Summer League Rule Book

Updated 02.26.2007

02.26.2007 - Added new rule passed in early 2006
01.06.2007 - Added the new rules passed during the 2006-07 Winter Meetings
09.29.2006 - Clarified free agent starting pitchers used after clinching, that they must be rotation-eligible
08.22.2006 - Clarified last reliever usage
06.25.2003 - Clarified playoff relief pitcher usage verbage
01.16.2005 - Fixed the 75% games rule applying to FA pickups, which had been passed but never on the books

2006-07 Winter Meetings
Early 2006 WM Balloting
January 2005 Winter Meeting Rules Ballot
January 2004 Winter Meetings Rules Ballot
January 2003 Winter Meetings Rules Ballot
January 2002 Winter Meetings Rules Ballot
Winter Meetings 2001 minutes
Winter Meetings 2000 minutes
Winter Meetings 1999 minutes

Original documents:
Most recent version before 02.21.2003 upgrade
General rules 12.2.2001
Playoff rules 12.2.2001

Rules procedures

All rules are passed by a two-thirds vote of current league members. Rules changes are generally only made at the annual Winter Meetings.

All Summer League rules are continuous unless amended or deleted.

Miscellaneous

Treat rainouts that are not official games as if they did not happen, with the same pitchers that started the rainout starting the following game and where injuries are the same as they were before the rained out game began.

Player Usage

The DH may be used.

Starting pitchers

Five man rotations with an "unrostered" sixth starter. The sixth starter only needs to have a starting grade to qualify as sixth starter.

Starting pitchers are limited to 150% of their starts and 150% of their innings pitched . This means a pitcher needs at least 21 "RL" starts to be eligible for a team's rotation. This 150% rule also applies to 6th starters. If a sixth starter runs out of Games or IP, a new sixth starter selected from the free agent pool can replace him on the roster.

The 150% of Innings Pitched is to be determined at the start of the season to an exact number, instead of late season guesswork by each manager.

The order of your rotation may not be changed for any reason other than injury. All starts must be done on 4 or more days of rest.

If an injured starting pitcher is traded, the team that acquires the injured pitcher must pick up a rotation-eligible free agent pitcher to make any starts that the injured pitcher would miss. 2007.01.06

Relief pitchers

Relievers are allowed as many games pitched as they had in real life, and 150% of innings pitched.

Relievers can pitch 2 innings a game, up to 3 if any amount past 2 is in extra innings. If you run out of you relievers, you must pitch your last reliever until the game is over. If your final reliever is injured or ejected, you must pitch your starting pitcher from two days prior.

If one team's final available reliever of a game gets injured or ejected, the opposing team can select which of the available starting pitchers can come in to replace the reliever for the remainder of the game (the previous rule had said only the starter from 2 days previous could come in to pitch). 2007.01.06

Continuing with the rest of the rule passed at the 2002 WM, if the starting pitcher now pitching in relief also gets injured or ejected, the DH must come in to pitch for the remainder of the game. 2007.01.06

If a reliever exceeds 2 IP in the first 9 innings of a game, and he is the pitcher on the hill entering extra frames, he must be removed. For example, if a reliever enters the game with 2 outs in the 7th, and is still pitching with 1 out in the 9th (having pitched 1.2 to this point) when a double play ends the inning, then he cannot pitch in the 10th. In this example, the reliever has thrown the potato 2.1 innings, and should it go to extra innings where our rules say relievers can pitch 3 innings, this reliever would have to be removed because he exceeded (albeit via a non rule break) 2 innings pitched in the first 9 innings.

Position Players

Players are limited to 150% of their plate appearances, steal attempts, and innings pitched from "real life". Also, players are limited to their games in center field to the same number of games they played in "RL".

A manager may not remove a ballplayer if there is not a valid substitute on the bench. Any scenarios that develop which dictate that a player must appear at a position he is not rated for should be resolved by the two competing managers in a gentlemans agreement.

Players with Stolen Base Allowance of N cannot attempt steals, including on the backend of double or triple steals. You can Hit and Run with anyone with 2 outs and a 3-2 count (because its not a SB attempt).

Draft Rules

Must have a team name before drafting any players.

Team names and locations must be an earth-based language, with no special characters (~!@#$%^&*()_+ are examples), and no languages unsupported by the ASCII character set. (Chinese and other Eastern languages are unsupported in ASCII, most Western characters are supported) Added 01.16.2005

Draft order is always determined by random draw, using a set of cards, with a number of cards equal to the number of managers in the draft. Odd number rounds follow the determined order, even number rounds are reversed (for a "serpentine" effect). The 27th round is re-ordered randomly.

Division makeup is also determined immediately after draw for order, although the specific division setup will vary from season to season, depending on the number of participants.

GMs must draft players with at least enough games to cover 162 games at all positions and DH. During the season a GM cannot trade players if it prevents all positions and DH from being covered in terms of games remaining by that position for the remainder of the season. Following the fa draft, all positions and DH must be covered for the remainder of the season as well.

Free Agent Draft

Whichever GM has the best record and is not dropping any players from his roster during the free agent process has the first opportunity to run the free agent draft.

A ballplayer may not be dropped during the free agent process if he has gone over 25% of his actual MLB totals in regards to any one of the following categories: games played, games in centerfield, relief innings pitched, starting innings pitched, plate appearances and stolen base attempts.

The free agent period is after every team has played 5 games against every other team in the league. For the 1998 to 2006 seasons, for example, it was after 40 games (9 team league). In 2007, it was after 45 games in a 10 team league. You can add/drop as many players as you choose, and can re-draft players you have dropped.

The categories which are normally covered under the "150% rule" (PA, IP, Steal Attempts, etc.), are limited to 100% for players acquired as free agents. Games and center field games are limited to 75% of their real-life totals. Free agent pickups who were previously on an SL team before the Drop-And-Add free agent process began retain the usage rules from the beginning of the season -- they retain 150% of MLB plate appearances, stolen base attempts, innings; 100% of games and CF games.

Each team wishing to participate in the draft must send his drops before the draft to the commissioner or whomever is running the draft. After all drops are submitted, they are announced to the league. The draft then starts in inverse order of record. Tie breakers for FA draft seeding:

  • Head-to-head
  • Run differential
  • Coin Flip

    Only franchises that released players may make picks. Teams may pass on their turn and delay their selection to the next round. Free agent ballplayers can be selected in the free agent draft by the ballclub that released them.

    If he is otherwise eligible to be dropped under the rules, a non-rostered 6th starter may be dropped in the FA draft and replaced with a player on the active roster. A rostered player may then be drafted to replace the rostered player moved into the 6th starter spot. The FA draft is the only time during the season when this move may be made. Added 01.16.2005 WM2005

    Trade Rules

    Trades can be made up to and included teams having played 90 games. For a trade to be made, all teams involved must be within 10 games played of each other. Trades may only involve players and or draft picks from the current season. A general manager may not trade non-Summer League commodities such as money, beer, cars and the like.

    Injuries

    There are no injury pickups allowed in the Summer League. The 26 man expanded rosters are designed to eliminate the need for injury pickups. The only exceptions are if 2 or more pitchers in your starting rotation are injured, then you need to acquire an additional pitcher from the free agent pool.

    There have been exceptions in extreme circumstances, such as both your catchers getting injured. These are handled on a case-by-case basis with approval from other league members. One rule of thumb that has been followed is any picked up free agent must be a J1, or a J2 for a catcher. But this is not a real rule, just what has generally occured in the past.

    If a starting pitcher leaves a game in innings 1 or 2 due to injury or ejection, the reliever that replaces the injured starter may, at the manager's discretion, be used up to 3 innings in relief.

    Scheduling

    The final 12 games of the season have traditionally been a 6 game series against each division opponent, this was under the schedule with 21 games in division, and 20 games out of the division. In 2004, with 24 games in division, and 19 games out of the division, we were saving a 4 game series vs. each divisional opponent. This new schedule, along with some unique playoff possibilities forced a lightly debated scenario which was discussed at the following Winter Meetings, which resulted in the following rule:

    The final intradivisional series can be played in any order, but this order must be decided before any games are played, and cannot be altered once the first game has been played. Added 01.15.2005 WM2005


    Playoff Rules

    After clinching a playoff spot, a ballclub may continuously start (within the current Summer League guidelines of 4 days of rest for starting pitchers) up to two free agent pitchers. These free agents must be rotation-eligible.

    The current makeup of the SL is a 3 division alignment, with the 3 division winners and one wild card advancing to the playoffs. Seeding is determined by descending order of best record, with the wild card as the #4 seed automatically. The semi-finals consists of #1 hosting #4 and #2 hosting #3 in a 7 game series. (hosting meaning playing at home in games 1, 2, 5, 7, on the road for 3, 4, 6) The finals are the winners of the semis, with the higher seeded team as the host of a 7 game series. Any tie-breakers for actual playoff spots is done via one game playoffs. Ties for seeding follows this list of tie-breakers:

  • Head-to-head
  • Run differential
  • Coin Flip

    Note: To clarify tie-breakers, if Team A and Team B each win their respective divisions and have the same record, the above tie-breaker list is used to determine seeding. If Team C and Team D tie for their division title and the wild card, they will play a one-game playoff to determine the division winner and wild card.

    One game playoffs will occur on the day after game 162, or day 163. Playoff series begin on day 164. Starting pitchers need 3 days of rest from their last start to start a playoff game. For example, if a pitcher started game 160, he would be eligible to start the first game of the playoffs after resting days 161, 162, 163. There are no days off during playoff series. The World Series begins after one day off following the longest-running semi-finals series. For example, one semi-final runs 4 games, with the final game being on day 167. The other series runs 6 games, with the final game being on day 169. This means 170 is a day off, and day 171 is the first day of the World Series.

    One Game Playoff Rules
    Seven Game Playoff Rules


    One Game Playoff

    General

    If a division or the wild card ends in a two-way tie, the teams will meet in a one game playoff (three-way ties or four way ties result in MLB's multiple-tie playoff scenario). The home team in the playoff will be determined in this tie break order:

  • Head-to-head
  • Run differential
  • Coin Flip

    For starting pitcher and injury purposes, the game will be played on the "day" following the last regular season game. Example: Last day of regular season is Day 162, one game playoff occurs on Day 163.

    All observed regular season rules that are not mentioned still apply in the one game playoff. In the event of an injury, the prescribed "games missed" will become days missed and the injured player will be eligible to play in future a playoff series according the fulfillment of days missed, with the next series beginning on the day following the one game playoff. (One game playoff on Day 163, Semi-Finals begin Day 164)

    Game Restrictions

    Only starting pitchers who have received 4 days of rest can start. Starting pitchers not given 4 days rest or more also will be excluded from pitching in relief. 6th starters are ineligible to pitch unless an injury has moved them onto the regular roster and they have received 4 days of rest.

    Because in reality they play so infrequently, J-4 players who have used all of their regular season games will only be allowed one pinch-hit appearance. If following the one pinch-hit appearance, the J-4's team should bat around, he can continue to bat until the end of the half inning.

    All relievers with G/IP left can use them, all other relievers can pitch up to 2/3 of an inning 2007.01.06

    In the event of a 1-game playoff, only relief pitchers with remaining games AND innings are available to pitch. WM2006 2007.02.26

    All J-0, J-1, J-2, and J-3s can play in the game. All players must have available PA. J-4 pinch-hitting rule remains unchanged. 2007.01.06

    Steal Restrictions

    Stealing and hit-and-run attempts may only done with baserunners who have not used their maximum amount of regular season steal attempts.


  • Seven Game Playoffs

    General

    The Semi-Finals and the World Series will be played in a best of seven game format. The Semi-Finals will be played on Day 164, following the season-ending on Day 162 (any one game playoffs occur on Day 163), that is, there is an additional day of rest for injured players and starting pitchers. The Semi-Finals, in the current three division format, will match the division winner with the most regular season wins with the wild card and the other division winners together. The team with the higher seed will host each series in the Semi-Finals and the World Series. For injury and starting pitcher purposes, the winners of the Semi-Finals will meet in the World Series on the second day following the completion of the last Semi-Final series. For example, if one series goes four games, with the last game on Day 167, and the other series goes six games, with the last game on Day 169, the World Series will begin on Day 171.

    The winner of the World Series shall be honored with the Spit Cup.

    Game Restrictions

    Starting pitchers can pitch in a 4-man rotation (on 3 days rest) once the seven game playoffs begin. The 5th starter can be used in relief and must abide by the restrictions of his J rating in terms of how many appearances he is allowed. The 6th starter is ineligible for the series unless two injuries to starting pitchers have moved them onto the regular roster and into the rotation. In the event of a single injury in the starting 4, the 5th starter must be moved into the playoff rotation. In the event the 5th starter is forced to make a start, he can not make any relief appearances for the remainder of the series.

    Starting pitchers need 3 days of rest from their last start to start a playoff game. For example, if a pitcher started game 160, he would be eligible to start the first game of the playoffs after resting days 161, 162, 163. There are no days off during playoff series.

    Position Player game restrictions are as follows:

    J-0's and J-1's are eligible to play all games
    J-2's must sit 1 of the first 4 games
    J-3's can play 4 total games and cannot appear in 3 consecutive games
    J-4's can play 2 total games and cannot appear in more than 1 of the first 4 games

    Playoffs Relief Pitcher restrictions

    A reliever can pitch no more than 2 innings (3 if the game goes extra innings) during a single appearance. A reliever is also limited to 8% of his MLB IP during any playoff series.

    Relief pitcher game restrictions:

    Thru 4 games:
    J-0's can appear in 3 games
    J-1's can appear in 2 games
    J-2's can appear in 2 games
    J-3's can appear in 1 game
    J-4's can appear in 1 game

    Thru 5 games:
    J-0's can appear in 4 games
    J-1's can appear in 3 games
    J-2's can appear in 2 games
    J-3's can appear in 2 game
    J-4's can appear in 1 game

    Thru 6 games:
    J-0's can appear in 4 games
    J-1's can appear in 3 games
    J-2's can appear in 3 games
    J-3's can appear in 2 game
    J-4's can appear in 1 game

    Thru 7 games:
    J-0's can appear in 5 games
    J-1's can appear in 4 games
    J-2's can appear in 3 games
    J-3's can appear in 3 game
    J-4's can appear in 2 game

    Steal Restrictions

    The following are the steal restrictions for baserunners according to their Steal Allowance

    A - No restrictions
    B - 2 successful attempts per game
    C - 2 attempts per game
    D - 1 successful attempt per game
    E - 1 attempt per game
    F - 1 attempt per game, max 3 attempts per series
    G - 2 attempts per series
    R - 1 attempt per series
    N - No attempts

    Usage Restrictions

    PA and IP are limited to 8% of a player's MLB numbers.

    CF Usage Restrictions

    Centerfielders are limited to playing centerfield during the Summer League playoffs by the chart below:
    MLB CF Games Played     SL Playoff CF Games Allowed
    0-10 games                       0 games
    11-19 games                      1 game
    20-39 games                      2 games
    40-59 games                      3 games
    60-79 games                      4 games
    80-99 games                      5 games
    100-125 games                    6 games
    125-162 games                    7 games
    
    In addition, if all playoff valid rostered CFs are unable to play CF for a playoff game, the player who has the most CF games played during MLB must play CF.

    Post-season Awards

    After the season is over, each manager is asked to vote for the league's Most Valuable Player, Cy Young, and Manager of the Year award winner. The MVP voting ballots contain 10 spots, with scoring being 10 pts for first, and 1 point for tenth, with even distribution in between. Cy Young ballots contain 5 spots, 5 points for first, 1 point for fifth. Manager of the Year ballots contain 3 spots, scoring 3, 2, and 1. Managers may not vote for players that finished the season on their own team, or for themselves. Pitchers are not eligible for the MVP. MVP, CY, and MOY voting should be based on regular season performance.

    Gold Gloves and Silver Sluggers are selected by a special panel, on nothing more than reputation/gut feeling.

    The President's Cup is given the team or teams with the most wins. If they tie, they both get the Cup.

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