Major League Baseball is returning in July for a 60-game regular season, and that means ESPN Fantasy Baseball is returning too!
In light of the changes to the MLB format for this season due to the coronavirus public health crisis, there are changes to the ESPN Fantasy Baseball game as well, optimized to accommodate the abbreviated season.
Below is an outline of what the changes mean for you and your league.
What will the Fantasy Baseball schedule look like?
In head-to-head leagues, the schedule will consist of nine matchup periods: The first seven will be regular-season matchups followed by two rounds of playoffs. Four teams will make the playoffs in each league, though League Managers will have the ability to override these schedule settings in private, League Manager leagues.
What if my league already has custom schedule and matchup settings?
All head-to-head leagues, regardless of whether they are drafted or undrafted will have the same settings schedules applied to them. If your League Manager league wants to customize its schedule settings, your League Manager can do so on the Fantasy Baseball website.
Some customizations for head-to-head leagues this season might be to have no playoffs and crown a single champion based on the results of 10 matchup periods, or to have nine regular-season matchups followed by a single championship round.
When will the season begin?
The start of the Fantasy Baseball season will coincide with the start of the MLB season -- July 23. The first matchup period will run through Sunday, August 2.
What other game options are available?
If playing in a head-to-head league is less appetizing this year, you can choose to play one of our season-long game formats: Rotisserie or Season Points. In both game styles, there are no matchup periods, and your team's cumulative results for the entire season are tallied up in a single leaderboard across the entire league.
Will there be changes to default maximums and minimums to account for the shorter season?
Yes. In season-long leagues with "games started" maximums, those will be reduced proportionally to account for the length of the season. As a result, the default games-started maximum for pitchers will go from 200 to 74 games.
In season-long leagues with innings pitched minimums, those will be reduced proportionally as well, going from 1,000 down to 370.
These maximums and minimums can be adjusted by League Managers in private, League Manager leagues.
How will the shorter season impact positional eligibility?
If a player plays five games in 2020 at a position he does not yet have eligibility at, he will gain eligibility at that position. If he plays 10 games at that position, he will maintain eligibility at that position in 2021
Is ESPN accounting for the increased likelihood of players ending up on the Injured List due to COVID-19?
Yes. For the 2020 Fantasy Baseball season, we increased the default number of IL slots in leagues from one to three. In League Manager leagues, the League Manager can adjust that number to be higher or lower.
Will the trade deadline change?
Yes. The trade deadline will be moved back in the season proportionally. The new default trade deadline will be Friday, Sept. 11, at noon ET.
This deadline can be adjusted by League Managers in private, League Manager leagues.
When will these changes appear in my league?
Once the MLB schedule is released, we will make the necessary updates shortly thereafter.
If you have additional questions please visit support.espn.com.