Over on Facebook, Jim asks for guidance on how A.L.-only leagues should handle the Astros in 2013.
Do you provide any advice as to what to do in AL only rotisserie league rules regarding the addition of the Houston Astros? We are an AL only league, 5 x 5 traditional categories with 9 pitchers and 14 hitters (one utility player as the 14 vs. DH only). Do we add one more utility player and one more pitcher? How about min requirements for AB's and IP's. We are trying to maintain league integrity regarding past bidding on players.
In my A.L.-only, we considered some of the options Jim mentions above...and decided to leave things the way they are. We will keep the same 12-team league with the same 14 hitter, nine-pitcher split. But if I had had my way, I would have shifted our league to a 13 hitter, 10-pitcher alignment.
When the grand old game of Rotisserie League Baseball was rolled out in the early 1980s, the 14 hitter, nine pitcher roster composition made a good deal of sense. Most Major League rosters consisted of 15 hitters and 10 pitchers. Assuming a 14-team American League, this meant that out of 210 hitters you were buying 168 hitters - or 80% of the available hitting pool. Of the 140 pitchers in the American League, 108 were purchased in a 12-team, A.L.-only league - or 77% of the available pitching population.
The real game of baseball has changed while the Rotisserie version has not. Nearly every Major League Baseball team carries 13 hitters and 12 pitchers, but your standard Roto squad still insists on carrying 14 hitters and nine pitchers)
(In part, this is because more and more owners play in mixed leagues/shallower formats and the depth of mixed leagues versus the Major Leagues isn't relevant. But this is a subject for another day.)
In a standard American League in 2012, 168 of the available 182 hitters will be owned versus 108 of the available 168 pitchers. In other words, 92% of the available hitting pool will be owned versus 64% of the available pitching pool.
If your league has keep the 14-hitter/nine pitcher split, it hasn't continued along the way the game's founders intended.
A 13-hitter/10-pitcher alignment isn't perfect...but does address this somewhat. After the Astros are added, the percentage of owned hitters/pitchers goes to 80%/67%. This isn't quite what it used to be but it's closer.
To answer Jim's question, adding a pitcher and a hitter to a standard 12-team league would keep the percentage of hitters and pitchers closer in line to what it is now (a 92%/67% split). However, I'd recommend leaving this alone. When the National League last expanded, there was some talk of going to a 14-team N.L.-only format instead of the 13-team format that is more commonly used now. However, there's something about more teams or more active roster spots that makes the game too thin, even for a deep league enthusiast like me. You're better off not tweaking this aspect of your game and leaving the rules alone.