Scoresheet's Lineup Form and Game Rules
Your team's lineup form is used to set your batting order, pitching rotation, bullpen and bench for Scoresheet's weekly games. You also set your strategies for things such as sacrifice bunts, platooning, steals, when a reliever comes into the game, etc.
As a baseball fan, you'll find getting started with the lineup form fairly intuitive. But you can fine-tune your strategy if you delve into less-obvious details, try to understand the inner workings of the simulation software, and thoroughly learn Scoresheet's game rules. This how-to user manual is therefore divided into 3 sections:
- Quick Start - Lineup essentials in < 5 minutes
- Details - Exactly what you can do with every part of the lineup form
- How Scoresheet Works and Other Game Rules - Describes many game rules and helps you understand how Scoresheet's simulator uses your lineup to play games
Rules about drafting are discussed on a different page: Drafts in Scoresheet
A Scoresheet week runs from Monday thru Sunday. Lineups are due at the start of the week (before the first MLB game starts each Monday), and then games are played on the Scoresheet computer at the end of the week. For instance:
If you submit a lineup before the first Monday April 6 MLB game, it will be used for the Scoresheet games played on Monday April 13th, which use the stats generated from MLB games played from April 6-12. If no new lineup is turned in for the week, we simply continue to use the lineup used for the previous week.
Changes you make to the lineup form don't take effect until you submit with the Send button at the bottom of the form and see a confirmation message. Make sure your lineup form is open on one device only, so you don't accidentally overwrite changes you made from one device with changes from another.
If you see a red-colored error message after hitting the send button then it means your lineup has an error that stopped it from being submitted, and that error needs to be corrected before your lineup will actually be sent to the Scoresheet office to be used. Once you have corrected the error(s) then hit the send button again to submit your new lineup. If your lineup is successfully submitted you will see a message saying that 'your lineup has been successfully sent to the Scoresheet office'. Once again, to have a lineup successfully submitted you must fix any red error messages you see after hitting the send button.
Warnings issued after you hit the send button are in regular black type face. A warning will not stop your lineup from being submitted, but is just meant as a reminder there is something on your lineup that you might want to change.
Up to 30 of your players can be listed as part of your active roster. The rest are in the farm system. Select menu to the left of the player to choose where to place that player within a section, or to move to a different section.
If you run out of PA or IP for a starting player on your 30-player roster, the software will first try to fill the position with bench players, then players from your farm, and then as a last resort an automatically assigned AAA player that performs about half as well as an MLB player.
- Positions: preferred fielding positions
- Steal column: controls stealing vs. both RHPs and LHPs
- Bunt: the earliest inning a player attempts a sacrifice bunt, or - (dash) to never bunt
- PH: a player's pinch hit rank (1 is best), or - (dash) to have the player pinch hit for
- Defensive Substitutions: These players take over at listed position when ahead by 2 or more runs in 8th inning or later. A defensive sub must be listed as a starter or on the bench (not in your farm system) before he can be used as a defensive substitute.
- Hook: the number of runs a pitcher can give up before being replaced, with current baserunners counting as half a run each
- Hook for Closer: a starting pitcher's hook number for replacing him with a closer
- Prefer to Face Teams: a list of up to 3 team numbers of teams you most want this pitcher to face, in order
- Inning: the earliest inning a pitcher will appear as a reliever
- vs.R and vs.L: rank your relievers vs. RHBs and LHBs, with 1 being best
- Closers: enter only in "save situations" (similar to conditions required for MLB save)
- "Set up man" relievers with an earliest inning of 6 or later: will not come in if you are behind by more than 3 runs, or ahead by more than 7
Each pitcher should only be listed once, in either your starting rotation, general bullpen, or as a closer. Any pitcher may be listed as a closer or in the general bullpen. The starting rotation must have exactly 5 pitchers listed, and pitchers listed in the player lists 'short reliever' section can not start a Scoresheet game (or come in before the 4th inning) unless they have started a game that current season in the majors.
Farm system position players will be used if necessary, in order of MLB playing time for the year so far, with strategies Steal N, Bunt 7, and PH -.
Farm system pitchers will be used if necessary, in order of MLB playing time for the year so far, with Hook 4, and Earliest Inning 1 for general pitchers or 4 for short relievers.
Now that you've finished reading the Quick Start section, you should try making and saving changes to the lineup form. When you're ready to learn more details, continue reading below.
Details of the Scoresheet Lineup Form
Submitting and Improving Lineups
Scoresheet's software creates a default lineup for every team. This default lineup will be used until you create your first lineup. At the time you create your first lineup, you must give your team a name.
Once your first lineup is created, game simulations will always use the latest lineup you create before the deadline for the current week's games. For example, the latest lineup you submit on or before Monday morning April 6 will be applied to Monday April 13 game simulations using stats gathered from real MLB games April 6-12.
How often do you need to change your lineup? That's up to you.
The automatically generated default lineup isn't bad, but starter choices are selected based on player stats from last year. You can do better by creating a lineup geared to current-year expectations and fine tune it based on how it performs. It's especially worth spending some time altering the default lineup before week 1 of the baseball season.
After you've sent in your first lineup, you can try to improve it week by week, or you can just leave it alone for weeks at a time. Players in Scoresheet will experience reduced playing time or performance when they are injured, sent to the minors, or for various other reasons MLB players get their playing time reduced in real life. However, Scoresheet's software automatically subs in the players you need, as detailed a little later in this guide. If just a couple players experience playing time variation from week to week, the lineup you first entered will still be approximately followed.
If you want to improve your team throughout the year without spending hours per week, consider altering your lineup only when something happens that changes your roster substantially, right after:
- A major trade or series of trades
- An in-season two-round draft
- Several key players on your team experience big changes in playing time due to long-term injuries, moves between MLB and MiLB, or seemingly permanent moves to or from the bench.
If you enjoy fine tuning your lineup more frequently, you can see what works and what doesn't by reviewing weekly game results in detail using either game replays (Score-It) or game scoresheets (which you can view either online or via the weekly email reports). If you notice patterns in how the software makes various choices for your team, you can often direct improvements via the lineup form.
Using Game Pattern Observation to Fix Lineups: Examples
- One of your top hitters, a top-hitting catcher in MLB who plays 4-5 MLB games per week, is only playing 4-5 games each week for you and sometimes gets pulled in the middle of a close game as he runs up against his playing time limit. Yet - sometimes he is in the whole game when your team is winning a blowout. To fix this, you make two changes:
- move him to the bottom of the batting order where he'll average fewer PA per game.
- Your backup catcher is excellent on defense, so you assign him to be the defensive substitute who replaces your starting catcher when you have a big lead late in the game.
- You notice your highest OPS hitters are sometimes laying down sacrifice bunts when runners are on and you'd rather they swing away. To fix this, put in a "-" for Bunt for each of those high OPS players to stop them from bunting in the future.
- You lose a couple close games because, despite having a great pitcher in the closer role with inning set to 9, he isn't coming in for any starters in the 9th inning in close, low scoring games. On your lineup form you see that you have "Hook for Closer" for all of your starters set to 4.0. To fix this, set the "Hook for Closer" numbers for all your starting rotation pitchers much lower, perhaps 1.0. Then, assuming the closer has IP left for the week and the starter has given up at least 1 run, the closer will come in to finish off close, low-scoring games for starters, no matter what their regular hook number is.
How Substitutions Work in Scoresheet
Thoroughly understanding how substitutions work in Scoresheet will help you better understand how your lineup form choices impact performance in simulated games. Starting with a high-level summary and the most important concept to understand:
If you run out of PA or IP for a starting player on your 30-player roster, the software will first try to fill the position with bench players, then players from your farm, and then as a last resort an automatically assigned AAA player that performs about half as well as an MLB player.
However, various baseball and Scoresheet constraints interact with substitutions in a way that is not always obvious, especially for new Scoresheet players. Other constraints to keep in mind:
- When your team is playing defense, there must be a player at all 8 non-pitcher positions.
- When a starter is not available for any reason, the highest listed bench player comes in so long as all positions are covered. If that is not possible, the bench player is skipped for the next bench player. An "available" bench player is one who has some PA remaining for the current week.
- A player qualified at a certain position on Scoresheet's player lists and who you list with that position on your lineup card may play in that position. Also, a player may sometimes play out-of-position according to Scoresheet's out-of-position rules. Sometimes Scoresheet will automatically play a player out of position if the only alternative is to play a AAA player.
- IP limits for pitchers are roughly what they were in MLB that week. But they are not exactly the same due to fudge factors and carryover innings that are sometimes in effect.
- Your starting SS Alex Bregman vs. LHP suffers an ACL injury on Monday while warming up, after you had already turned in your lineup. He plays no games that week. None of your other starting players are marked SS on your lineup form. The first three spots of your bench against LHP are occupied by the following 3 players, in this order:
- 604 Gallo,Jo OF
- 508 Adames,Wi SS
- 504 Fletcher,Da IN-OF
- Same example as above, except Fletcher is in the starting lineup, in the OF role before the Bregman injury. This time, Gallo DOES come in as a sub for Bregman. Gallo plays OF for Fletcher, who plays SS for Bregman.
- Of the 5 pitchers you have listed in your starting rotation, one of them is injured. The other 4 pitchers have no carry-over starts coming into the week, so they will start 4 out of the 6 games you have scheduled for the week. Scoresheet's software requires 2 more starters (but must operate within pitcher playing time limits):
- First it scans the bullpen, and finds only one pitcher who is qualified as a starter. This pitcher did not start a game in the MLB that week, but DID pitch 4 innings of relief in MLB, so he starts a game for you that week in Scoresheet (but is removed after 4 innings).
- There are no other pitchers qualified to pitch in the bullpen, but you have several high-ERA pitchers qualified to start in your farm who started games in the MLB this week. The software chooses the 6th starter from among these Farm pitchers, the one who has pitched the most innings so far this season.
Position Player Placement Details
Lineups for position players are divided into lineups versus right-handed pitchers (vs. RHP) and lineups versus left-handed pitchers (vs. LHP). You will usually want your lineups vs. LHP and RHP to be different because some of your hitters have large platoon splits (they hit better against LHP than RHP or better against RHP than LHP).
To examine platoon splits (OPS vs. LHP and OPS vs. RHP) and many other year-to-date stats helpful to making lineup choices, from your league page go to:
- [league name] Rosters, with Major League Stats through [date]
When on this stats page, you can also see a player's prior 3 weeks' stats (week by week) by clicking on his name.
Within "vs. RHP" lineup, first list the 9 AL starters (8 in NL because 9th is automatically the pitcher) in batting order. List the remaining players on the bench in order of who you most hope to come in if a starter is unable to play. Do this same procedure for the vs. LHP lineup - batting order, then bench. If a player is listed vs. RHP, he must also be listed vs. LHP (and vice versa), though he can be either on the bench or in the starting lineup.
You can only have up to 30 players listed on a lineup card (even though, as a Scoresheet owner, you typically start out the season with more than 30 players and that number grows throughout the season as you take part in supplemental drafts and potentially make unbalanced trades). Players not listed as a starter or on the bench are in the Farm System. Farm system players are still part of your roster, and are sometimes referred to as the "taxi squad" because, if they have playing time available, they will automatically be used before any (AAA) players are called up.
The "Bunt" or "PH" (pinch hit) column that is used depends on the pitcher that the batter is currently facing. If the other team replaces a RHP with a LHP, the batter's bunting and PH strategies switch to the "vs. LHP" columns. There is only one steal column, which is used against either RHP or LHP.
List your players on the bench in the order you want them to appear in the case that a starter does not have enough major league at-bats to start every game that week for you in Scoresheet. The PH (pinch hit rank) does NOT influence who comes in as a starter. All that matters is the highest-listed player of the bench section who has some unused playing time. If making a bench player part of the batting order would lead to a position not being covered, then this bench player will be skipped.
Scoresheet will automatically shuffle your batting order slightly when a starter can not play. Here are the rules we follow when juggling lineups.
- A starter never moves down in the order.
- A starter batting leadoff, 2nd, or 3rd never moves at all.
- A starter who is in your 3, 4, 5 or 6 slot never moves higher than the third slot.
- Since we never move a 3 thru 6 hitter above the 3rd slot your new leadoff and 2nd batter (if either is subbed for) comes from either a sub or your 7th or 8th hitter (and/or 9th hitter in the AL.) If your leadoff or second batter is out we first look for a batter who has a Y in his steal column to fill that spot. If more than one batter has a Y we put the batters with the better PH rank (the lower the number the better - #1 is best) at the top of the order. Also, a catcher will not be moved to the leadoff spot.
- In the 3 thru 8 (or 9) spots, we put the guy with the best pinch hit number highest in the batting order. (We never move a starter down in the order. But when a sub comes in the decision of whether to move other guys up, or to bat the sub higher than a starter, is based on PH rank.)
- Lineup juggling is another reason that ranking your hitters in the PH column is important, as we do put the hitters with the better rank higher up in the order.
The Position Column
You can list both starters and bench players at more than one position. However, since positions are automatically shuffled for you if you run out of players at a position, you should only list players at the positions they are qualified to play! Only qualified catchers can be listed at catcher, and only players who qualify at one of second base, shortstop or third base can play any of those three positions.
Next to each player, list the position(s) you prefer him to play. Separate multiple positions with hyphens ("-"). Scoresheet will automatically move a player to other positions if necessary, following Scoresheet's out-of-position rules. For example, if all of your second basemen are out, Scoresheet will automatically move a backup shortstop to play second base.
Each starting lineup must have a player at every position, including three outfielders (and if AL, a designated hitter - DH). You can either designate outfielders as "LF", "RF", "CF"; or you can simply put "OF" next to their names, which will automatically assign the best starting outfielder to play center field for you. If your starting DH is out of available at-bats, the highest ranked pinch-hitter off your bench will be used as your starting DH.
IN means the same thing as 3B-SS-2B: the player is qualified to play 3B, SS and 2B, and you prefer he be available to play any of these 3 positions.
The Steal? Column
Stealing second base may be attempted if you are behind by two runs or less through the sixth inning, and if you are behind by one run starting with the seventh inning. Your player can steal in any inning if you are tied or leading.
If you want your player to have the option to steal, put a "Y" in his "Steal?" column. An "N" means he will never attempt to steal. A "Y" means the player has a chance to steal, and not that he will necessarily try to steal - he is limited to the amount of steals he has in the major leagues. A player's chances of getting thrown out vary according to how successful he is that week in the majors, as well as on the catcher behind the plate.
The Bunt Column (Earliest Sacrifice Bunt)
List the earliest inning that you want the player to attempt a sacrifice bunt. Beginning with the inning indicated, a sacrifice bunt may be attempted if there are no outs and the potential tying, go-ahead, or first or second insurance run is on base. The batter will try to bunt if the key run is on first base with second or third base open; or, on second base with third base open if it is at least the eighth inning.
Sacrifice bunts are successful about 75 percent of the time - when they are not successful, the batter is out and the runner stays put.
The PH Column (Rank or Pinch Hit)
Players with a number in the "PH" column will stay in the game (they will not be pinch hit for). If they are on the bench that game, they can be used as pinch hitters, while players with a dash in the column will be pinch hit for.
Make sure you put a number in the "Rank of PH for" column for your better hitters! For example, if you leave the column blank for your fourth hitter, he will get pinch hit for by some other player with a number in his column - something you probably do not want to happen!
If you place a number in the PH column for every player, NO ONE will be pinch hit for (except pitchers in NL).
Pinch hitting only occurs under one of the following conditions:
- if you are behind, or
- if you are tied with a man in scoring position, beginning in the seventh inning, or
- sixth inning if at least two men are on base
In addition to determining who will pinch hit, the numerical rank in the PH column is also used to shuffle your batting order when substitutions occur. The PH number is also important for starters since a player may not have enough at-bats to start for you in Scoresheet, but still may have an at-bat available to use as a pinch hitter. Finally, it is important to vary your PH ranking vs. RHPs and LHPs if you want to use primarily left-handed pinch hitters against right-handed pitchers, and vice versa.
If you mark "-" on both the LHP and RHP side, they will normally never pinch hit at all for your team. There is one rare circumstance that someone marked "-" will come in to pinch hit - if a player on the team runs out of plate appearances for the week and there are no remaining pinch hitters on the bench because they already came in earlier. Note also that someone marked with "-" for both LHP and RHP can come in as a defensive substitution - sometimes explicitly because you gave those directions, but sometimes because someone else came in to pinch hit the previous half inning which left a position uncovered, and this player was able to cover that position.
Pinch Hitting for Pitchers
A starting pitcher may be pinch hit for beginning in the fifth inning. He will be pinch hit for if the number of runs you are behind, plus half the number of runners currently on base, is at least 4.5 in the fifth inning, or 3.5 in the sixth, 2 in the seventh, 1 in the eighth, or .5 in the ninth or extra innings. Closers are always pinch hit for if you are behind, or tied with a runner in scoring position. Middle relievers are pinch hit for if behind or tied, except before the fifth inning, when relievers are only pinch hit for if at least two men are on base.
When leading late in the game, you may want to replace a good hitter with a better fielder. Starting with the eighth inning, if you are ahead by two or more runs, the listed player for defensive substitutions will take over at that position. A defensive sub must be listed as a starter or on the bench (not in your farm system) before he can be used as a defensive substitute.
Do not list a player as defensive substitute at more than one position. If you do, the software will assign that player to be a defensive sub at the most valuable position only ("valuable" order is: C, SS, 2B, 3B, CF, corner OF, 1B).
On your lineup card, list the five pitchers you want in your starting rotation. Assuming they pitch in the major leagues that week, each pitcher listed in your rotation will start at least one game that week in Scoresheet Baseball.
One or two starting rotation pitchers who have two starts available may start twice for you, since six or seven games are played each week in Scoresheet Baseball. If many pitchers have two starts available, the "Prefer to Face Team" numbers and the order in which you list your pitching rotation are used to determine which pitcher(s) will get the extra start(s) in Scoresheet Baseball. Unused second starts will be carried over for use in future weeks.
If none of your starters has a second start available, then Scoresheet's software will look for a starter in the following order:
- Use your top bullpen pitcher who started a game in the majors that week
- If can't do the above, then use your top listed bullpen pitcher who pitched at least three innings that week in the majors, as long as he is not on our short reliever list.
- If neither of the above is possible, the software will choose a pitcher from the farm who had a start, with Hook 4, and Earliest Inning 1. If more than 1 pitcher in the farm had a start, the pitcher with the most MLB playing time for the year so far is chosen.
- When none of the above are available, then the team is assigned a generic (AAA) pitcher with no name who has an ERA about twice the league average, which in recent times is an ERA of about 9.
With the exception of shortened weeks (i.e. opening week, all-star week), you will use a minimum of five different starting pitchers each week. If one of your five listed starters does not play in the majors that week, Scoresheet will go to your bullpen for your fifth starter. If a pitcher didn't start a major league game that week, he'll be limited to, at most, four innings in your Scoresheet game.
There is no real "rotation" among games since the entire week's Scoresheet games are played on the same day in random order. However, no pitcher will start more than once against the same team in the same week. Also, a pitcher who is listed on our 'short reliever' list cannot appear in a Scoresheet game before the 4th inning.
The Hook Column
Whenever a pitcher exceeds his hook number, he is taken out of the game. This number is computed as the sum of:
- total number of earned runs he has given up in a game
- + half the number of unearned runs he has given up in a game
- + half the number of runners currently on base for which he is responsible
Ties are broken by considering from which side the pitcher throws and from which side the current batter bats. Regular hook numbers for pitchers listed in your starting rotation will never be less than 3.0, if even you attempt to list a number below 3.
Hook Number to Take Out for Closer
A starting pitcher will be replaced by a closer (if one is listed on your lineup card and has innings available) when the hook number for bringing in your closer is reached. This hook number for closer to come in CAN be lower than "3", but only applies to "Scoresheet save situations", defined as:
- when the score is tied and they have plenty of innings available (at least one for each game remaining that week, or
- when you are leading but the other team has the potential tying run on base, batting, or on deck
There is a slight "fatigue factor" for Scoresheet pitchers, resulting in them pitching a little worse as the game progresses. Even so, we recommend that hook numbers for closers to come in should probably not be below "2" - if your starter is pitching a great game, you probably want to leave him in the game.
Prefer to Face Teams
Since each week you will have different pitchers getting the sixth and seventh starts, and since we do not always want your top pitcher to face another team's top pitcher, you do not set a specific pitching rotation in Scoresheet. However, Scoresheet does have a column in which you can list up to three teams (in order) that you'd prefer to have that pitcher face. You can list 0, 1, 2, or 3 teams for each starter.
In most cases, the best use of this feature is to match up lefties against teams with mostly left handed hitters, or righties against teams with predominantly right handed hitters, although you may also want to have your better pitchers face the teams that you feel are your primary competition.
List your bullpen pitchers in the order you want them moved to the starting rotation, if necessary. When an emergency starter is needed, Scoresheet will use the first bullpen pitcher on your list that had a start that week in the majors. If none of these pitchers started, the first reliever listed that pitched at least three innings that week in the majors will be used.
Any bullpen pitcher used as a starter will use the hook numbers listed for the fifth starting pitcher on your team. Short relievers from the Scoresheet Player List cannot start a Scoresheet game unless they become starting pitchers in the majors.
The Inning Column (Earliest Inning to Use)
This is the earliest inning each pitcher will appear in a game AS A RELIEVER. This column is ignored when choosing starters out of the bullpen, which is determined by the order you list them in the bullpen. You might want your better relievers saved for late innings.
Scoresheet will NOT use a reliever with an earliest inning of "6" or later (as a "set-up man"') when you are already behind by more than three runs or ahead by more than seven runs - Scoresheet will try to save him for more important situations.
The vsR and vsR columns (Rank when used as a Reliever)
This number determines the order your pitchers will appear as relievers, subject to the earliest inning used column (and their available playing time). The rank vs. Right-Handed Batters (RHB) and vs. Left-Handed Batters (LHB) is used depending on who is the FIRST batter coming up.
Pitchers listed in this category will ONLY be used in "Scoresheet save situations". Thus, like most major league teams, you likely only need one designated closing pitcher.
Closers are always ranked higher than your other relievers, so they will be used first in a save situation, subject to their earliest inning used. Like other relievers, you can rank closers differently vs. RHB's and LHB's (if you have two of them listed). A short reliever, or a pitcher listed as a closer on your lineup card, can only pitch, at most, three innings in a single game. Relief pitchers are always taken out for a closer in a save situation, starting with any available closer's earliest inning used.
Adding to Bench (Advanced)
Just below the Farm system section of the lineup, below both the position player and pitcher Farm systems, there is a way to add players with the "Add to Bench" button. If you are in a league that uses online web drafts, adding players to the lineup is neither needed nor possible. In other words, you only want to use this feature if you are part of a private league that drafts without using Scoresheets web draft.
If your private league does its own drafting and has not yet sent in the latest draft results to Scoresheet, then players you recently drafted won't show on the lineup form, and may not show in time for the next Monday lineup deadline. Simply type in the player number of a player you drafted to add them to your lineup form. If it's a position player, type in the player number below the position player Farm section. If it's a pitcher, type in the player number below the pitcher Farm section.
The Scoresheet office must receive confirmation from both of the teams involved in a trade before finalizing the trade. Access and use the trade form from your league's main page. Scoresheet reviews trades for fairness to eliminate collusion.
How Scoresheet Works and Other Game Rules
This section includes other types of information that impacts how your lineups perform. Some of it was previously published elsewhere on Scoresheet's site, such as which stats matter most in Scoresheet, and how fielding works. This type of information will be covered first.
Over time, this section will grow to include more detail on some of the minutiae of how the sim works under the hood. Customers do ask questions about that from time to time, but not too often.
General Game Rules and Limits
- Once games are played they are final
- Your team will not have more than 10 pitchers and 16 position players appear in a single game
- Stats for games played in March in foreign countries such as Japan, U.K., or Australia will NOT count towards any Scoresheet games, in week 1 or any other week.
- Playoffs: See Scoresheet Playoffs Page
Playing Time Overview
A player in Scoresheet Fantasy Baseball can only play roughly about as much as he did in the major leagues that week. Playing time is measured by plate appearances for position players, and innings pitched (and games appeared in) for pitchers. MLB teams typically play 6-7 games per week, and so too does Scoresheet (Scoresheet also roughly matches the shorter opening and all-star weeks). But the number of games will often mismatch slightly.
There are some adjustments made by Scoresheet to account for the fact that some weeks your players can't play as much in Scoresheet Baseball as they do in the majors due to the slight mismatch in schedules or various other reasons. For example, in some weeks, three or more of your pitchers may start twice in the majors, but they are not able to all start twice in the same week on your Scoresheet Baseball team. Therefore, we allow your players a few more innings pitched (or at-bats) in some weeks to balance things out over the course of a season. We also carry "unused" pitcher starts into future weeks, if necessary.
The playing time limitations explain why a substitute player may start a game, or why a pitcher may be taken out before his hook number is reached. If a player is injured or benched in the majors, he will play less for you, as well.
Therefore, you should draft players at each position who you believe will play a lot in the major leagues during the season. A major league player who gets virtually no at-bats in reality will not help you much in Scoresheet Baseball regardless of his batting average. In general, any starting position player is more valuable than a top pinch hitter that only gets a limited number of at-bats.
You should also make sure to draft plenty of pitchers because there are A LOT of injuries to pitchers every season. We strongly recommend beginning the season with at least seven pitchers who are slated to start in the majors. While many middle relievers have good ERAs, the pitchers who play more innings can often be more helpful to your Scoresheet team.
Playing Time Pitcher-specific Scoresheet Limits
- "Short relievers" (as designated on Scoresheet player lists) cannot pitch more than three innings in a single game.
- A pitcher listed as a short reliever on Scoresheet player lists cannot start a Scoresheet Baseball game unless/until he starts a game for his major league team during the same year (at which point he is considered to be removed from the short reliever list). Also, pitchers listed on the Scoresheet short reliever list cannot appear in a Scoresheet game until the 4th inning.
- Any pitcher who did not start a game in the majors that week cannot pitch more than four innings in a single game in Scoresheet Baseball (even if he starts for you).
- For pitchers who pitch in more games during a week for their Scoresheet team than they did in the majors, an appearance in a Scoresheet game counts roughly as an inning pitched against their playing time limit. For those pitchers, each appearance in the majors adds an inning to the amount he can pitch in Scoresheet that week; and therefore, each Scoresheet appearance costs him an inning.
- If a pitcher did not have a complete game during the week, he will be taken out after eight innings pitched in a Scoresheet game.
What Happens When You Run Out of Eligible Players
If you run out of eligible players at a position in Scoresheet Baseball, we automatically shuffle positions for you:
- players will be moved between second base, third base and shortstop
- players on the bench with the highest pinch hit rank will be moved to first base and/or designated hitter
- the top listed players will be moved to outfield
Shuffling of players only occurs when no one else on your team qualifies at a particular position. If there are substitute outfielders on the bench, the top listed substitute outfielder will be moved to the starting lineup. Such shuffling changes incur the Scoresheet's out-of-position fielding penalties.
If you are subject to a large number of injuries, Scoresheet will assign you an anonymous replacement. These replacements, appearing as Catcher(AAA), Outfielder(AAA), Pitcher(AAA), etc., will be hitters of roughly .180 (or worse) batting average, or pitchers with an ERA two times the league average (an ERA of about 9!). (AAA) players will bat differently depending on the position at which they appear:
- (AAA) outfielders and first basemen hit about .185, with a .230 slugging percentage
- (AAA) catchers hit about .135 with a .180 slugging percentage
- (AAA) infielders hit about .170, but with only a .200 slugging percentage
These are the same types of players that are called up from the minors when injuries occur on a major league team. The use of (AAA) players enables your team to continue playing, but certainly decreases your chance of winning games - you should try to get solid backup players with plenty of playing time at as many positions as possible in Scoresheet Baseball!
Catcher Fielding Numbers
Catcher Numbers on Scoresheet player lists work as follows:
- first number: the number of opposing runners stealing successfully per nine innings
- second number: the number of runners caught stealing per nine innings.
These are NOT percentages, but actual numbers averaged per nine innings. The lower the first number, and the higher the second number, the better the catcher!
For a full time catcher, the way to compare these numbers is that a difference of .10 in opposition stolen bases (first number) is worth about 12 to 15 points in batting average (or two to three home runs), and a difference of .10 in caught stealing (second number) is worth about 20 to 25 points in batting average (or about four to five home runs over the course of a season). Like all fielding ranges, catcher numbers will be used for the entire season - how well a catcher throws during the current week in the majors is NOT considered.
Fielding Range Numbers
For all position players, a Fielding Range number is given. The fielding range is used for a player when he is playing a particular position in Scoresheet Baseball for the entire season.
Fielding Range can be thought of as equivalent to the number of outs made per nine innings (larger Fielding Range numbers are better). The range number is derived from a player's performance over the past two seasons, and incorporates fielding chances per nine innings, percentage of balls hit in his zone that he was able to field, double plays, his amount of playing time, and a bit of Scoresheet subjective analysis.
Errors are NOT included in fielding range numbers; a player's errors in Scoresheet Baseball are based on the number of errors a player makes each week of the major league season. Further, a player's season-to-date errors do not factor into Fielding Range calculations; a player with a lot of errors will hurt your team even if he has good range.
Fielding Ranges Explained
While pitching and hitting stats are more important, fielding range numbers should still be considered when ranking your players and setting your lineups. For pitchers, less hits per week are given up in Scoresheet Baseball than they gave up in the majors when they are on a team with a high fielding range. A team with a low range will force pitchers to give up more hits per week than they actually gave up in the majors. A difference of .10 (one tenth) in fielding range is a difference of .10 of a hit per nine innings that your pitchers will give up in Scoresheet.
Simple rule of thumb when comparing two players at the same position:
.10 difference in fielding range approximately equates to .055 OPS
For example, for two shortstops with identical stats except OPS and fielding range, the shortstop with .745 OPS and 4.85 fielding range will have approximately equal value to the team as a shortstop with .800 OPS and 4.75 fielding range. The shortstop with .800 OPS will help your team more on offense, while the shortstop with 4.85 fielding range will reduce opponent hitting performance through good defense.
Simply put, Fielding Range results in taking away hits from the other team. But when comparing two players, it is easier to think of a bad fielding range as reducing that player's offensive contribution to your team.
If a player is listed at a position on one of Scoresheet Player Lists (AL or NL), he automatically qualifies at that position. If a player qualifies at an additional position because he played at least 20 games at that position in the majors last year, the range for that secondary position is also listed. If a player is not shown as qualifying at a position, he does NOT qualify at that position even if he happened to play at that position in the past.
In Scoresheet Baseball, to "qualify" at a position means that the player can play at this position without penalty. For Roster Balancing procedures during the draft, a player is considered at the primary position only (as he is listed on the Scoresheet Player List). But once the season begins, a player CAN play at positions other than where he is listed on the Player List, but with some caveats:
- pitchers can only pitch (with rare exceptions)
- only qualified catchers can be used at catcher
- only players who are qualified at any one of second base, shortstop or third base can play those positions in Scoresheet Baseball
Unless a player is shown on the Player List as qualifying at a position or has played at least 10 games there in the majors during the current season, Scoresheet will consider him out of position. If a player becomes qualified at a new position during the season, his eligibility and new Fielding Range will be indicated in the weekly results (NOTE: Players who begin the season at a new position will qualify at that position for Scoresheet games during the first week).
Rookies that are called up to the majors have league-average range at their position.
If an outfielder switches from left field or right field to center field during the year (or vice versa), his Fielding Range will not change - the ranges for outfielders stay the same for the entire season, just as for all other players.
Scoresheet has penalty formulas for a player playing out of position. These penalties increase his number of errors, and also raise opponents' batting averages due to the range limitations. Though this may not appear obvious on the game's scoresheet, this range penalty does, in fact, hurt your team the most when you play a player out of position. The severity of the penalty depends on to what extent the player is out of position.
Here are some examples of out of position penalties if you move a player to a position at which he does NOT qualify:
- an average 1B has an: OF range of 1.94
- an average 2B has a: 3B range of 2.53; SS range of 4.40; OF range of 2.04
- an average 3B has a: 2B range of 3.97; SS range of 4.33; OF range of 2.01
- an average SS has a: 2B range of 4.14; 3B range of 2.61; OF range of 2.07
- an average C has a: 1B range of 1.73; OF range of 1.93
- a DH has a: 1B range of 1.70; OF range of 1.90 (in addition to making the average number of errors for that position in Scoresheet.)
The examples above assume the player is an average fielder at his listed position and combine both the range and error penalty. An above-average fielder at his primary position will perform a little better than what is shown below; a below-average fielder will perform a little worse. (For players who are above or below average, if playing a "more difficult" position, you take the difference from the average a player has at his main position and add or subtract that difference from the numbers shown below. If moving to a "less difficult" position such as from second base to outfield, the difference added or subtracted to/from the numbers shown below is about half their real difference.)
In addition, any average infielder is assumed to be able to play 1B with average 1B range, and an average OF can play 1B with a range of about 1.79 (the average range for all positions this year is the same in the AL and NL). The adjustments above will automatically be done by Scoresheet before bringing in (AAA) players. Since the Scoresheet simulation system conducts position adjustments automatically, you should only list players on your lineup card at positions for which they really qualify!
A numeric fielding range difference has the same importance at all positions except for center field: a .10 difference between two shortstops is the same as a .10 difference between two left fielders. A player's Scoresheet errors are based on what he does in the majors each week of the current season, while range is based primarily on how he performed the previous two seasons.
The range of the player in center field is about 1.4 times as important as either the left or right fielder's range when determining your team's overall Fielding Range. This means it is advantageous to have at least one high-range outfielder to play center field for you. The "average" center fielder has a range of about 2.15, while the "average" left fielder and right fielder have ranges of about 2.07. Since the range of your center fielder matters 1.4 times as much as at other outfield positions, it is better to have a 2.16-range player in center fielder, with two 2.07-range players in left and right fields, than it is to have three 2.10-range players filling your three outfield positions. This is why most Scoresheet teams have a player with a range of at least 2.11 playing center field for them.
(AAA) players (the ones that come in automatically when you run out of players to fill a certain position) play with the following fielding range:
- 3B: average range
- 2B: .09 below average range
- SS: .14 below average range
- 1B: average range
- OF: 2.01 range
- C: numbers of 0.83 and 0.18
Statistics Used in Scoresheet: Overview
To be successful in Scoresheet Baseball, an owner needs to concentrate on a player's individual statistics such as:
- SLG (slugging percentage)
- OBP (on-base percentage)
- ERA (earned run average)
- WHIP (walks and hits per inning pitched)
Other team-dependent player stats such as runs batted in, runs scored, and pitcher wins, losses and saves, are greatly determined by which team that player is on in the majors. These team-dependent stats are far LESS important in Scoresheet Baseball than in other fantasy baseball games.
Batting Stats Used
The actual number of singles, doubles, triples, home runs, walks and strikeouts a batter has per plate appearance that week in the major leagues, modified by the opposing pitcher and fielders' performances, determines his chances of a given outcome during each at-bat in Scoresheet Baseball.
Platoon splits are also used. This means a player who has hit better against right-handed pitchers for the last two years will hit right-handed pitchers better than left-handed pitchers during the current Scoresheet Baseball season. A player's platoon splits from the current season are NOT used.
Scoresheet platoon split numbers use a formula that takes into account a batter's previous totals for differences in his hitting against left-handed and right-handed pitchers. The formula uses a player's actual platoon differences from the past two seasons factored in with 1,500 plate appearances worth of league-average platoon differences.
Pitching Stats Used
The number of hits, walks, earned runs and strikeouts a pitcher records per inning pitched during the current week in the majors affects each batter's chances against him. A pitcher's ERA in his major league games, and to a much lesser extent, his wins, losses and saves, alter the probabilities of giving up extra base hits, clutch hits, or getting double play balls.
Like batters,team-dependent stats for pitchers such as his number of major league wins, losses and saves, are not nearly as important in Scoresheet Baseball as the individual stats such as ERA and hits, walks and strikeouts per inning pitched.
Base Running Stats Used
A batter's RBIs and a runner's runs scored totals are used in determining how far the base runner advances on a base hit and affects the chances of a sacrifice fly. The Scoresheet simulation program also takes into account subtle factors such as a runner's ability to advance farther on a hit with two outs, since he runs with the crack of the bat. Stolen bases are also important, as you can only steal in Scoresheet games as often, and with as much success, as in the major leagues.
Fielding Stats Used
A fielder's actual number of errors each week in the majors determines his chances of making an error in Scoresheet Baseball.
If a player is playing a different position in the majors than he is for your Scoresheet team, we compare the number of errors he is making to the average number a player makes at that position. Using that ratio, the simulation program will decide how many errors he should make for your team, given that you are playing him in a position at which he qualifies. If he does not qualify at the position, he will get a large error penalty.
For example, if Josh Willingham starts playing as a designated hitter regularly for Minnesota, you could still play him in the outfield. He'd make an average number of errors for an outfielder for your Scoresheet team (since he qualifies in the outfield), even though he is making no errors as a DH in the majors. This rule ensures that you do not get an unfair advantage, or get unfairly penalized, if you play a player at a position at which he qualifies in Scoresheet Baseball, while he plays a different position in the majors.
AL<--->NL Stats Adjustments
Player stats are adjusted for the major league they play in. If you have Clayton Kershaw, and he is traded to the AL in mid-season, you will still get to use his stats. But, since the average ERA in the AL is different than the average ERA in the NL, we will adjust his ERA accordingly. Inter-league play in the majors will have NO effect on Scoresheet Baseball statistics - If your player is on an NL team, he is treated as if he plays in the NL even if plays against an AL team that week in the major leagues.