ABA RULES AND REGULATIONS
Teams maintain a 26-man active roster with a six-man farm club. Note: If you end up a player shy because of a 2-for-1 trade, you may pick up a free agent to reach the 32-player mark. If you are making such an addition after the beginning of the MLB season, that player is eligible for your carryover roster ONLY if you use him in the starting lineup (vs. righties AND lefties), rotation, or active bullpen. Beginning with Season Four, such additions will count against your three-man rebuilding drop/add limit. (See "Drop/Adds" section.) If you end up with an extra player because of such a trade, you must let someone go to stay at 32.
Eligibility: To be eligible for the ABA, a hitter must have had 30 PAs (was ABs before ABA2017) in the previous MLB season; to start or platoon, he must have had 200 ABs. There is an exception for catchers, who need only 175 real-life ABs to qualify as a starter. Starting pitchers must have had 10 GS; relievers, 15 IPs.
If a carryover player fails to get sufficient MLB ABs or IPs, you may continue to carry him on your farm club, but he cannot see action in the ABA for that corresponding season. If you elect to let him go, he re-enters the league as a free agent after his return to MLB action.
In-Season Add/Drops: After the completion of the draft and up until the beginning of the MLB season, ABA teams may perform add/drops whenever they wish.
Once the MLB season starts, some restrictions kick in: Any player you pick up as a add/drop must be placed in your starting lineup (vs. RHP AND LHP), rotation, or prominent bullpen role (first pickup is your closer, second goes setup, etc.), and must have enough IPs or ABs to qualify. Position players must be starter-eligible (200 AB, 175 for catchers). Any pitcher who is starter eligible must go into your rotation. Any other pitcher must be either slotted as your closer, if available, or primary setup man.
This is to prevent contenders from stockpiling for future seasons on the cheap. These rebuilding-oriented add/drops are limited. Each team is entitled to only three total, and only two may be starting pitchers. Dragon Clause: When trades create vacancies and you execute a rebuilding-oriented pickup to fill the spot, SUCH ACQUISTIONS *DO* COUNT AGAINST YOUR THREE-PERSON TOTAL, per previous sentence. Dragon Clause 2 (2017/05/16): Acquired players may not be traded.
The annual deadline for restricted add/drops is May 15 at 11:59pm ET.
ABA teams must use 5-man rotations. All starts must be made on 4+ days rest. In the event of an injury or trade, or if a team would like to restructure the order of the rotation, a team may use a rotation-eligible starter who is otherwise not in the rotation to bridge any gaps. If a rotation-eligible starter is not available for such a move, something can be worked out with the commissioner under his discretion. The commish strives to do everything in fairness to the league at large.
Four-man rotations (pitching on 3 days rest) are allowed (but not required) after Day 130 and in the playoffs, and the Czar will NOT edit pitchers' fatigue statuses to make that possible. The most often pitchers may pitch during the playoffs is on 3 days rest.
Each team needs at least 6 starter eligible (10+ GS) players on their 32 man roster. Only 5 need to be on the active roster at any time.
Upon the request of a GM who wishes to play an outfielder in an outfield spot where he is ungraded, the league czar will edit fielding grades as follows:
Will give left-fielder equal grade in right and vice-versa
Will give center-fielder equal grade in either left or right
Will *not* give left- or right-fielder a grade in center
If you lose a player for five days or more due to injury, you may call a player up from your farm club. When the injured player comes off the DL, you must send someone back down to the farm to keep the active roster at 26. Hardships caused by a rash of injuries at one position can be dealt with by add/drops, if the deadline has not yet passed. THERE WILL BE NO INJURY PICKUPS.
EMERGENCIES: In extreme and rare cases, such as two catchers ending up on the DL at the same time once the trading-drop/add deadline is past, you may do an emergency drop/add to keep your active roster adequately stocked. The Czar will decide whether a true emergency exists. (For example, having two starting pitchers on the DL will not constitute an emergency; a reliever may make a spot start.) PLAYERS OBTAINED AS EMERGENCY DROP/ADDS automatically become free-agents after the injury time is served.
INJURIES do carry over to the playoffs. For purposes of determining the timing, the regular season always ends on a Sunday (in ABA time), with the playoffs beginning the following Tuesday. The second round of the playoffs begins the next Tuesday. The finals begin a week from that next Saturday. Real time and ABA time will not coincide! Thus, a player injured for three days on the final regular season Sunday would miss the first two games of the opening round playoff series.
ABA teams drop down to 20-man carry-over rosters at the conclusion of each ABA regular season. After all teams cut to 20, the trade window opens and teams are back to a 32-player limit.
The old ABA league calendar had a 13-round draft begins the day after the conclusion of the MLB season, usually around October 1. The current calendar starts the draft in mid-December when the Diamond Mind disk is released. Each round has a time limit, after which the GM will pass and can catch up at any time.
After 13 rounds, a drop/add section of drafting may continue if owners are interested. Otherwise, owners may proceed with drop/adds on a first-come, first-served basis. In the event of ties (i.e., two teams drop/add for the same player on the same day), the team with the higher drafting position will get the player(s). If, because of trades or other reasons, teams fill their 32-man roster before the others, they continue drafting on a drop/add basis. Conversely, teams that are a player(s) shy may continue with additional rounds when others are finished. In the later rounds, when teams are building their farm clubs, the czar may declare double-speed drafting. That is, teams pick two guys at a time to speed things along.
EXPANSION: The procedures outlined above may be changed to accommodate expansion.
If two teams are tied for the division championship: head to head, followed by division record, and finally run differential.
If two teams are tied for the final wild-card playoff berth, a one-game playoff will be used to break the tie. The host will be determined by head to head record, followed by run differential. If three or more teams are tied, a similar procedure is used. Head-to-head in this case will mean combined records against the other teams involved in the tie. A one-game playoff is part of the regular season, as a 163rd (or 165th) game.
For draft order, we use final record, and run diffential as a tiebreaker. For playoff teams, we use playoff results, followed by seed. So if the #2 seed beats the #1 seed in the World Series, the #2 seed gets the last pick in the draft.
If run differential is also a tie, we will use a coin flip. The commissioner retains the right to do whatever he thinks is in the best interests of baseball.
Teams may trade at any time except for the period between Day 120 and the unofficial beginning of the next season, which is generally when the MLB regular season ends around October 1.
The Czar must receive official notice from both parties for the trade to take effect. The rosters section above explains how teams will deal with roster irregularities caused by 2-for-1 trades and the like.
Draft picks for the next year's draft may be traded.
The ABA cut deadline is typically a few days after the World Series. Trades are NOT allowed between teams that have made their cuts and teams that have not. So, a team can't cut down to 20, then trade for guys on another team that currently has 32 players.
The Commish must receive official notice from both parties for the trade to take effect. The rosters section above explains how teams will deal with roster irregularities caused by 2-for-1 trades and the like.
Draft picks for the next draft may be traded.
DIVISIONS AND SCHEDULE
The ABA has two eight-team divisions. Each team plays everyone in their division 13 times and everyone in the opposite division 12 times for a 162-game schedule. The basic schedule will be made by the automatic schedule-maker that comes with the League Manager software. The czar may make slight changes in the schedule to accommodate head-to-head series and games between owners. No live managing is allowed unless both teams are being managed by their GMs or designates.
PLAYOFFS: The two first-place teams are automatically the Nos. 1 and 2 seeds for the playoffs. Of the remaining teams, the four with the best records receive at-large playoff berths. Those four will meet in the first round in best-of-five series, with the top two seeds receiving byes. No. 3 will play No. 6, and No. 4 will play No. 5. The higher seed will have the home field advantage. The two winners will join the top two seeds in the semifinals in best-of-seven series. No. 1 will play No. 4 and No. 2 will play No. 3. The two surviving teams will play a best-of-seven series for the ABA crown.
For injuries and rotation purposes: there are no days off during playoff series. There is one day off after the season ends prior to the first round. There is one day off between series, following the end of the longest series of that round.
For example, if two opening round series are played, and one goes 4 games and the other series goes 5 games. The team that advances from the first series would have two days off prior to their next series, while the latter winner would have only one day off. Pitchers can start on 3 days rest, so a pitcher who starts game 3 in the opening round series in this example would be able to come back in Game 1 of the next round.
AWARDS Three awards will be bestowed by Jason Stark-Ravingmad at the conclusion of each season.
Executive of the Year: This is awarded to the GM who used the most players. It's about quantity, not quality.
Die Young Award: This goes to the GM whose team had the highest ERA.
Ruben Sierra Award: This goes to the biggest underachiever in the league; that is, the player with the biggest gap between his ABA performance and his performance in the previous MLB season. The Czar will accept nominations for this coveted prize.
Willie Adams Award: This goes to the biggest over-achiever in the league; that is, the player who most dramatically exceeds his MLB production. The Czar will accept nominations for this coveted prize.
Teams must be located in cities that do not have an MLB team.