How Does Scoring Work In Fantasy Baseball?

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So you’re ready to start playing fantasy baseball. You’ve joined a league and drafted the perfect team, but how does scoring work in fantasy baseball? Just like in real-life baseball, a greater understanding of the rules and scoring can help you edge out important victories throughout the grueling season. Keep reading to find out how scoring works in each of the most popular fantasy baseball formats.

Rotisserie

Originating in 1950s New York City, rotisserie scoring, or “Roto” for short, is the oldest and most traditional format for scoring a fantasy baseball league. In rotisserie scoring, every team in the league competes directly with each other, scoring points in selected statistical categories over a season. 

Typically, leagues attempt to balance an equal number of hitter and pitcher statistical categories; sometimes, fielding statistics are also used. There are a huge number of statistical categories that can be used for scoring, such as hits, on-base percentage, times picked off, hits allowed, batting average against, strikeout to walk ratio, errors, and fielding percentage. The original rotisserie leagues scored eight categories, but most modern leagues use ten categories. Additionally, these first rotisserie leagues evaluated runs, RBIs, stolen bases, and batting average for hitters, as well as wins, saves, WHIP, and ERA for pitchers.

In rotisserie scoring, all teams compete against one another in each of the league’s statistical categories. The highest-ranking team in a category receives a number of points equal to the number of teams in the league, with the other teams getting a descending number of points, down to one point for the lowest-ranking team. The points are not cumulative and are recalculated daily. Each team’s points are totaled to determine overall standing; the team with the highest overall standing at the end of the season is the champion.

Head-to-Head

Head-to-head scoring pits individual teams against each other in matchups that change weekly. Like rotisserie, each team is scored based on their performance in select statistical categories. However, each team only competes against the opposing team in the head-to-head matchup. Whichever team out of the two has the higher ranking in a category is awarded a point; the team with the most points wins the matchup. Teams are ranked based on their performance over a matchup period which is typically a week. 

Each week the matchups change, and a new matchup period begins. Matchup wins accrue over the course of the regular season, with the teams possessing the best records making it to the playoffs. The postseason takes the form of a single-elimination tournament, with the winner declared the fantasy league champion.

Season Points

In season points scoring, each team in a fantasy league competes with one another over the course of a season based on scores in weighted categories. Like other formats, there are hitter, pitcher, and fielder statistics. However, each statistical category awards different numbers of points for different outcomes. For instance, in the hits category, a single may earn one point, a double two points, and a home run four points. Negative points are also possible; in the same category, a strikeout may earn one negative point. 

Points are totaled across all categories over the course of the season. At the end of the season, the team with the highest number of cumulative total points is declared the league champion. As a result of the weighted structure, a team may win the championship without winning the majority of statistical categories. 

Fantasy Baseball Hitting Statistics

Total Bases (TB): Total bases measures how many bases a player reaches from hits. For example, a single equals one total base, where a double equals two bases. A player with a single and a home run in a game would have five total bases.

Runs Batted In (RBI): RBIs are given to a player when their at bat results in a run being scored. Sacrifice bunts or sacrifice fly outs that drive in a run count, whereas runs scored on errors or double plays do not. Players can score multiple RBIs on a single at bat if they drive in multiple runs.

Runs Scored (R): A run scored is when a player crosses home plate and their team scores a run. If a player is on base and their teammate drives them in, the player on base will receive a run. A player who hits a home run will receive both an RBI and a run for their own score.

Stolen Bases (SB): Stolen bases are when a player who is on a base advances to the next base in which they are not automatically entitled to. This most often occurs when a pitch is being delivered to home plate. If a runner steals a base and then advances again due to a throwing error, they will only receive one stolen base.

Walks (W): A player who takes four balls during an at bat before three strikes will be credited with a walk. When this occurs, it will not count as an at-bat for the batter, and they will receive an automatic pass to first base.

Strikeouts (K): A strikeout is when a player receives three strikes during an at-bat. Foul balls count towards the first two strikes, but a player cannot strikeout on a foul ball, unless it is tipped and caught by the catcher. If a player swings and misses for the third strike, it is a strikeout swinging and denoted by a “K.” If the third strike is called in the zone without the batter swinging, it is a strikeout looking and denoted by a backwards “K.” 

Fantasy Baseball Pitching Statistics

Innings Pitched (IP): Innings pitched represent the total number of innings a pitcher lasts. This is not always a round number, as innings are split between three outs. For example, if a pitcher is removed from the game after recording two outs in the third inning, they will have pitched 5 and ⅔ innings, or 5.2 innings.

Wins (W): Pitchers earn a win when their team takes the lead while they are the active pitcher, and maintain that lead until the end of the game. There can only be one pitcher who records a win in any given game.

Losses (L): Pitchers earn a loss when their team loses the lead while they are the active pitcher, and fail to reacquire the lead before . There can only be one pitcher who records a win in any given game.

Saves (SV): Saves are granted to pitchers who close out a game that their team leads by three runs or less. Saves are almost always recorded by relief pitchers, as only pitchers who did not start the game can be granted a save. Additionally, pitchers who pitch the final three innings of a game that their team wins will be assessed with a save regardless of the score.

Earned Runs (ER): Earned runs are credited to pitchers when they allow a run to score that isn’t on account of an error. Runs that are allowed because of an error are known as “unearned runs” and do not count towards a pitcher’s ERA.

Hits Allowed (H): Simply put, hits allowed are charged to a pitcher whenever they surrender a hit to an opposing batter. Batters that reach base via a walk or error do not count towards a pitcher’s total hits allowed.

Strikeouts (K): Strikeouts are credited to a pitcher whenever they successfully strike out a batter. This can be a swinging strikeout, looking strikeout, or a caught foul tip. The best pitchers rack up over 200 strikeouts in a season.

Walks (W): Whenever a batter takes a walk, a pitcher a pitcher will subsequently receive a walk as well. However, walks are not good for pitchers. While a walk will not count towards a pitcher’s hit count, it will still count towards their statline.

FAQ

Do pitchers or hitters players score more points in fantasy baseball?

In a standard scoring league, pitchers and hitters generally score a similar amount of points over the course of a season. While pitchers score many more points per game than hitters, they only play around one to two games per week. Hitters, on the other hand, will typically play five to seven games a week. In reality, determining whether pitchers or hitters score more points comes down to the settings of your individual league. 

What are the different scoring formats in fantasy baseball?

The main scoring formats in fantasy baseball are rotisserie, head-to-head, and season points. Each of these formats has its own benefits to offer, and should be taken into serious consideration when drafting your team.

The most popular fantasy baseball format is rotisserie scoring, commonly known as “roto.” This format is so popular, in fact, that it is often known as “traditional rotisserie scoring.” However, there is nothing wrong with diverging from the norm. Each fantasy baseball format has its own benefits and drawbacks, so your choice in league scoring ultimately comes down to personal preference.