Fantasy Baseball Variations

The types of fantasy baseball games vary greatly because there are so many permutations possible in the basic styles. With the exception of single category leagues, all the other options can be, and are, played with the others in leagues all around the world. Every possible combination of the aspects described in this chapter are used. It’s not uncommon to see a league with a straight draft using players from both the AL and NL and having no keepers. The kinds of leagues that are the focus of this book are pretty much the opposite: single leagues with keepers and an auction draft. To each his own. So, with no further ado, following are the different types of fantasy baseball game variations.

The simplest forms of fantasy baseball are single category games, better known as pools, where people buy in for some denomination of cash, and usually the winner takes all. One that I’ve been part of (at Bobby Valentine’s restaurant in Stamford, Connecticut) is a home-run pool. The goal is to pick any number of players (generally 5 or 10) and get credit for each home run that your players hit throughout the season. It can also be played with wins, saves, stolen bases, hits, runs, or any other stat. This is more or less pure gambling and strictly a game of chance, so I will not spend much time on it.

Advantages of a pool include:

– Very simple to organize.

– One-shot draft; no team management.

– Following your team is not time consuming since the players selected are usually the biggest stars who get the most exposure.

– Easy to administer with a very large group of people.

– A single person can quickly compile the statistics and standings without using a stats service.

Disadvantages of a pool include:

– It’s not especially challenging.

– You have the same players for the whole season.

– The game becomes one-dimensional to you since you’re only looking for your players to do one thing.

– There’s very little interaction between teams throughout the season.