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Benchwarmer Baseball Rules

17.0 Master Player List and Positions

Player List

Prior to the start of the season, all players on Major League 40-man rosters as of mid-December (approximately) will be placed on the BWB master player list.  All players from the master list the previous season will also remain on the list except for those players who did not appear in any games in the Major Leagues or the U.S. minor leagues (unless the League Office specifically knows of injuries that kept the player out all season). The 40-man rosters will be checked in December shortly after the Rule V Draft and the Winter GM meetings.


During the off-season any players who retire or are traded/sold to teams in Japan or Mexico will be immediately de-listed.


The master list will include the salaries for the upcoming season and the published primary and secondary positions for the player for that season.

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17.1 Regular Season Changes

17.1.1 Regular Season Adding Players

After the initial load of the master list in December, players will be added to the master list only for these reasons:

  • They are promoted to a major league roster AND earn major league statistics.
  • They are a number one draft pick in the amateur draft. This is only for one of the top 30 picks and does not include any of the supplemental picks.  (If supplemental picks are added in the middle of the first round, they will be included...the intent here is to cover all the primary 30 team slots in the first round).

Putting this another way, no players will be added to the list between January and April despite signings of players from Japan, Korea, Cuba, etc. and despite any expectations that a minor leaguer not currently on the BWB list will make a major league roster. These players must play in a regular season game before they make our list.

17.1.2 Regular Season Removing Players

A player is de-listed immediately if during the season he:

  • Dies
  • Retires
  • Plays in Japan, Mexican, or other foreign leagues.
  • Plays in the Northern League or other independent, non-affiliated minor leagues.

If any of these players are on the free agent list in every league - they are not on any roster at all, they are immediately removed, without notice or announcement. If one of these players is on a roster, he will remain on that roster until the team owner releases him. The team has the option to retain the player throughout the season particularly since the BWB playoffs use statistical performances throughout the entire second half of the regular season. A player in this situation can neither be traded nor signed to a long-term contract.  In this case, the player will remain as "active" throughout BWB and will appear in free agent lists, but he cannot be signed by any team.  Once an inactive player is released off of all BWB rosters, he will be removed from the system completely.


Exception for deceased players: If a player dies during the season, he will also be removed from any BWB rosters (provided that it doesn't make the roster illegal, and in that case the player will be removed at the first opportunity later in the season). It's kind of arbitrary, but it just seems a little macabre to keep a player in that situation. If the team is due a salary rebate, it will be credited.


17.1.3 Note on First Round Draft Picks

A player added to the master list as a top draft pick does not have to play that season to maintain a spot on the BWB player list. However, he must sign a contract by the time of the Rule V Draft in December or he will be removed immediately from all rosters and free agent lists. There is no salary rebate for players lost in this way teams that carry them over do so at that risk.


In a recent change in MLB, players who were picked in the draft who are still college players must sign a contract by the time classes begin (I believe there is one deadline for everyone).  Any player whose drafting becomes void at that time will be removed from the game.  Players who have graduated and are not subject to that rule must still be signed before the Rule V draft.  This should still be widely known at the time that carry over decisions are made.

17.2 Positions

Players are eligible to play in BWB at positions depending on what they did the previous season.  There are two categories of positions - Primary and Secondary. NOTE: Primary and secondary positions are only important during start-up drafts.  Once the season starts, a player can be placed in the lineup at any position he's listed for - primary OR secondary.


Players are listed based on their stats in the previous year.  Players who appear in 20 games or more at a given position have that position listed as a primary position.  Players who are at a position for fewer than 20 games, but appear at that position in more than 5.5% of his total games will have that position listed as a secondary position.  If a player does not have a primary position, then the secondary position used the most will become his primary position.  If a player doesn't have enough games to qualify at any position, for either primary or secondary uses, then he is eligible only as a DH.  Minor leaguers with no major league experience the previous year will be listed at known positions based on some documented source.

17.2.1 Additional Positions During the Season

During the season, a player can have a position added to his qualifications using the following criteria: Starts at the position in 5 consecutive appearances OR 10 games total.  While the Commissioner's Office will attempt to keep on top of this, please notify it when you think your player is eligible, giving the proper dates to document the claim. As of 2004, BWB Management has a fairly reliable way to check the 5-consecutive game rule. To simplify the process, only appearances in the field are used to determine the 5-game streak. If a player is used as a pinch hitter, pinch runner, or as a DH, those games will not break up a streak.

17.2.2 Starting Pitchers or Relief Pitchers?

Pitchers are listed as starters or relievers only as a guide.  You may place a pitcher in either position, but only starts will count for starters, and only relief appearances will count for relievers. This position designation in the player lists was originally not changed during the season.  But in 2009 change of operations, we began to add an extra designation for pitchers marked SP who start having relief appearances or vice versa.


The original designation of a pitcher as "SP" will typically come from half or more of the previous season's appearances as starts (or something very close to half).  All others will be designated "RP."  In some cases, if a player has only a small number of games in the major leagues that marks him as RP but was primarily a starting pitcher in the minors, his position will be set as SP.

17.3 Two-way players

Added for 2018

Benchwarmer Baseball currently has no intention of counting hitting stats of pitchers or pitching stats of position players who pitch in an emergency situation.  However, it may occur that players will actively fill a role both as a pitcher and as a hitter, with the arrival of Shohei Ohtani in 2018 and a number of minor league players who have multiple roles.


BWB may define major league players as 2-way players by giving them both pitcher and hitter characteristics and positions.


Minor league players will typically be defined as either a pitcher or a hitter - with determination as they enter the major leagues or near major league status about which slot they will fill - or whether they will be a 2-way player.


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Next: 18.0 Miscellaneous Rules and Special Situations >

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