In fantasy baseball, this fan-run league will use an auction, draft, or other method to distribute players between the teams. Sometimes only Major League Baseball players are allowed to be selected, while in other cases minor leaguers can be picked, and sometimes even amateurs (college or high school players, or foreign ones, for instance).
There are various forms of scoring used for fantasy baseball. The main one is considered roto (short for rotisserie), which is what this article will discuss. Other options include those such as various forms of head-to-head (H2H). In roto, the players that are active on a team's roster accumulate statistics for the team as they play their games. The team's ranking amongst all teams in each category of stats that the league uses determines the amount of points that team receives in the category. For instance, in a 10-team league, the team with the most home runs might receive 10 points in that category. The team that finished with the least stolen bases might receive 1 point there. The total points for each team from all hitting and pitching categories are combined, an the team with the highest point total wins the league.
Now, what does this have to do with keepers? The fantasy baseball keeper league is sometimes considered the most interesting format, and possibly most challenging. In addition to the general rules, each team is allowed a particular amount of "keeper" players, which they can retain on their roster from one season to the next. In non-keeper leagues, all players would be returned to the pool for the draft or auction. When some players can be held onto the roster, additional strategy comes into play.
If you fall behind other teams in the standings, do you try to make up the missing points and still finish in one of the top few places? Or, on the other hand, do you attempt to trade off some of your overpriced star hitters or pitchers to teams in contention, in order to receive back from them undervalued players who have less production but also a lower salary? You may also try to receive minor leaguers in keeper leagues where this is allowed.
Who do you try to keep before going into the next season? Would you rather keep hitters or pitchers? How about the superstar player who is paid virtually identical to his production, or the minor star who is underpaid and looks like a bargain? Will you keep many players who are at the last year of their contract, and risk losing them all at once, or rather try to spread out the years in which contracts expire?
These are several issues to be considered in a fantasy baseball keeper league. However, there are additional strategies, guidelines, and other game theory ideas that go beyond the scope of this article.