Pete Rose League Rules

The Pete Rose Fantasy Baseball League uses a head-to-head format using Major League Baseball players from teams competing in the National League. An alliance of the elite-most 0.003% of the nation's population, the 124-old National League has seen the grace and greatness of many tremendous athletes, but none played the game better, faster, harder and smarter than Peter Edward Rose.

Lost in the midst of baseball's unjust insistence on denying reinstatement -- coupled with  Pete's own misdeeds that started the whole mess -- is what Rose actually did on the field. And how he did it. His numbers are chronicled here: Look at these Numbers!  

The memory of his presence on the field, along with the outrage of his absence from the Hall of Fame, will be celebrated and castigated by the Pete Rose Fantasy Baseball League.

The entry fee to this prestigious club is $100 per year, with additional charges of $5 for free agent acquisitions and, per a '00 owners rule-change vote, $0 for personnel moves between minor and major league rosters. There is no charge for moving players from your starting lineup to your bench and vice versa.

The league will be comprised of 10 teams split into two divisions -- the Charlie and the Hustle Divisions. As per a '98 owners rule-change vote, division makeup will be redrawn randomly prior to each season's draft.


Teams will play a total of 30 games -- five each against the other four teams from its division, and two each against the five teams in the other division. 

Per a 2024 owners rule vote, all regular season international games played prior to the traditional opening day will count as part of our Week 1.


Each team will submit a lineup comprised of a catcher, first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, shortstop, 3 outfielders and one DH (any position), and three starting pitchers and two relief pitchers. Lineups are due at noon Monday except for All-Star week, when they're due at noon Thursday. Failure to submit a lineup will result in your team using the lineup from the previous week.
Per a 2014 owners rule change, Friday changes are allowed for hitters only. Those changes are due by noon Friday, and the player you are inserting into your lineup must have been on your roster at the time of the week's original lineup deadline (noon Monday in almost all cases). That means you can't add a free agent hitter on Thursday and stick him in your weekend lineup on Friday.


Players are eligible at a given position if they played it 10 or more times the previous year or two or more times in the current year. For pitchers, it's five starts or relief appearances the previous year or two in the current year.


If you start an offensive player somewhere he isn't eligible, that player will receive all 0's for the week. Per a 2018 owners rule change, if you start a pitcher at an ineligible position, or if you start a pitcher who was placed in the minor leagues or on the Injured List at any time (including day of) prior to the noon Monday lineup deadline (and also who doesn't come back up and/or off the DL AND pitch sometime that week), you will have that pitcher replaced in your lineup using the following criteria:

If it's a starter who is ineligible, he will be replaced by the SP-eligible pitcher with the most MLB starts in the current season. If tied, he will be replaced by the pitcher with the most MLB wins in the current season. If still tied, we'll go to strikeouts. If still tied, we'll go with the guy who most recently appeared in that team's lineup. If still tied, we will use the pitcher with the highest Rose salary (free agents are 0.01 in this case). If still tied, the team forfeits ER and WHIP.
If the ineligible pitcher is in the lineup as a reliever, the criteria will be:
Most MLB relief appearances that season
Most MLB saves that season
Most MLB strikeouts that season
Most recent appearance in offending team's lineup.
Highest Rose salary.
Forfeit ER and WHIP.
A second offense will be resolved the same way but also will incur a $5 penalty.

A third offense will be resolved the same way in addition to a $10 penalty.

And so on.

Head-to-head games will last from Monday through Sunday. The game winner will be the team winning the majority of these 11 statistical categories: Runs, Hits, Total Bases, Home Runs, RBI, SB, Wins, Saves, Earned Runs, Strikeouts, WHIP (walks+hits divided by innings pitched).
Per a 2016 rule change implemented by the commissioner with owner input, game results do not become final until the fifth day after the final day of the previous week (Friday in most cases). This allows for the application of official MLB stat corrections. If the date on Stat Corrections page on Rotowire is less than five days after our week ended (Monday through Thursday in mose cases), the correction will be applied to the official stats for the previous week. 

Tied categories are counted as such, so if Team A wins five categories, Team B wins three and they tie three, Team A gets a 5-3 win. In the case of a game tie (Team A wins five, Team B wins five and they tie one), the following tiebreaker formula will be used: team ERA minus team batting average, with the lower number winning.


Following the 30-game regular season, the two teams with the best record in each division will advance to the playoffs. Playoff games last two weeks instead of one, but lineup changes are permitted for the second week. As per a '97 owners rule-change vote, the winner in each division will play the runner-up from its same division. The winners advance to play in the World Series and the losers drop into a Consolation Series for third place. As per a '97 owners rule-change vote, the six teams that do not make the playoffs will settle into an Also-Ran tournament, with the Charlie fifth-place team playing the Charlie fourth and the same in the Hustle. These are one-week games. The winners move on to play the third place teams from their respective divisions in another one-week game. And then those winners meet up for the Also-Ran series title, which will be decided in a two-week game.


In the event two teams vying for the playoffs have the same record, their head-to-head record will be used to break the tie.

If there are 3 or more teams vying for a playoff spot, head-to-head comparisons will be used first. If one team swept the others, it will get the spot. If no team swept all the others, then division records will be used. If one team has a better division record than the others, it will get the playoff spot. If two or more teams share the best division record, the other teams will be eliminated from tiebreaker consideration and the remaining, tied teams will revert back to step 1 (head-to-head). If still tied, they will move on to categories won, then individual categories won in order of runs, hits, total bases, home runs, RBI, stolen bases, wins, saves, earned runs, strikeouts and WHIP. If still tied, we'll flip a coin.

In the case of a multi-team tiebreaker to determine 2 playoff spots, the steps will be followed to first find the division winner. Once that is determined, the other teams will revert back to step 1 to find the wildcard. In other words, if Team A, Team B, Team C and Team D all finish atop a division at 16-14, we'll use head-to-head first. If no team swept all the others, we'll go to division record. Let's say Team A and Team B are 13-7 while Team C and Team D are 10-10. Team C and D would be eliminated from consideration for the division champ position and Team A and B would revert back to step 1, which is head to head. The team with the edge is the division winner, and the other team is the wildcard.

If three teams progress past head-to-head and have identical division records, the next step is categories won. If Team A won 200, Team B won 185 and Team C won 180, Team A would win the division, but Team B would not necessarily win the wild card. Once team A is declared the division winner, Teams B and C would revert back to step 1 -- head-to-head play -- to determine the wildcard team. 

In playoff games (including the first two rounds of Also-Ran contests), any category that ends in a tie will count as a win for the division champion and a loss for the wildcard (or higher seed vs. lower seed). This will be a way to simulate home field advantage. This rule is in effect for playoff contests only, not World Series contests, third-place contests and the fnal Also-Ran series.


As per a '97 owner rule-change vote, the league champion will receive 47% of the prize pot*. Second place will earn 23%, followed by 15% for third, 10% for fourth and 5% for the Also-Ran series winner.
* Prize pot is comprised of the $100 from nine teams (commissioner plays free, so to speak) plus all the money collected from free agent acquisitions. An additional fee will be collected from each franchise to pay for the Rotowire subscription, which in 2019 increased to $99.99 ($10 per team).

The draft will last until all 10 teams have a complete roster of 24 players, at which time a minor league draft will be conducted (see below). Each team will have $30 to spend on it's players. You may draft as many or as few players as you want at a given position. In other words, if you really wanted to you could draft 24 catchers and ride the wave to an 0-30 season.

The draft will be auction format, with bid increments of no less than $0.05. We will use reverse order of finish from the previous year as the order for nominating players to be bid upon. You must bid at least $0.05 when nominating a player.

Per a 2005 Owners Rule Change, American League players may not be drafted or added as free agents (in 2011 a vote allowed for the drafting of AL and foreign players, but that new rule was rescinded prior to the 2012 draft).. 

If a player who is hurt and out for the year gets drafted, the owner who drafted him shall be met with hearty, loud laughter. In other words, once "going, going, gone," is called, there's no going, going, back.
Per a 2023 owners rule change, each team will have one DL spot where they can move a player on the MLB IL, creating an opening to add another player to the 24-man roster. Once a player comes off the MLB IL, the owner must activate him and make a corresponding move to get his roster to the 24-man limit. Failure to do so will result in the owner having to cut the player added as the corresponding move to the DL placement. For timing purposes, because MLB moves are not time-stamped, if the player comes off the DL on a lineup deadline day (start of the week, usually Mondays; not midweek, usually Fridays), the owner will not be required to pull him off the DL make a corresponding move until the following lineup deadline day.  

Per a 2013 owners rule change, there will be two rounds of a minor league draft prior to the start of the auction, where teams can select players on National League clubs who have no MLB experience. Owners may elect to skip or pass if they wish to save their four minor league spots for unrestricted players, which be drafted after the auction. The draft order will be reverse order of the previous year's standings and playoff finishes (worst record goes first, World Series champ last) and will proceed in snake fashion (last pick in first round goes first in second round). 

At the completion of the draft, we will have a minor league draft that lasts anywhere from two to four rounds, depending on the pre-auction minor league draft results. The draft order, per a 2009 owners rule change, will be the reverse order of the previous year�s standings (which also is the same as the Sixth Man Draft). Players selected do not have to be minor leaguers, it's called that because they are placed on their fantasy team's minor league. There is no bidding on these players. Per a 2010 owners rule change, we'll use a serpentine draft order, starting with reverse order of finish in the standings in the first round, actual order of finish in the second round, reverse order for the third round, then actual order for the fourth round. All players selected in the minor league draft will be assigned a salary of $0.50. You may move these players on to your main roster at any time at no charge.
* See more on minor leaguers in the paragraphs concerning Protection.


Free agents can be purchased on a first-come, first-serve basis. The cost is $5, and the salary assigned to all free agents, per a 1999 owners vote, will be $3.00. All free agent acquisitions must be accompanied by the name of the player you intend to drop, otherwise the request will be considered not valid. You cannot drop a player who is currently in your starting lineup unless that player has been placed on the DL (and is not eligible to come off before the current Rose "week" is finished). You also cannot rescind any free agent requests. A claim layed is a claim played.

One exception to the first-come, first-serve order of free agency is, per a '98 owners rule-change vote, when players are traded from the American League to the National League. If no Pete Rose owner has the NL player that was lost in the trade, owners may put in a claim for the player coming over from the AL. (* See the Lost Agents section for what happens when a Pete Rose owner does have the NL player lost in the trade). Trades announced as all-but-done are included in this.

Per a 2023 owners rule change vote, another exception will be if a free agent is added the day of or day before the official transaction date of his trade to the AL, the pickup will be voided and the player dropped will be returned to the owner's roster. This will prevent owners from circumventing the waiver wire by adding a lower-level player rumored to be in trade talks just so they can be rewarded by getting the AL players traded to the NL because they had just picked up the player involved in the trade to the AL a few hours earlier.

* Any player added as a free agent after the first lineup deadline of the Pete Rose playoffs is not eligible for protection.

Per a 2007 owners rule change vote, 48 hours after the first claim is made (which will be announced via email), the Pete Rose team that is highest in the waiver order will win the free agent and then that team will move to the bottom of the free agent order.

Per a 2010 owners rule change vote, the owner of the All Star MVP award will win a free free agent.


In the case of a National League player being traded to the American League, the following compensations will be made:
The player, if he is in a Pete Rose starting lineup, will continue to accrue his weekly stats through Sunday. After that, he will no longer be eligible to play in the Pete Rose Fantasy Baseball League, at which point you may do one of three things:
1.) Replace him with the MLB player he was traded for (within three days), with the new player assuming the lost player's salary.**
2.) Drop him and pick up a free agent at no cost. The new player would assume the old one's salary. There is no time limit on this other than it must be done before the first lineup deadline of the Pete Rose playoffs.  
3.) Keep him. (While this may seem pointless, it could pay off if the player is inexpensive and also is a free agent-to-be and you want to take a chance on him signing with an NL team in the offseason, at which point he would he would be eligible for protection.)
** Assumes no one already owns the player he was traded for.

# Players released by NL teams and picked up by AL teams are not considered lost agents and therefore are not eligible for above compensation.

As per a 1998 Owners Rule Change, in the case of multi-player AL-NL trades, the owner who lost the player with the highest salary will have first choice of the group of players coming into the NL. For this purpose, free agents will be considered to have a salary of $0, making any drafted player the one with the higher salary and, therefore, dibs on the player coming into the NL.


For every free agent added, there must be a player dropped (except to even up your roster after unbalanced trades). The dropped players are placed on waivers. Once a player is dropped, an email will be sent out announcing he is on waivers. Players then have 48 hours to put a claim in for that player. The team with the worst record among claiming teams will get the player at his current salary. The team that dropped the player may not put in a waiver claim to re-acquire him. If no one puts in a claim for a waived player within 48 hours, he will go back into the free agent pool and then will be treated as a standard free agent, which means his current salary will be wiped out in favor of the standard $5.00 free agent salary should someone pick him up at a later date.


The trading period for our league begins with the conclusion of our World Series and runs through the Monday after the Major League Baseball trading deadline. In other words, off-season trading is allowed.

There is no charge for trades.

All trades and free agent acquisitions will be announced immediately via email, however their official announcing doesn't take place until the following Monday, thereby giving all owners a chance to either a.) put in a claim on a waived player, or b.) call for a trade veto vote, which will be explained a few paragraphs from now. So if a team picks up Player Z and drops Player F on Friday, an email will be sent out saying so immediately. However, waiver claims on Player Z will not be accepted for another 48 hours because the waiver period runs for a full week from the Monday after the move to 11:59 p.m. Sunday.

Trades involving more than two teams or under-the-table money are not allowed. Trades involving one team picking up a portion of a player's salary are not allowed. Trades involving players to be named later may be made, pending a '99 owners rule-change vote. Per a 2010 commissioner clarification, trading or swapping of sixth man picks is allowed, but no team will be allowed more than one sixth man pick. If you trade for a higher one, you get that one and forfeit your lower one.

Any trade may be nullified if six of the eight owners not involved in the trade deem it to be unfair and/or not in the best interest of the league. Like free agent additions, trades will not be effective until the Monday after they're made. 

If a trade is vetoed, players will still accumulate stats for their new teams through Sunday, but they will return to their old teams the following week. 

Unbalanced trades -- i.e. 3 players for 1 -- are allowed, but both teams must get their roster to 24 by the following lineup deadline. So if you trade 3 for 1, you have to pick up another 2


Heading into each season, teams will be allowed to protect up to five players at a cost of $0.25 more than their previous year's salary. You may, if you chose, protect fewer than five players. Protected players' new salaries will be totaled and subtracted from the $30 salary cap each team has going into the draft. 

In addition to your list of five, you may also keep any player on your minor league roster provided he:
1.)  is a player you, or another team, originally acquired in the $0.50 minor league draft and,
2.)  is a player who has never been called up to your, or another team's, major league roster.
Players who meet both requirements are listed with an * next to their name on the roster sheet. This is not to be confused with a player who have an * next to their team name, which indicates he is in the American League. 

There is no limit to the number of minor league players you may protect. If all four of yours meet both requirements, you could enter the year with 9 carryover players.

Unlike regular protected players, minor league protections will not have their salaries bumped by $0.25.

These players can be protected year after year under the same conditions (no salary increase and not counting against the list of 5), as long as they continue to meet both requirements. As soon as you call a player up to your major league roster, he loses his free protection status whether you  play him or not.


Once all 10 teams have announced their protection list, there will be a sixth man draft, as per a '98 owners rule-change vote. Your sixth protected player may be taken off anyone's roster. The sixth man draft will start with the team that had the worst record the previous year and will continue in reverse order of finish fashion. Per a 2010 commissioner clarification, sixth man picks can be swapped or given away as part of trades, but no team can have more than 1 sixth man pick. If you trade for the first spot and retain your original spot, you only get to pick in the first spot while forfeiting the latter spot.