The Tipping Point
Each month we’ll offer a few tips in this space that may come in handy for the beginner as well as the experienced team owner.
There is an endless variety of leagues possible at Imagine Sports. If you can’t find one that suits your particular preferences or interests, here are some tips for creating one yourself that does.
Classic or SSG?
This is the most fundamental choice to be made in creating your league.
The Classic player pool consists of players from throughout baseball history – including the Negro Leagues and Nippon Professional Baseball – who have been rated on the basis of their entire careers (or, if they had lengthy careers, their peak stretch of consecutive seasons). There are over 5,000 players total in the Classic player pool.
The Single-Season (SSG) player pool consists of players from the Major League seasons 1922-2019 (with 1920-21 and 2020 coming soon), with a different version of each player for each season they played. There are more than 75,000 player-seasons in the SSG pool.
If you select the SSG player pool, you have four options to choose from as far as how multiple seasons of the same player are treated in your league: you can allow one version of a player only, which will be “locked in” once the season starts; you can allow one version of a player only, but that version may be changed throughout the season; you can allow multiple versions of a player in your league, but only one version on a team at a time; or you can allow multiple versions of a player without limitation. However, it is not possible under any circumstances for there to be more than one of the SAME version/season of a player in use at any one time.
Among the popular permutations used in SSG leagues is requiring every team in the league to draft a different version of a player from a list of players who will be on every team in the league, and limiting a team to the roster of a single real-life team, but allowing the owner using the team to draft any version of a player who was on their team’s roster.
You can set the salary cap for your league from a low of $50 million to a “high” of no cap at all. Some customers enjoy the challenge of low cap leagues, others prefer leagues that pit the best against the best.
One thing to keep in mind is that, if you set a low salary cap, your players will outperform their historical stats/ratings, because the level of competition they will face is weaker than they faced in real life. But if you set a high salary cap, everyone’s performance will be depressed, because pitchers will be facing “murderer’s row” line ups every time out, and hitters will be facing Cy Young calibre pitchers every at bat.
One popular custom league permutation is a superstar format, where each team selects one star player, but the rest of their roster is limited, which gives star players an opportunity to post really impressive seasons.
In Classic standard leagues, you get $2 million at the end of each of the first six weeks of play, with $4 million at the end of week seven; in SSG standard leagues, you get $4 million weekly. In a custom league, you can alter these amounts in any way you like (and in 3 games per day leagues, you also will receive daily interest on your cash balances, and can take out loans against future income, and you can vary the percentage interest credited/charged on each).
A popular custom league option is the so-called “rags to riches” format, where a team starts off with a low salary cap, but receives huge weekly income payments. In leagues with daily interest, there may also be a very high daily interest percentage, which creates a conundrum whether to spend or hoard your income as you receive it.
Other League Characteristics
The are many other features you can modify, which will have a big impact on you league. Two in particular are your choice of the Era of Play in which your league will be set, and whether you will have Injuries on or off.
Other popular format worth noting are franchise and “captains leagues”.
In franchise leagues, teams are limited to players who played for their chosen franchise. This might be limited further to a range of years or particular seasons as well.
In captains leagues, each owner selects one or more players as their captain(s), and the rest of their team is limited to players who were teammates of their captain(s).
Baseball Reference has an Oracle feature that allows you to see all major league teammates of a player. One day we hope to add an oracle feature to our player search capabilities to facilitate drafting captains league teams.