Summer League Rule Book

Original documents:
General rules 12.2.2001
Playoff rules 12.2.2001
Winter Meetings 2001 minutes
Winter Meetings 1999 minutes

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.

Player Usage

The DH may be used.

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

Position players and relievers are allowed as many games played as they had in real life. Players are limited to 150% of their plate appearances, steal attempts, and innings pitched from "real life". Additionally, pitchers are limited to 150% of their starts. 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. Also, players are limited to their games in center field to the same number of games they played in "RL".

Relievers can pitch 2 innings a game, up to 3 if any amount past 2 is in extra innings. The order of your rotation may not be changed for any reason other than injury.

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.

One general manager per division will act as a Division Auditor. This duty involves verifying that ballplayers within that division stay within their allowed Summer League plate appearances, innings pitched, stolen base attempts and games played in centerfield.

Draft Rules

Must have a team name before drafting any players.

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.

Free Agent Draft

Whichever GM has the best record and is not dropping any players from his roster during the free agent process runs 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 '98, '99, and '00 seasons, for example, it was after 40 games (9 team league). You can add/drop as many players as you choose.

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. Each team wishing to participate in the draft must send his drops before the draft to the commissioner. 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.

    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.


    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.

    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.

    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


    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 randomly (via dice roll, coin flip, rock-paper-scissors, etc.).

    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.

    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


    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.

    Player 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

    Relief pitcher restrictions are as follows:
    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 RL IP during any playoff series.

    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
    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
    0-6 games                       0 games
    7-18 games                      1 game
    19-31 games                     2 games
    32-43 games                     3 games
    44-56 games                     4 games
    57-68 games                     5 games
    69-81 games                     6 games
    82-162 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.

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

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