SCORESHEET BASEBALL: Thoughts on the upcoming 2020 season

June 24th, 2020

Hello Everyone: Well, after a long delay, MLB has finally announced a plan to play the 2020 season, meaning Scoresheet can start moving ahead also. Per reports, MLB plans on having teams begin workouts on July 1st, with a 60 game season starting July 23rd or 24th and ending September 27th. Rather then re-hashing all the idiocy that has been displayed by MLB owners and/or players, I figure we should do our best to move on and try and get ready for some actual baseball, and for real Scoresheet games.

That schedule makes for a 9 1/2 week season, with 6 or 7 MLB games per week. While programmer Dave still has a lot of details to figure out, we are thinking that Scoresheet teams can play double that many games (roughly 120) by playing 12-14 games a week, with player stats being doubled for our games. In other words, a player who gets 24 at-bats in a week in the majors would be able to get 48 at-bats for his Scoresheet team. We figure the more baseball the better, and hope you all agree! David still has a lot of work to make sure that scheduling is possible, but he is quite hopeful. We will post new season schedules on league websites as soon as he can generate them (probably in about two weeks if all goes well.)

With a 9 1/2 week season we will also have to adjust our playoff format somewhat. Normally we have the playoff lineups due 4 weeks before the end of the season, with stats from those final 4 weeks weighted more heavily, and playing time for the playoffs just based on player's MLB playing time the last 4 weeks of the season. But we feel that 4 weeks is too big a fraction of the shorter season, so we are thinking that we would move the deadline back a week. So playoff lineups would be due by Monday September 7th, with playing time for the playoffs based on player's MLB playing time the last three weeks of the MLB season. Monday September 7th would also be the Scoresheet trading deadline.

As far as our usual in-season supplemental drafts (rounds 36-45), our tentative plan is that we would have the first web draft (rounds 36 & 37) run Wednesday and Thursday July 15/16, rounds 38 & 39 would run Wednesday and Thursday July 29/30, rounds 40 & 41 would run Wednesday and Thursday August 5th and 6th, rounds 42 & 43 would run Wednesday and Thursday August 19th and 20th, and rounds 44 & 45 would run Wednesday and Thursday September 2nd and 3rd. NOTE - those round numbers and dates are for leagues that drafted the standard 35 rounds in the pre-season, and for leagues that typically follow our default draft dates. If you are in a private league and your league drafted more (or less) rounds in the pre-season then we will adjust your round numbers accordingly. For example, if your league drafted 40 rounds then the first in-season draft for your league would start with round 41. Also, if you typically choose custom dates for your in-season drafts you can do so again this year - just let us know your league' draft schedule. And if your private league wants to run your own drafts you do not have to use the web draft - you can choose to add players thru the trade form, or run a draft and submit the draft results to us. HOWEVER, the players that were picked in MLBs amateur draft a couple of weeks ago will *not* be available to be drafted in web drafts until our public keepers leagues are drafting round 40, which is the normal round that is held after the June amateur draft. That means that the first time the players taken in June's MLB draft can be picked in a Scoresheet web draft will be the week of August 5th.

We are also thinking about, and working on, other changes that will be needed due to the newly adjusted reality of the 2020 season. For one, players normally qualify during the season at new positions after playing 10 games at that position. But with the shorter season we will probably lower that to 7 games, Though as usual, if someone is clearly playing a new main position in week 1 in the majors we will qualify him at that position before we play the week 1 Scoresheet games, even though he obviously can not get 7 games played there in just the first week. As far as qualifying at a 2nd position for next year, the normal limit to get that is playing 20 games. We are discussing possibly lowering that to 15 games this year, meaning for instance that if someone plays 15 games at 2B in 2020 he would automatically qualify at 2B on the 2021 player lists.

Following MLBs decision to have the DH in NLs this year, we will be doing the same. So *all* Scoresheet leagues will have a DH in 2020. Then in 2021 and beyond we will follow whatever MLB does regarding the DH. However, as was discussed back before the virus upended all of our plans, we will *not* be implementing the three batter minimum that pitchers have to face. Our feeling back in January was that the only reason MLB added that rule was to speed up play, and we do not have that issue in our games. Plus, since no one (managers, players or fans) seems to like that rule, our guess is that it will just last one year. But if MLB keeps that rule in 2021 we will add it then. And no, we will *not* be having extra inning games start with a runner on second base. Not only would that require some time consuming programming, and David will be buried as is, but that just seems a step too far.

We will have other news to report in the days ahead, so you will be getting e-mails from us every couple/few days to keep everyone informed. And of course we are always open to feedback. Preferably by e-mail if possible so that we can keep tabs on the ideas we get.

Finally, with the promise of real baseball news to follow in just a week, and maybe even at least intra squad games shortly after that, we figure we will just have two final weeks of our exhibition games, scheduled to be played Monday June 29th and Monday July 6th. With baseball on the horizon we think some owners will want to tinker with their lineups to help figure out what positions to target in the first draft or two. And with the DH in NLs some owners may want to experiment with their lineups to take that into account, and so we see a purpose in having a couple more weeks of those games. The stats that player performance will be based on for games played on Monday June 29th will be the Baseball Prospectus projected stats, and those will be up on your league's web site Friday morning June 26th.

We would like to sincerely thank everyone for bearing with us these past 3+ months as it often seemed our world was crumbling around us. Obviously there are more important things then baseball that many many folks have had to go thru (health issues, job issues, social justice issues and protests, etc.) But maybe, just maybe, getting sports back will give us all a hope of normality to come.

Play Ball! - Jeff Barton, Scoresheet Baseball

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