The first part of the lineup is the starting batting
order. A team must name nine players to start and list the
order in which they will hit. This includes eight position
players and a designated hitter. In addition to the order,
lineups will include the position that the player occupies.
Only hitters identified by their primary or secondary
position can be used in that position. As an example, only
a player listed with a primary or secondary position of
third base may be used as a starting third baseman. His
place may be filled by a reserve if he does not actually
play in that day's game (see below).
Any player may be used as a designated hitter. Players
who are identified only as designated hitters in the master
player list may not be used in any other position unless
they later meet the criteria listed in the Master Player
List and Positions section.
As described in Season Schedule, a player's statistics
for major league game X will be used for fantasy game X*.
If he does not play in that game, two things can happen.
First, a reserve off the bench may be used to fill his
place. Reserves enter the game in the order that they are
listed on the lineup submission.
*See The Big Twist – The Five-Game Gap below for how
this actually differs a little bit in practice.
220.127.116.11 Bench Players
Bench players are submitted in the lineup ranked 1-5.
Starting with the first reserve, each sub is checked to see
if he played in game X and if his primary or secondary
position makes him eligible to fill the lineup spot in
question. If so, that player is inserted into the lineup
for that game. This is at the same position in the order as
the listed starter.
If there are more open spots in the batting order, the
bench is checked again for eligible subs, until all the
starting lineup slots are filled, or there are no more bench
players. If a team’s starting SS does not play in a game,
but there are two available subs on the bench to play SS,
the sub ranked higher on the lineup fills the hole.
18.104.22.168 Designated Hitter as Position Player
Actually, the DH is always the first position
substitute. If the team’s starting position player is out,
and the listed DH is eligible to play at that position
(primary or secondary position), then the DH will fill that
role. However, the batting order will not change. Once all
the field position players are filled, the highest remaining
reserve will fill the DH spot, if necessary.
If the DH was changed to become a position player, the
new DH from the bench will fill the batting order slot of
the position player replaced by the DH.
If a DH can play multiple positions, several combinations
may be checked in order to use the bench most efficiently to
attempt to avoid using a Benchwarmer Batter. If a player can
be used in multiple spots as a backup or DH, the overriding
tiebreaker is to place from the top of the order down. Thus,
if you have only one player that can fill in for two open
spots – say leadoff and cleanup – he gets put in the leadoff
position, and the Benchwarmer goes in the cleanup spot.
22.214.171.124 The Benchwarmer Batter
Should there be no valid substitutions for a slot in the
starting lineup, the spot is filled by the Benchwarmer
Batter with the following statistics: 0 for 5, no RBI, no
walks, no SB, 2 errors. If the Benchwarmer fills the DH
role, there will be no errors. The Benchwarmer will be used
as many times as necessary to get the batting order up to
nine active players for the game.
Note on Switching Positions - Emphasis in 2008
This is just the way things work… In order to account for
any holes in your lineup, only players in the DH role or in
the bench slots can be considered for multiple positions
when attempting to fill all open spots. If you have a player
listed as a starter at 3B, but he is also eligible to play
1B, he will NOT be considered to fill in at 1B even if no
one else in your lineup can play there and you have an
eligible player for 3B on your bench. Thus, one piece of
lineup strategy is often to use players who can play
multiple positions at DH, unless you have fielding
considerations to put another player at DH.
Note - moving pitchers in and out of the rotation and
spot starter roles was impacted by a
Pitchers are handled differently, since it is very
unlikely that they will pitch in the actual corresponding
games between the major league and the fantasy seasons.
As soon as the starter is placed in the rotation, he begins
to accumulate starts in a pool or, rather, a queue.
When his turn in the rotation comes up, the oldest start in
the queue will be used for that fantasy game and will be
removed from the queue. Starts will accumulate as long
as the pitcher is in the starting rotation up to a maximum
of three - at which time the oldest one is discarded and
never used. If the starter is removed from the BWB
rotation, the queue is emptied until he is placed back in
the rotation, at which time he needs to begin accumulating
starts from scratch.
Only starts will be used while a pitcher is in the
rotation. No relief appearances will be used for the queue.
Starting Pitchers will begin accumulating starts
beginning with Major League Game 1.
In practice, pitchers that begin the BWB season in the
main 5-man rotation and are not moved out will easily queue
up an additional 1 or 2 starts, since many major league
teams do not use 5 pitchers right away. If you have a
pitcher who ends up in a 4-man MLB rotation, you may end up
losing some starts that fall out of the queue before they
can be used in BWB. Also, many teams skip a pitcher or two
or rearrange their rotation at the All Star Break, so you
may see starters queue up too many starts and lose their
oldest one before using it in a BWB game.
The use of these extra queued starts will often allow
your pitcher to not miss a BWB start if he misses a start in
real life. Minor injuries, then, should not be a huge
Starters placed into the rotation after the season
begins, however, will probably not have the chance to queue
up extra starts and you may be more affected by injuries to
5.2.2 Spot Starters
Teams designate five starting pitchers as their primary
rotation. They also list two pitchers to serve as spot
starters, who will fill in for a game if the scheduled
starter does not have an available start in the queue to
Spot starters will only accumulate one start. Thus,
their latest available start will always be the one used.
- If a pitcher is moved from the normal rotation to
spot position, his latest start will be retained and any
earlier starts in his queue will be discarded. (This was
unaffected by a 2013 rule change)
- If a pitcher is moved
from a spot position to the normal rotation, any queued
start that exists will be dropped (Note - this was part
of 2013 rule change). He
will immediately begin to queue up additional starts as they
occur up to the three-start limit, subject to the rules of
placing pitchers into the starting rotation.
Note: A rule change in 2005 allowed the “Spot Starter” to
actually become a more versatile “Spot Pitcher.” Thus,
relievers can also be used in the spot positions and they
can fill in for the regular bullpen if needed. Keep in mind
– only MLB starting pitching performances can be used for a
BWB start. And only MLB relief appearances can be used in
the BWB bullpen.
5.2.3 Preventing Manipulation of Known Results - First Stats
that Count for Starting Pitchers
In all instances, the stats for a player are tied to the
MLB game number associated
with the BWB game being played. At times, this can
mean that as a player is moved into the starting lineup or
bench, some stats will count that actually occur before the
weekly lineup deadline.
As one of nine batters, any single batting performance is
hard to manipulate game results - plus hitters are in place
for a full week of six games. However, it became clear
over time that in some situations, a pitcher could be moved
from a non-rotation spot into a starting role and the timing
of the schedule could allow a known superior pitching
performance to come into play.
So, in 2013 these changes took place:
- As mentioned above - when moving spot starters into
the main rotation, any queued starts (thus known) are
- As a pitcher is moved into the starting rotation,
even if the major league schedule would allow a pitching
performance to be eligible for a BWB game, no
statistics will count for new starters that occurred
before the deadline day for that week's
- Exception - pitchers signed exactly
one week before the lineup deadline have their stats
count based only on the MLB/BWB game number, even if it
occurred before the current deadline. It's assumed
that this player was signed to take a rotation spot and
is not an intentional manipulation that could come from
moving someone from a spot role, the taxi squad or minor
- 2014 Rule Relaxation - this date/deadline limitation
will only apply to the main rotation P1-P5. Teams
can move pitchers into the spot starter role and stats
will count as long as they are for eligible MLB-BWB game
mappings. In some cases it was clear in 2013 that
a rash of injuries could leave a team with no lineup
flexibility for a week's worth of games.
Owners specify a starting rotation of five pitchers. A
pitcher is used in a game if a) it is his turn in the
rotation and b) he has a game in the queue to use. In the
situation where at the start of the season or if he is
placed into the rotation mid-season, and does not have a
qualifying game, then the spot starters are checked, in
order. If one has a qualifying start and at least 4 games
rest (see below), he takes the start. If neither of the spot
pitchers can be used, the next pitcher in the rotation with
a qualifying game will pitch, again contingent on the fact
that he has not pitched in the previous 4 games.
The spot starters are not rotated. For example, a spot
starter is needed in game 32. The first spot starter
qualifies and is used. Assume that the spot starters do not
change and the next spot start is needed in game 63. Again,
the top spot starter in the order is checked first, despite
the fact that he was the last spot starter to be used.
5.2.5 Rest Between Starts
Starting pitchers must rest for four fantasy games
between starts. If a pitcher's turn in the rotation comes
due, but he has pitched in any of the preceding four games,
he is skipped until his normal turn in the rotation comes up
again (or unless he is needed to move up in the rotation
before that occurs).
This makes changing a pitcher’s position in the rotation
a tricky process. It’s almost certain that if you move a
pitcher UP in the rotation, he will need to sit out a start.
And in some weeks, moving a pitcher DOWN in the rotation
could cause a problem (you need to be aware of which
rotation spot will have two starts in the given BWB week).
126.96.36.199 Reset rotation at the "All Star Break" (Week 16)
Added 7/18/14 for 2015 Season
Often MLB teams will use the four days of the All Star
Break to reset their rotations. After 15 weeks of
signings and releases, injuries, and trades, your BWB
rotation may be in a complete mess. For Week 16
lineups, you can reorder your complete rotation without
worrying about how many games of rest from one start to the
next. For BWB Games 91-95, the 5 games of rest will
not be used to disallow a starting pitching performance if
the previous start occurred in Game 90 or earlier (so, for
example, the same pitcher cannot work Games 92 and 94, but a
pitcher could pitch Game 89 during Week 15 and then again in
92 during Week 16).
There are still
restrictions on statistics dates when moving pitchers
from spot starter, minor leagues, or taxi squad into the
primary rotation. That does not change.
This is right at a break in the rotation where P5 has 2
starts in Week 15 and P1 has 2 starts in Week 16.
There's no advantage to be gained here for any pitcher in
the number of starts for the remainder of the season.
From Weeks 16 through 25, each rotation slot will come up 12
5.2.6 The Pinesitter Pitcher
If the normally scheduled starter cannot pitch in the BWB
game (whether because there are no starts in the queue or he
has not had the proper rest), and no spot starter can fill
in, and no other pitcher in the rotation can move up to
pitch early, then a substitute is needed to start the game.
If no starters qualify for the game, a Pinesitter Pitcher
fills in with the following line score: 3 IP, 5 H, 5 BB, 0
K, and 5 ER.
5.2.7 Relief Pitchers
This is significantly more complicated, if that's
possible, than the starting pitching. Again, this is
largely due to the fact that the need for relief pitching
will generally not correspond with real major league game
Rather than maintain a queue of games for relief
pitchers, their performance will be collected on a sliding
scale of six games. That is, games #1-6 will be compiled
for fantasy game #1. Games #2-7 will be compiled for
fantasy game #2, and so on.
Only actual relief appearances will count. No starts
will be included in a relief pitcher's pool of games.
The actual use of these games will be described in more
detail below in Scoring and Appendix B: BWB Scoring Formula.
5.3 2-Way Players -
Rule added for 2018 Season
With the signing of Shohei Ohtani and the possibility of
some other 2-way players in the minors, BWB adds in 2018 the
2-way player that can fill a lineup spot either as a hitter
or a pitcher.
- A 2-way player can be placed in the lineup as a
position player/DH or on the bench. He can fill any of
the pitching roles (starter, bullpen, or spot starter).
- For a given game week, he will only earn stats and
provide input to game results in the role in which he's
placed. If he is listed as a hitter, he cannot
provide any value that week as a pitcher. If he is
listed as a pitcher, he cannot fill in if needed as an
extra bench player in the batting order. This
may change in future seasons if some of the processes
around how open lineup spots are filled by bench players
- There are no plans to count the hitting stats of
standard pitchers - or pitching stats by emergency
appearances by position players.
5.4 September Call Ups
During the final three weeks of the season, Benchwarmer
weeks 23-25, taxi squad players and minor league players
will become eligible to fill holes in game lineups - whether
as players in the field or an emergency starting pitcher or
coming out of the bullpen.
Following the normal lineup process, if there are any
holes in a team's lineup, the taxi squad will be checked to
see if there are any eligible game performances to fill in.
Following that, if any spots are still open, the minor
league roster will be checked.
Teams have the opportunity to rank their taxi squad and
minor league roster in order to be considered for the
lineup. Ranking players is an optional exercise.
When checking either the taxi squad or minor league players
to be used for games, BWB will check the team's priority
list. Any players not given a specific order - left as
either "T" or "M" - will be considered for the game in
2014 Clarification (how this has been
done since implementation in 2006): "if any spots still
open" is a literal interpretation of this rule. BWB
runs a process with your starters and bench players to find
the best possible lineup. Then, if there are still
holes in your starting lineup, we check your taxi squad and
minor leagues to see if someone can fill an open position.
We DO NOT rearrange your lineup/bench from scratch.
- You are short at 1B and 3B. You have a guy on
your bench who can play both spots and the lineup
process finds that putting him at 1B is the best lineup
- No one else on the bench can fill 3B, we initially
put a Benchwarmer there
- Now we look through your taxi squad and minor league
roster for a player with stats who can play 3B
- If there's no guy that can fill 3B, but you have
someone in the minors who could play 1B, at this time we
DO NOT move your other bench player to 3B and let your
minor league guy go to 1B - you'll still have a
This is largely dictated by the original
programming on how the bench players are used to fill the
lineups - we'll explore to see if we can change it in 2022,
though that will take a major overhaul of how lineups are
Since the last three weeks are 18 games played within
your division, this should help reduce the number of
Benchwarmers and Pinesitters that appear in crucial games
(and we've had several pennant races come down to the last
game - and even beyond), giving you a chance to settle it
"on the field."
5.5 The “Cut” Lineup Designation
There has always been a not-so-secret loophole in the
roster process that you could actually put more than four
players on the taxi squad in a given week, provided that you
were actually cutting them in your transactions that week to
get back down to two. Remember, players cut don't actually
leave your roster until the following week.
Once the roster expansion process was added for Weeks
23-25, the taxi squad became part of an expanded bench, and
that loophole actually became a problem. To rectify that, a
new designation was made in the lineup-setting process. Use
the Slot designation to mark a player as "Cut" and you can
use someone else in the active roster spot he was going to
have to fill.
Note: This DOES NOT serve as the means to cut the player
- you still must use the transaction process to release him
(or trade). If the cut does not go through - for example,
had you listed the player as a "contingent release" but that
was not needed, the BWB Office will put the player back onto
your active roster and make the necessary adjustments -
attempting to make the change transparent to your lineup
(but that's not usually possible...since that's most likely
why you were using the cut designation).
Example: You submit a release of Scott Baker in Week 2
since he was sent down to the real-life minors and you can't
put him into the BWB minors because of his salary. He will
still occupy that second spot starter slot where you've got
him in the Week 2 lineups...and will be gone by Week 3.
However, you can designate him in the Week 2 lineup as "cut"
and put someone else in as the S2.