preseason draft lasts 6-7 weeks)
  • Each draft pick occurs at a predetermined date and time that will not change
  • Scoresheet has 5 mid-season 2 round drafts (but no concept of waivers)
  • With the players actually playing in simulated games, real life attributes and stats that matter such as defensive range, positional flexibility, OBP, OPS, speed, etc. all have impacts on how well players perform in Scoresheet, meaning that Scoresheet player value is similar to real-life player value
  • A Scoresheet owner may acquire more than the standard number of players through unbalanced trades, though only 30 will be active, with the rest belonging to the farm system
  • An optional roster balancing feature, if turned on, will automatically draft sufficient numbers of players at each position - on some rounds will likely skip over 1 or more players on your draft list to achieve this

Why all the differences? Some of what works for a points fantasy game doesn't work when games are simulated. Every rule in Scoresheet is designed with either realism and/or fun in mind and is based on decades of feedback and experimentation. As changes occur in the real MLB, Scoresheet continues to evolve to reflect these changes.

This page describes the rules for one-year teams drafting from scratch. The draft rules for keeper leagues (also called continuing leagues) are mostly the same, with the few differences described here.

Preparing a Draft List

In order to keep your Scoresheet Draft list private, you must be signed in to view and change it. If you own multiple Scoresheet baseball teams, make sure you are on the specific ranking list page for your team and league when you enter your draft list.

Click on a player to add him to the bottom of your draft list, and change draft order by cutting/pasting, as shown in the following graphic (click to enlarge):

No changes you make are saved until you click the "send" button, so be sure to click "send" after every set of changes.

You have total freedom to prepare your list in any way you want. For example, you can prepare a very large list before the draft which you never make changes to. Or you could maintain a very short list of 2-4 players, changing in reaction to the latest draft picks. It's up to you.

We recommend that you have at least 5 players on your draft list at any given time, in case you find yourself away from your computer for an extended period.

What Happens if No Players Remain on Your Draft List

If you have roster balancing turned off, and your player list is empty, you will automatically draft the player with the most playing time last season. More precisely, the order in which players are assigned automatically is by player number, which is set by their major league playing time last season.

With Roster Balancing turned on, if you do not list enough players at each position, you will be assigned players to your team automatically, based on first prioritizing roster balance, then prioritizing last year's playing time. If you need both pitchers and position players, default drafting is based on 1 inning pitched equaling 2 plate appearances. With Roster Balancing turned on, players who do not satisfy the roster balancing rules will be skipped (see Roster Balancing section below).

A Selected Player Contributes . . . What?

With each player you select, you'll want to know:

  • How much playing time?
  • What if he gets injured?
  • What happens if he gets traded in MLB?
  • What positions?

In both MLB and in Scoresheet, playing time matters. The weekly stats Scoresheet collects for every player include PA (Plate Appearances - for position players) and IP (Innings Pitched - for pitchers). In any given week, Scoresheet PA/IP in simulated games will approximately match real life PA/IP for each player.

Scoresheet playing time won't precisely match MLB playing time due to mismatched schedules (i.e. 5 games in MLB vs. 7 games in Scoresheet that week), extra innings, "banked" playing time from prior weeks, criteria for when a closer comes in, and various other minor reasons. However, if you draft a position player and start them every game (or have a pitcher in starting rotation) for the entire season, playing time for that player will not be far off from the MLB playing time for the season as a whole.

The concept of playing time has several ramifications on drafting. Relief pitchers Liam Hendricks and Will Harris had similar per innings stats in 2019. But Hendricks was worth 1.4x as much as Harris for your Scoresheet team, because he pitched 85 innings compared with Harris' 60 innings. This impacts catchers even more, as some lead catchers platoon and therefore only play 3-5 games/week, so that's all you'll get out of them in Scoresheet as well.

Limited playing time is not the only reason why you need more than 9 position players, more than 5 starting pitchers, and more than just 2 or 3 good relievers. Players can and do get injured throughout the season. An injured player who does not play in the MLB for a month will also not play on your Scoresheet team for a month. Scoresheet's strategy guide discusses this in more detail.

A player traded in the MLB, however, will never negatively impact your team, even if the player is traded from the NL to the AL or vice versa. Player lists are frozen before the start of the preseason draft. Any changes that occur in the MLB after the lists are frozen will not be reflected in Scoresheet lists.

Scoresheet creates player lists for AL, NL, and BL (BL combines AL and NL into a Both List for BL leagues) before the start of the season with both Major and Minor league players. Players are added to these lists during the season from the real MLB draft and international signings. See Rules & Player Lists page for all the player lists, and see also Player Lists Explained.

Every player has certain positions for which they are qualified. Each player's primary position is implied on the player list by the position section in which they are listed, with additional positions (if any) also noted. Players who play an additional position for the MLB for at least 10 games during the season will also qualify for that additional position in Scoresheet.

Which Team Drafts 1st, 2nd, etc.

When Scoresheet creates a New NL or AL league, 10 teams are formed using a snake draft. Team numbers are randomly chosen, with the draft order reversing in each round (Team 1 picks first in Round 1, Team 10 picks first in Round 2, Team 1 picks first in Round 3, and so on).

For continuing leagues in the second year and beyond, the draft order will go in REVERSE order of the final league standings in EVERY round (except the league's playoff winner will pick last and other division winner(s) will pick 2nd to last, regardless of won-loss records.)

Some private leagues hold their own drafts (possibly using different draft rules or draft order) and send us the draft results when they are done.

Draft Timing and Scheduling

Scoresheet baseball drafts end in late March a few days before the start of the MLB season. The first drafts will begin during the second week of February and will run for about seven weeks, with approximately one round per day. Some drafts will start later when a new league is formed, or by (private league) choice. New teams are formed through mid-March as team orders are received.

Draft schedules will be posted before drafts begin so that team owners know when each of their picks will be made. Remember, you do not need to be logged on at the same time with other owners in you league. The draft program will always select the highest listed available player on a team owner's list when it is time to make a draft pick. If the draft list is empty, the draft program will automatically pick an undrafted player.

In-season Drafts

In Scoresheet there are five in-season drafts of two rounds each:

  • Mid April (Rounds 36-37)
  • Mid May (Rounds 38-39)
  • June (Rounds 40-41)
  • July, held after the July MLB amateur draft (Rounds 42-43)
  • Late August (Rounds 44-45)

NOTE: The rounds given above are for leagues that drafted the standard 35 rounds in the pre-season. If you are in a private league that drafted a different number of rounds, you need to adjust the round numbers accordingly when reporting any traded picks.

The Scoresheet Fantasy Baseball trading deadline is the first Monday of September, before the first MLB game starts. This is also a deadline for submitting your lineup for that weeks's games.

What About Orphaned Teams?

The Scoresheet office will make a player ranking list for any orphaned teams in your league, and will also enter a list for any owners who do not have internet access. We make sure that teams that are orphaned or without internet access will not harm your league's draft in any way.

Drafting a Balanced Team (Roster Balancing)

Just as in real baseball, you'll need to have every postion covered and backed up, as injuries can and do happen. If you don't, you may end up with a lineup that performs poorly, as explained in the strategy guide.

What does a balanced team look like? To begin with, 8 players cover the 8 positions. There's a need to back up these 8 positions, though that is often accomplished with 4-6 players who each play multiple positions. For pitching, there are typically many injuries so 8-10 pitchers capable of starting is a good idea, rounded out by another 4-6 relief pitchers.

Typically, team owners care more about drafting very good players in the first few rounds than balance. Balance can be achieved by filling in the missing positions or backups towards the end of the draft. However, in some cases a team owner may find themselves unable to participate in a draft for days. In these case, it can be helpful to have Scoresheet take care of roster balancing automatically.

If you check in with your draft at least once/day and change your draft list multiple times per week, we recommend you leave roster balancing off and just make sure your roster is reasonably balanced by the end of the draft.

Scoresheet's roster balancing feature is turned off by default and very few Scoresheet owners use roster balancing in early rounds of a draft. You can set the roster balancing to turn on starting with whatever round you like (or change your mind at any time). You do that by setting a round number in a box at the bottom of your list, right next to the send button.

If you choose to turn on roster balancing, it works as follows:

  • Each round, when your turn comes up, the computer goes down your list, giving you your highest ranked available (undrafted) player, subject to the roster balancing rules
  • P is a pitcher who is eligible to start, SR is short reliever NOT eligible to start
  • NL starter at every position(13): 5 P, 1 SR, 3 OF, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS
  • AL starter at every position(14): 5 P, 1 SR, 3 OF, C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, DH
  • The AL DH can be chosen from the DH, 1B, or OF sections of the player list
  • Once the roster balancing software picks a starter at every postion (15 for AL, 14 for NL), it then gets reserves for every position.
  • NL starters + reserves(29): 8* P, 5* SR, 6 OF, 2 C, 2 1B, 2 2B, 2 3B, 2 SS
  • AL starters + resevers(30): 8* P, 5* SR, 6 OF, 2 C, 2 1B, 2 2B, 2 3B, 2 SS, 1 DH
  • * 13 pitchers altogether but at least 8 must be P
  • 1B, OF, and DH are treated somewhat interchangeably - for example you could end up with 7 OF and 1 1B after the starters and reserves are fully drafted
  • After your starters and reserves are fully drafted, the algorithm once again picks the top player from your draft list, and the final picks can include up to 4 more P, 3 more OF, or up to 2 additional players at each of the other positions

For example: Let's say you are drafting a new team, you have 10th pick in the draft, the first 4 players on your draft list are all shortstops, and you had roster balancing turned on starting round 1:

After the first 9 picks, your first shortstop got picked so is no longer available. But your next 3 shortstops are still on your draft list. You get your highest ranked shortstop remaining. In round 2 of the draft you get first pick. Because roster balancing is turned on, the software skips over the shortstops to draft the top ranked player on your list who is NOT a shortstop. Only after every starter position is filled will the roster balancing algorithm permit your team to draft a shortstop.

The prior example assumes you have roster balancing turned on - remember that you can turn it on or off at any time during the draft. If you leave Roster Balancing off when your draft picks are made, you will receive your highest listed player that is still available regardless of position needs, and the roster balancing algorithm will not apply.

Plus Sign Option for Roster Balancing (Advanced)

For more flexibility during the draft, Scoresheet provides an advanced option that overrides the optional Roster Balancing feature of the drafting system. By putting a plus sign (+) next to a player's number on your ranking list, you are able to draft that player even if you already have another player at that position.

For instance, you may have already received a starting shortstop, but a second shortstop at the top of your ranking list remains undrafted when it is your turn to draft. If you have a plus sign (+) next to the (second) shortstop's player number, you will draft him as a backup even if you're still missing some starting players at other positions.

NOTE: A plus sign will only override Roster Balancing for one extra player at each position. For example, you draft a second third baseman, or a sixth starting pitcher using Roster Balancing and the Plus Sign Option, before drafting a starting catcher. However, you will NOT receive more than one backup at a position before you get a starter at other positions.

Once you receive a "plussed" player, he counts at that position. We recommend that you only use the Plus Sign Option sparingly, if you decide to use it at all.

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