For those of you running keeper leagues with minor league players, how are you doing it? I guess this is a two-part question:
- What's your process? How often can you promote/demote players? Do you have rules around how often/long a player can be called up?
- How do you technically DO it? Which of the major sites support minor league rosters? If you're doing it manually/through a separate service, how do you reconcile that with players who may or may not be in your system's FA pool?
We have our yearly Auction and then a Minor League Draft. It is only one ML per Fantasy Team. The player must qualify as a Rookie, less than 130 at bats or 50 innings pitched. We only allow players to be picked up during the season if the are in the MLB. When the ML is promoted, he can be activated at a $10 salary.
My league has a "Prospect Draft" every year beginning on December 1st. The draft is three rounds, and only includes players that have FEWER than 130AB's or FEWER than 50 innings pitched. So lets say that in 2009 I drafted Carlos Santana in Rd. 1, Michael Ynoa in Rd. 2, and Martin Perez in Rd. 3...(which I did). The 2010 season arrives, and during the year, I "activate" (meaning I add him to my active roster), Carlos Santana. At the point in which I add him to my fantasy team, he is no longer considered a "prospect". I can either make him one of my "major league" keepers at years' end, or not keep him at all, in which case he would be eligible to be drafted in the following years' draft.
At the end of the fantasy year, everyone in my league must declare who their major league keepers are, as well as if they would like to keep or release any of their minor leaguers. In my case, I had activated (and kept) Carlos Santana on my major league squad, and I decided to dump Michael Ynoa. So in this year's draft, I have a pick in Rd.1 and Rd.2 of the prospect draft, but not Rd.3, (because I kept Martin Perez.)
The beauty of our prospect system is that it allows each team to have a "farm team" in which they can just let talent marinate until they are ready to 'call them up'. I probably didn't cover every aspect of it, but let me know if you have any questions.
I use Yahoo Groups. I created a file of "all taken players". So before anyone drafts, they check that sheet to make sure a guy isn't already taken. I record each prospect draft into its on file each year, and that serves as a reference for "which teams have which guys" and so forth. Its all pretty straightforward, you just have to document everything.
I build two ghost teams to house all the drafted/owned minor leaguers, that way for call ups they can be processed as a trade except for a small window of time where our trading shuts down and I do them as commish moves. We have an adds/pickup limit and these do not affect that (since you spend a draft pick on them). We just went from 2 to 3 this past season and it worked well.
Heres our rules on it, I use a set date rule as opposed to the Innings/AB tabulations which is a bit unique.
ELIGIBILITY To be eligible to be drafted onto a minor league roster, a player must NOT have played in any MLB game before 9/1 of the previous year. Ineligible picks will be removed at owner’s expense after the draft. Keeping eligibility is different and reviewed further down.
ROSTER GUIDELINES 3 players can be drafted, no more. You can draft less than 3 players. Players can only be placed on your minor league rosters by drafting them.
HOUSING Drafted minor league players will be housed (if applicable) on a ghost 15th and 16th roster.
PROMOTION TO MAJORS After the draft and before September 1st of each year an owner can declare they are promoting a minor leaguer to the active roster and either announce who you are cutting or cut the major league player beforehand. This will be done in the Minor League Roster thread. These transactions will be done by the commissioner within 24 hours. Much like Trade Review, this is not guaranteed to happen in time for game starting time.
TRADING Minor league players can only be traded AFTER they have been promoted. Minor league draft picks cannot be traded.
USAGE No team is required to use their minor league roster/draft.
ADDS You are not charged an add to promote a player from your minor league roster. You will not be charged a waiver claim. These will be processed as trades with the ghost roster or commish moves.
PLAYERS NOT IN DATABASE Commissioner will establish a designated placeholder for your active roster if you promote a player before host site ESPN adds them to the database. NOTICE Minor league rosters will be posted at all times on the Message Board, Review this posting before entering a claim for a player that is not yours. Commissioner will always try to remove these players from waivers as soon as they appear but if you make a mistake the claim will be revoked and waiver position will NOT be returned. The Minor League Rosters should always be reviewed before making such a move.
REPLENISHING ROSTER If someone is promoted from your minor league roster you do not select another minor leaguer to replace them.
COST If any minor league player is promoted to your roster during the current year, they will be initially priced at performance level grade purely for their initial 3 year contract until such contract ends. If you keep your player in the minors for at least 1 full year they will be priced at Type E level pricing (21-25) when they are called up by you on a 3 year contract.
KEEPING Minor leaguers you wish to retain do not necessarily have to be promoted to the 10 Protected Roster in order to be considered for keeper purposes if they are still eligible (did not play any MLB games before 9/1/09 for 2010 for example). They can be kept in the minor league rosters. If the player is no longer eligible you have to place him in your 10 protected list in order to potentially keep him. These still eligible players can be kept in the minor league rosters.
GUIDELINES At the end of regular Draft Night, each team will have 3 picks each to make their minor league pick. If you chose not to make your pick on draft night or you draft someone ineligible you can PASS or correct your error and make your selections on the site in a first come first served format in from draft night until the start of the second game of the season in the minor rosters message board.
"I'm the man with the ball. I'm the man who can throw it faster than F***. So that's why I'm better than anyone in the world." - Kenny Powers
In my league, we have a very simple approach - we use fairly large rosters, and folks can pick up a minor leaguer like any other player. We don't have any limits on how many or how few you can have, or how many "minor league" moves you can make in a season (other than the regular move limits - a move is a move regardless of the player's current status). Some of our managers have a bunch of prospects, some have none - it's totally up to the particular manager's preference. Acquiring minor leaguers is no different from acquiring any other player.
I know a system like this won't be ideal for every league but it works really well for ours. There's basically no overhead - no extra work. Managers who love prospects can go as heavy as they like and managers who prefer production now don't have to play the prospect game. This approach may not suit your league but I think in ours, folks like the simplicity and the flexibility.
I should mention - we keep ALL of our players year to year. Obviously this system wouldn't work if you're keeping your top 5 or whatever.
So, the general consensus seems to be that minor leaguers need to be handled basically offline. That's too bad- don't any of the big sites support minor league position spots integrated into their leagues?