Tuesday, March 16, 2010

HBL Dynasty Team

It's that time of year again. My hopes and dreams are alive and well. All the various hamstrings, rotator cuffs and elbows are secure and in place.

The Hampshire Baseball League is a dynasty version of fantasy baseball. I created the league back in 2000, where it was still run with spreadsheets and email/phone call transactions. It wasn't until 2001 that we took our show online to CBS.

I'll be honest, I have no idea how I put the concept for this league together, but somehow we ended up with a fantasy game that mimics the MLB pretty well.

For starters, our twelve team league rolls with a 25 man roster. We start nine hitters, one from each position plus a DH, and seven pitchers. We're required by commissioner decree to play at least three starting pitchers and two relief pitchers. The other two pitchers are dealers choice.

Our rosters round out with a 9 man bench. In addition to this, we conduct a yearly Minor League Player draft during the All-Star break. This is to fill our 10 minor league spots. You can draft whomever you'd like in this draft so long as they've not exhausted rookie eligibility requirement as established by MLB.

As I said in the beginning, this is a dynasty league. A keeper league but with no real limit on the number of players you can keep. It breaks down like this.

We use a salary cap of $54.25. That's real money (we've since added a buy-in fee of $50 to spice things up as we've gotten older and more established financially).

You may use that $54.25 as you wish across your 25 players. After the season, each player you decided to keep will cost you an additional $0.50. A $1.00 player will become $1.50 in Year 2. Every three years, a player's salary will double instead of moving up $0.50. Here's an example, the best from our league, Albert Pujols.

2001: 0.25
2002: 0.75
2003: 1.25
2004: 2.50
2005: 3.00
2006: 3.50
2007: 7.00
2008: 7.50
2009: 8.00
2010: 16.00

We actually thought no one would ever survive 10 years on the same contract, but after owning AP for 9 years, the original owner who plucked him off the waiver pile in 2001 for a quarter just traded him to a team that found a home for his $16.00. Incredible.

As you can see, keeping even 10 players will increase your overall salary a minimum of $5, and if any of those players is doubling you may find yourself strapped for cash in a heartbeat. Especially when doling out $16.00 to AP.

This is why the Minor League Draft is critical. Much like MLB, growing your own talent is crucial to building a competitive team in this league. Each year, the auction we have in March is filled with players who were dumped because their salaries became unmanagable for one reason or another. As you can imagine in this dynasty league, the pickings are slim in the March auction and this leads to over-inflated prices. Sure you can find some deals, but someone like CC Sabathia is now available every March because someone will inevitably overpay for pitching.

This is why I say our league mirrors the MLB setup quite a bit. Players drafted in the Minor League Draft are given a salary (once promoted) based on the round they were selected. $1.00 for first rounders, $0.75 for second, $0.50 for third, and $0.25 for fourth. With this structure in place, the contract increase and doubling system basically works as our arbitration process. If a player is good enough to keep, in his first 7 years in the league he may make: $1.00, $1.50, $2.00, $4.00, 4.50, $5.00, $10 before finally becoming a Free Agent.

I wanted to share this unique setup because I feel like there are a lot of 32 man roster, $260, cookie cutter leagues out there now and I'm proud of the very unique league my friends have helped me build over the years. As a kicker, I'm proud to say I've won three titles in this league, although my last came in 2005 and I've since taken over the former last place team in the league while allowing another set of friends to take over my old team. Without further ado, I present to you my roster for the upcoming season.

C: AJ Pierzynski
1B: Lance Berkman
2B: Dan Uggla
SS: Troy Tulowitzki
3B: Evan Longoria
OF: Jay Bruce
OF: Carl Crawford
OF: Raul Ibanez
DH: Derek Jeter

SP: Jake Peavy
SP: Justin Verlander
SP: Mark Buehrle
SP: Jon O. Sanchez
SP: Ian Kennedy
RP: Carlos Marmol
RP: Heath Bell

2B: Rickie Weeks
OF: Lastings Milledge
SP: Wade LeBlanc
SP: Pedro Martinez
SP: Billy Buckner
SP: Dave Bush
SP: James McDonald
RP: Scott Downs
RP: Jason Frasor

Our in-season Free Agency opens up on March 29th, a week before the season kicks off and some of these guys will already be dead weight. Normally we wouldn't have auctioned so early, but with the due date of the new baby scheduled for March 26th, we didn't have much choice other than to tuck it into the last week of February. I look forward to regaling you with tales of our championship season, and displaying some cards of my players from week to week.

For the record, my off-season moves entailed moving a bunch of guys (Zobrist, Cueto, Chris Davis, De La Rosa, Ryan Howard) for Evan Longoria and Carlos Marmol. My big free agent signings were Jeter and Peavy for $8 each, and I traded Colby Rasmus who will eventually be up for $0.25 - I'll probably regret that, but I needed help now - for Carl Crawford who is $7.50 and has two years left before he doubles again (making him a FA). I'm currently sitting on Brett Anderson, Carlos Santana, and Jeff Niemann in my minors. I'm hoping all three will contribute this year, thus all the fliers at the back-end of my rotation and at catcher with AJ.


  1. Wow...this league sounds really cool. Color me impressed.

  2. Yeah, it’s a really great set of rules you came up with, sounds really fun. But if you want to have it mirror the MLB you need a Yankee type team that has double the budget :) It would be nice if the MLB set a salary limit and a set player salary like you did. Ah, the dream to make all teams competitive and balanced just like this league. Fun thought, great post, Good Luck with your team, it looks solid.

  3. Thanks for reading, I enjoyed sharing.

    You can exceed the cap in-season after May 1st via trading. So if you want to trade a $1 guy for an $8 guy and you don't have the cap room, the other team can continue to pay part of his salary.

    The kicker here is that the team receiving the player going over the cap cannot keep that player the next season, nor can they trade said player in the offseason. It's a true rental scenario.