Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
    1. League Type and Description
    2. A Short History
    3. Powers of the Commissioner
    4. Owner Responsibilities
    5. Game Settings
  2. Roster Rules
    1. Roster Limits
    2. Roster Limit Penalties
    3. Roster Expansion
    4. Playoff Rosters
    5. Playoff Injury Replacement Rule
  3. Eligibility to Sign Contracts
    1. Adding Players to our Player Pool
      1. Rule 4 – First-Year Player Draft
      2. Rule 6 – International Amateur Free Agency (IAFA) System
      3. Posted International Professional Players
      4. Free Agents with No Whalehead Experience
    2. Removing/Retiring Players from the Player Pool
    3. Players who are Retired by the Game Engine
  4. First-Year Player Drafts
    1. Draft Pool
    2. Order of Selection (Draft Order)
    3. Supplemental Picks
      1. Prospect Promotion Incentive Picks (PPI)
      2. Competitive Balance Picks (CBP)
      3. Free Agent Compensation Picks
      4. Incentive Point Picks
  5. Annual Selection of Players (Rule 5 Draft)
    1. Major League Phase
    2. Minor League Phase
  6. International Amateur Talent System
    1. IAFA Player Pool
  7. Whalehead Economics
    1. Team Budgets
    2. Revenue Sharing
    3. Competitive Balance Tax (CBT, Luxury Tax)
    4. Market Scores
    5. Fan Loyalty
    6. Revenue Estimates for CBP and IAFA Bonus Pools
  8. Major League Waivers
    1. Waivers
    2. DFA (Designated For Assignment)
  9. Rating Updates
    1. End-of-Season Update
    2. OOTP Game Release Update
    3. In-Game Development
    4. Stamina Adjustments
    5. Injury Proneness Adjustments
    6. Understanding WLB Ratings Updates
  10. Incentive Point System (IP$)
  11. Winter Leagues
    1. Arizona Fall League (AFL)
    2. Caribbean Winter League (CWL)
  12. Winter Meetings
  13. Franchise Relocation
  14. Realignment
  15. Trading
    1. Trading with AI Teams
    2. Trading Recently Drafted Players
    3. Trade Deadline
    4. Trading Draft Picks
  16. Minor League Schedules
  17. Expansion
  18. Playoff Format
  19. Team Market Values
  20. Special Roster Rules
    1. Roster Expansion
    2. Playoff Rosters
    3. Playoff Injury Replacement Rules
  21. Team Owners in WLB
    1. Owner Personalities
    2. Owner Goals
    3. Owner Bonus System
  22. Miscellaneous Rules
    1. Contract Restrictions
    2. 2022 MLB CBA Rule Additions
    3. Changing GM Jobs

Rule 1 – Introduction

The Whalehead League was created over thirty years ago as a test of real-life baseball knowledge. With that goal in mind, we incorporate as much realism as possible.

Moving to OOTP was a huge step in that regard. Things that used to be handled outside the game are now self-contained within OOTP’s game engine.

OOTP isn’t perfect for our purposes, however, so we tweak some things to better align the game with our goals.

1.1 – League Type and Description

The Whalehead League is a standard, “shadow” MLB dynasty league. It has a standard MLB setup including six minor league levels (AAA/AA/A+/A/R/DSL). The league also has two Winter Leagues, Caribbean Winter League and Arizona Fall League.

The league closely shadows MLB player development, with some differences due to OOTP’s development engine and the league’s configuration.

Roster protection is in a dynasty format.

1.2 – A Short History

The league was formed in 1990 and has completed 30+ seasons. (There was a three-year hiatus between 2009-2011.) The league has used Pursue the Pennant, Strat-O-Matic, Dynasty League Baseball, and, starting in 2018, OOTP Baseball as its simulation of choice.

There are still three original members and four other members with 20+ years of playing time. Another handful of owners are nearing 10 years of experience. For good measure, we added some new blood when we switched when we began using OOTP.

The league is comprised of hardcore, competitive, but friendly, baseball fans.

1.3 – Powers of the Commissioner

The Commissioner can act in the best interests of the league at any time, with any means at his disposal.

PENALTIES. In case the Commissioner shall determine that a League or a Club has violated any of the Rules, as to which penalty provisions are not otherwise set forth in the Whalehead League Rules, the Commissioner may take action consistent with the Commissioner’s powers under the Whalehead League Rules.

1.4 – Owner Responsibilities

There are seven base responsibilities involved with participation in the Whalehead League:

  • Exporting
  • Roster Management
  • Lineup and Rotation Management
  • Disabled List Management
  • DFA Management
  • Personnel Management
  • Participation in Discord and Whaleheads.com

The Commissioner will contact GMs neglecting any of these responsibilities, but Incentive Point (IP$) penalties will be lost by GMs who neglect Exporting, Roster Management, and DFA Management responsibilities. Continued neglect could result in an additional IP$ penalty. Repeated violations can result in the forfeiture of your league membership.

Details of these seven responsibilities are found below:

Exporting

Every GM should strive to export at least once every week (seven days) of the regular season sim and off-season, regardless of whether or not they have moves to make. To encourage this behavior, the league has implemented an Incentive Point System (IP$). GMs who regularly export will be rewarded with IP$ that can be converted to rewards that benefit their team.

An online export tracker is available to assist members. The Commissioner will provide notification, in Discord in the #wlb_schedule channel, of the league’s upcoming schedule. When a new league file is ready for download notification will be sent in the #lg_file_schedule channel.

Exports may be submitted at any time during a sim cycle. To avoid last-second hang-ups that may prevent you from exporting, all members are advised to send a “safety export” immediately upon importing a new league file. A more thorough export may be submitted later in the cycle. (Getting into the habit of sending a “safety export” is good practice.)

Members agree to contact the Commissioner if they will be unable to export each week. WLB members should recognize that timely exporting is the most basic and essential requirement of a smoothly running league. In turn, the Commissioner recognizes that life responsibilities/emergencies can and do occasionally conflict with the exporting process.

Unexcused and excused missed exports will be handled thusly:

Unexcused: If you fail to export for two consecutive weeks without explanation, you should expect a message from the Commissioner checking on your status.

Excused: To gain excused status (and still earn Incentive Points) you must contact the Commissioner at least a week sim in advance (unless it is a true emergency). Briefly explain why you will be unavailable for one or more weeks. Assuming the reason is valid (and most reasons will be accepted as valid), you will be excused from your exporting responsibilities. Members who will be absent for one or two weeks should also set the in-game AI for their teams’ affairs.

Excused absences are meant to be temporary in nature. Members who need to miss an extended period should contact the Commissioner directly.

Roster Management

Each sim, every GM will ensure the rosters of all teams of all levels meet player limits listed below:

As the WLB is meant to mimic real-life baseball conditions, teams are expected to have service-time appropriate rosters. Failure to meet these requirements will result in auto-assignment by the Commissioner (which may not be to your liking). Illegal players on rosters will result in a loss of IP$ as outlined in that section of the league rules.

Lineup Management

GMs are expected to have all applicable lineups, rotations, and depth charts fully set up for each team within their organization while that team’s league is in season. Minimum requirements include:

  • Appropriate batting orders completely filled out
  • Depth charts that are reasonably set up to utilize all hitters on the roster
  • At least 4 pitchers slotted as SP
  • At least 5 pitchers slotted as RP

As leaving injured players on a roster increases the risk of injury to other players on the roster via overuse, GMs are expected to adjust for injuries (use the Disabled Lists as appropriate) and take other roster movements as needed.

If GMs choose to manage their line-ups, it’s important they keep up on the task between sims. If a GM is too busy or unavailable, turn the task over to your Bench Coach.

Disabled List Management

Players must be removed from the DL within three days (game) of returning to full health and serving their minimum DL stint. Note that the number associated with each DL (10/15 or 60-day) represents the minimum time the player must remain there, not the maximum.

Designated For Assignment List Management

See Rule 8 – Waivers & DFA

Personnel Management

GMs are expected to keep all teams in their organizations fully staffed while in season. Any organization which is not fully staffed at the beginning of the season will be given a warning. Failure to have your organization fully staffed within 2 weeks (game days) following the warning will result in a $500k fine per open staff slot. The Assistant GM slot is the only slot that is not required to be filled.

Participation

Members are required to participate in several league events and functions. These include:

  • Participating in the Domestic First-Year Player Draft
  • Participating in the International Amateur Free Agent (IAFA) Auction/Draft
  • Participating in the Live Winter Meetings
  • Providing opinions or votes on Commissioner posted rules questions
  • Participating on Discord and Whaleheads.com

The league also has several special events. Most special events are considered optional (the Rookie Draft being one exception). The Commissioner will spell out any participation requirements in advance of these events.

The league rewards GM participation using its Incentive Point System (IP$).

Some of this section taken from PEBA


Rule 2 – Roster Rules

2.1 – Roster Limits

For the 2025 season, all Domestic Minor League Limits will be modified as follows:

  • Major League Club Limit – 40 players – No service limits
    • Active Roster –
      • 40 players between World Series and Opening Day
      • 26 players from Opening Day through August
      • 28 players in September
  • Domestic Minor League Limits – 165 players
    • AAA – 32 players – 0-50 years old – No service limits
    • AA – 32 players – 0-50 years old – 8 years service max
    • A+ – High A – 33 players – 5 years service max and 26 years-old max
    • A – Low A – 33 players – 4 years service max and 25 years-old max
    • R – Rookie/Complex – 35 players – 3 years service max and 24 years-old max
  • International Minor League Limits – 35 players (per team)
    • DSL – 35 players – 2 years service max, 21 years old max, and no Domestic players (USA, Canada, and Puerto Rico)
  • DFA – Players allowed on DFA (as defined in 8.2 – DFA (Designated For Assignment)) do not count for roster limits. All others count.
  • Minor league roster limits are enforced all year.

In addition, during the off-season teams are limited to 237 overall players. Disabled Lists (which shouldn’t be used during the offseason) count against the overall limit and the respective Active/Domestic/International roster limits.

During the season teams are limited to 223 overall players, due to the difference in the Active Roster limit. Any healthy players on the DL count against the overall limit and the respective Active/Domestic/International roster limits.

Injured players on the Disabled Lists are not counted against the limited during the season.

“Players on Loan” to the Winter League will be temporarily exempted from the minor league roster limits but do count against the overall player limits.

GMs are, however, expected to immediately get their team rosters back under the limits as soon as those players are returned to their original rosters.

The Commissioner uses Statsplus Roster Check to verify roster limits.

In 2024 the DSL season will being on June 20th. Starting in 2025 the DSL will begin play on April 8th.

2.2 – Penalties for Roster Limit Violations

To ensure compliance with the Roster Limits, the Commissioner will manually check roster status periodically during the year. The following penalties will be assessed for being over roster limits.

2.2.1 First Time Violations

Teams will get a warning. Provided the team fixes the issue before the next import, no other action will be taken.

2.2.2 Successive Violations

Successive Violations are defined as being over the overall player limit more than once within a period of 30 days. (So, if you are over on December 15th and then over on January 12th, you will be fined for January 12th. If after December 15th you are over eight separate times over the next 30 days, you will be fined eight times. At which point you probably will be out of money.)

Overall Limit – The Commissioner may release sufficient players to get a team under the overall limit using whichever method/criteria he feels is best at the time. In addition, the team will be fined $2 million per player.

Individual Team Limits (off-Season) – Provided the violating team is under the Overall Limit, teams will be fined $100,000 per player per export until the team is under the limit.

Individual Team Limits (in-season) – Provided the violating team is under the Overall Limit, teams will be fined $500,000 per player per export until the team is under the limit.

Again, GMs are responsible for their rosters. The Commissioner does not enjoy the extra work and hopes his intervention will not be required.

2.3 – Roster Expansion

On September 1st of each year, the 40-Man Roster expands to 28 players.

2.4 – Playoff Rosters

Playoff roster eligibility is determined by OOTP. To be eligible for the playoff roster, a player must be on the 26-man major league roster or DL by the day prior to a league’s roster expansion. If less than 26 players are on a team’s active roster on the listed dates, the vacant roster spot(s) must also remain vacant during the playoffs. Roster moves cannot be made while a playoff series is in progress. Ineligible players on a playoff roster will be removed by the Commissioner. Their vacated roster spot may not be filled for the duration of the current playoff series.

2.5 – Playoff Injury Replacement Rules

  1. If a playoff-eligible player is injured between league roster expansion and the start of the playoffs, he may be replaced on the playoff roster by any playoff-eligible player.
  2. A player who is injured during the course of the playoffs may be replaced between series by any player who was on a roster in your organization prior to your league’s roster expansion.

Rule 3 – Eligibility to Sign Contracts

The Whalehead League player pool will consist of existing real MLB major and minor league players. Players are grouped as either Domestic Players (USA, Canada, and Puerto Rico) or International Players (all other countries).

3.1 – Adding Players to our Player Pool

Players will be added to the Whalehead League Player pool in four ways:

3.1.1 – See Rule 4 – First-Year Player Draft

3.1.2 – See Rule 6 – International Amateur Free Agency (IAFA) System

3.1.3 – Posted International Professional Players

Players posted by real-world professional leagues may be added to the free-agent list if posted in real life or when they return to MLB as unencumbered free agents (former MLB players returning from foreign leagues).

Players will be added during the off-season when the player is posted or, in the case of unencumbered free agents, when they are signed to a real MLB team.

The Commissioner will do his best to conservatively, but realistically, rate such players before entering them into the player pool. All such players will be fully updated to OOTP’s ratings when the new OOTP game version is released.

If a posted player added as a international free agent does not sign with an MLB team, his WLB contract will be voided.

The Commissioner will assign appropriate service time when the player is created.

3.1.4 – Free Agents with No Whalehead Experience

Players with no history in the WLB who appear in the most recent OOTP real major league game player pool may be added to the Free Agent List.

Criteria for addition:

  • All Players in A+ or higher in the end-of-season Live-Start game file with a minimum of 30 OVR or higher (100% scouting accuracy) AND 3 or more years of Pro Service Time may be added when the league moves to the next offseason.

The number of players added will be at the discretion of the Commissioner.

Major service time will be set to zero. Free Agents’ Pro Service time will be set to MLB Pro Service time.

The Commissioner will provide a list of such players prior to their addition.

3.1.5 – Players with Whalehead Experience

The Commissioner may also unretire players who appear in a real major league games in the most recent real season. (There is no reason to unretire players who don’t have value in the WLB, particularly players who were retired by the game engine.)

The Commissioner will provide a list of such players prior to their addition.

The service time for returning/unretired players will be their prior WLB service time.


3.2 – Removing/Retiring Players from the Player Pool

At the end of the year, after updating the ratings, the Commissioner will retire/delete any player who doesn’t exist in the most recent OOTP season roster.

Players listed as Free Agents in the most recent OOTP season roster will have their real-life status checked (time permitting). Those not on affiliated rosters may also be removed.

Players with playing time in our league will be retired. Players with no playing time in our major league will be deleted. 

Players who retire in real MLB immediately retire in our league if the league is in the offseason. If inseason, he will be retired at the end of the year. 

If a player returns to MLB, gets unretired in WLB, and missed a full WLB year, he comes back as a free agent regardless of his prior contract.

Any player who dies in real life immediately retires in our league.

As the Commissioner finds players whom he is absolutely certain are out of professional baseball in an affiliated league, the Commissioner will:

  • immediately retire them, if 1) they have a history in our league and are free agents, or 2) they are rostered and the league is in the offseason (the period between the World Series and the start of Spring Training);
  • immediately delete them, if they have no history in our major league; 
  • add them to a list of players to be retired at the end of the current season, if they are rostered and the league is in season (start of Spring Training until the World Series ends).

If there is a decent possibility a player might re-sign with a team, the player will remain in the league.

3.3 – Players who are Retired by the Game Engine

Players who are retired by the game engine but are not retired in real life (Albert Pujols is one example) are handled on an individual basis.

If his team doesn’t want him back, he stays retired.

If his team wants him, I unretire him and return him to his previous contract status.

Players may be unretired once. If a player retires, I unretire him and he retires again, he stays retired.


Rule 4 – First-Year Player Draft

The First-Year Player Draft will be the primary mechanism to add new domestic players (from USA, Canada, and Puerto Rico) to our player pool.

Each team will select 20 players during the draft. The draft will be conducted in StatsPlus. Any player not selected in the draft will be made a free agent.

The draft will be scheduled by the Commissioner shortly after the World Series and will typically start some time around April 7th (real).

4.1 – Draft Pool

The player pool will mostly consist of players from the most recent MLB Draft.

Also, Domestic players in A+ or lower in the end-of-season Live-Start game file with a minimum of 30 POT or higher (100% scouting accuracy) AND less than 3 years of Pro Service Time may be added to the next Rule 4 – First-Year Player Draft pool.

The Commissioner will release the draft pool in OOTP and StatPlus shortly after the end of our World Series.

Players in the pool will be assigned zero WLB service time.

4.2 – Order of Selection (Draft Order)

The Draft Order will be released when the draft is scheduled. Draft Order is based on the previous year’s reverse record with two exceptions: 1) the previous year’s World Series winner will pick last; 2) the World Series loser will pick next to last. Any draft order ties will be broken using the current MLB process.

The order will be adjusted for any Supplemental Picks using the following order:

Order of Supplemental Picks (after each round)
  1. Prospect Promotion Incentives (PPI) picks
  2. Competitive Balance Picks (CBP)
  3. Free Agent Compensation Picks
  4. Picks Purchased with Incentive Points (IP$)

4.3 – Supplemental Picks

There are four Supplemental Pick types:

  • Prospect Promotion Incentives (PPI) picks
  • Competitive Balance Picks (CBP)
  • Free Agent Compensation Picks
  • Picks Purchased with Incentive Points (IP$)

4.3.1 – Prospect Promotion Incentive Picks (PPI)

If a player who accrues a full year of service time in his rookie season (172 calendar days on the MLB roster) garners award consideration in any season prior to qualifying for arbitration, that player’s club receives a “prospect promotion incentive (PPI)” compensation in the form of a draft pick.

There are a few qualifications for a player to be eligible for his team to acquire PPI compensation:

  • The player must enter the season with rookie eligibility and no more than 60 days of service.
  • The player must be considered a preseason Top 100 prospect by BNN.
  • The player cannot enter their rookie season as a foreign professional.
  • The same PPI player can generate a compensation draft pick in as many as three different drafts, as long as the player is not traded and/or has not yet qualified for salary arbitration.

All PPI compensation will occur immediately following the end of the first round of the respective draft. Picks will be ordered by record (high to low).

Only one pick per player per season will be awarded. (So, if a player wins Rookie of the Year and finishes as a Top 3 in MVP/Cy Young voting, the team only receives ONE pick.) Teams may, however, receive more than one pick if multiple players meet the criteria.

Teams may only earn one pick each season. Teams may only earn one pick per player (So, once a team earns a pick from a player the team may not earn another pick in a subsequent season.)

The Commissioner will provide a list of eligible players right after Opening Day.

4.3.2 – Competitive Balance Picks (CBP)

How MLB Competitive Balance Picks Work in MLB

In MLB the bottom 10 teams in an MLB/MLBPA market rankings and the 10 teams with the lowest revenue in a year (the lists overlap quite a bit) get Competitive Balance Picks either between the 1st and 2nd rounds or between the 2nd and 3rd rounds. Since there is a lot of overlap between having a small market and revenue, typically there are about 14 or 15 Competitive Balance picks each year. 

Once the list of eligible teams is generated MLB splits the teams into two groups, Group One picks after the first round and Group Two picks after the second round. The picks within groups are ordered based on Winning Percentage (higher gets a better pick). Group One contains six teams. Group Two consists of the other teams getting picks. 

The groups flip-flop between the 1st/2nd round and 2nd/3rd rounds every other year. Since market size doesn’t change much, Group One pretty much doesn’t change. It’s the same six teams in Group One and mostly the same teams in Group Two.

Clubs drafting in the Competitive Balance Rounds also receive more international bonus pool money than the minimum of $5.144 million. Those drafting in Competitive Balance Round A will receive $5.6855 million, while those in Competitive Balance Round B will get $6,226,900 million.

2024 Base Pool$5,144,000
Signing Bonus Pool A$5,685,500
Signing Bonus Pool B$6,226,900
2024 International Bonus Pool Bases

We have similar info available to us so it’s possible to replicate the process in WLB. 

https://www.mlb.com/glossary/transactions/competitive-balance-draft-picks

4.3.3 – Free Agent Compensation Picks

As a way of helping weaker financial teams remain competitive, teams offering pending free agents a Qualifying Offer may receive compensatory draft picks as detailed below.

4.3.3.1 – Qualifying Offer

In the qualifying offer system, clubs wishing to receive compensatory draft picks for the loss of a free agent can make a one-year “qualifying offer,” worth the mean salary of MLB’s 125 highest-paid players, to their impending free agents prior to the onset of free agency if and only if:

  1. That player has never received a qualifying offer previously in his career.
  2. That player spent the entire season on that team’s roster (in-season acquisitions are ineligible).

The Commissioner will announce the Qualifying Offer figure at the start of the off-season

4.3.3.2 – Compensation for a team that loses a player after offering the Qualifying Offer. 

The team received revenue sharing AND the free agent signed for more than $50 million = Compensation after the 1st round. 

All other situations = Compensation after 2nd round (after Comp Round Picks).

4.3.3.2 – Penalties for signing players with Qualifying Offer. 

Teams that receive revenue sharing lose their third-highest selection in the following year’s Draft.

Teams that are Luxury Tax payors shall forfeit its second-highest and fifth-highest available selections in the next Rule 4 Draft AND it shall have its International Signing Bonus Pool for the next international signing period reduced by $1 million.

Teams that pay revenue sharing will lose their second-highest selection in the following year’s Draft. They also lose $500,000 from their International Bonus Pool.

If a team signs more players, they forfeit the next lowest pick. 

4.3.4 – Incentive Points (IP$) Picks

Additional draft picks (rounds 1-3) may be purchased, as outlined in the league’s Incentive Point System (IP$).

Rule 5 – Annual Selection of Players (Rule 5 Draft)

The roots of the MLB Rule 5 draft harken back to 1892. The current iteration of the MLB Rule 5 Draft was established by Major League Baseball in 1965 to give Minor League players more opportunities to crack big league rosters and prevent teams from stashing/hoarding talented players in the Minor Leagues. The draft helps both the players and enhances the Whalehead League’s competitive balance.


The WLB Rule 5 Draft will be conducted to coincide with the day after the last day of the in-game Winter Meetings.

Starting in 2024, there will be two phases of the Rule 5 Draft: Major League and Minor League.

The Commissioner will provide a date for the deadline to add Rule 5 Eligible (as determined by OOTP) players to the 40-Man and AAA Rosters (which will be temporarily expanded to 38 players). GMs must add players to the respective rosters by the deadline to protect them from selection in particular phases.

Once the deadline is reached the Commissioner will provide a draft order (using the most recent Rule 4 Draft) and the number of maximum picks a team may select in the Major League Phase. The Draft order will be fixed. No trades or roster moves can add additional picks. Rule 5 picks may not be traded.

5.1 – Major League Phase

Teams will have 48 hours from the release of the draft order to prepare. At that point, a Live Draft using the Discord #draft channel will commence. Teams will have 60 minutes to make a selection once they are “on the clock” for the entirety of the draft. Teams which fail to make a pick within the time limit will be passed. Teams ready to pick before the 48-hour starting deadline may choose to make their picks earlier. No team will be forced to pick until the 48 hour deadline is reached.

Teams who cannot live draft should provide the Commissioner with a detailed list of players it wants to pick via a written list sent to the Commissioner. The Commissioner will create such a list which he will pass along to another GM prior to accepting lists. He must draft from his submitted list.

Once a team passes (because it no longer has open slots or doesn’t want to draft additional players) it is out of the draft and may not return.

Players selected must remain on the Active Roster for the entire season or be sent back to their original teams. Additionally, all players must be on an Active Roster for a minimum of 90 days. Any days less than 90 will carry over until the next season during which time the player must be Active.

5.2 – Minor League Phase

After the completion of the Major League Phase, the Commissioner will provide the draft order based on the upcoming Rookie Draft order and the available 38-Man AAA Roster open slots.

All Rule 5 Eligible players who are not protected on the 40-Man Roster OR the AAA Roster will be eligible for selection in the Minor League Phase. The draft order will be the most recent Rookie Draft order. Again, teams may only select as many players as open slots on its temporarily expanded 38-Man AAA roster allow.

There are no roster restrictions for selected players (which means you don’t have to keep selected players on any particular roster the next season).

The entire draft will be conducted using Draft Lists that must be sent to the Commissioner within 24 hours of the completion of the Major League Phase. (Only lists sent via Discord Direct Message will be accepted.) GMs are encouraged to add as much detail to their lists as necessary.


The Commissioner will pass along his list to another GM prior to the start of the Major League phase. He will be required to follow his draft list during both Rule 5 draft phases.

AI teams will make selections for the Major League Phase of the draft using OOTP’s draft mechanism. For the Minor League Phase, the Commissioner will select players based on a sort of the team’s

Before the draft, the Commissioner will provide GMs any additional information/instructions as required.


Rule 6 – International Amateur Free Agency (IAFA) System

“International Players” are players who are residents of any country or territory other than the United States (defined as the 50 States of the United States of America, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and any other Commonwealth, Territory or Possession of the United States of America) and Canada.

Free agent International players who have never been signed to a Whalehead League contract (either major or minor) are considered International Amateur Free Agents (IAFA).

With the ability of updating players in the IAFA Pool in OOTP 25, the Whalehead League will begin using the OOTP IAFA system. The pool will be set to “A Lot (240 players).

The IAFA signing period will open on January 2nd (game).

6.1 – IAFA Player Pool

The player pool will consist of the top-rated 240 international players in A+ or lower in the end-of-season Live-Start game file using 100% scouting accuracy AND less than 3 years of Pro Service Time may be added when the league moves to the next offseason.

Players in the pool will be assigned zero WLB service time.

6.2 – IAFA Bonus Pool

At the end of the World Series, each team will be assigned a Bonus Pool Budget, according to their in-game Market, using the MLB-like process. Like MLB, the budget will be tradable.

Draft pools may be traded in $250,000 increments. Draft slots may be traded along with the pool money. Teams may accumulate up to 160% of their assigned pools.

IAFA pool money may not be purchased. Cash consideration of any kind is not permitted to be included in a trade involving Signing Bonus Pool space except to offset the salary of a player included in the deal.

Any unused money IAFA Budget will get added to Cash at the end of the IAFA Auction/Budget.

Rule 7 – Whalehead Economics

Starting in the 2023-2024 offseason, the WLB Economics system was changed. The details of those changes are below.

7.1 – Team Budgets

Team Owners do not control Budgets. Instead, WLB allows access to a teams’ entire revenue streams.

7.2 – Revenue Sharing

Revenue sharing was increased to 50% of all local revenue (All ticket revenue, local media revenue, and merchandising revenue) is included. (MLB has shared 47% since 2017.)

7.3 – Competitive Balance Tax (CBT, Luxury Tax)

A Competitive Balance Tax (CBT) was added. Anything above 140% of Payroll will be taxed 10% in 2024, 20% in 2025, and 30% in 2026 and later.

7.4 – Market Scores

Markets in WLB are now set according to the MLBPA Basic Agreement, converted to OOTP’s market scale (rounded to the nearest integer).

7.5 – Fan Loyalty

Fan Loyalty is set based on research conducted in 2018-2019 before we switched to OOTP.

7.6 – Revenue Estimates for CBP and IAFA Bonus Pools

Competitive Balance Picks (CBP) and IAFA (International Amateur Free Agency) Bonus Pools are assigned according to the following research.

Prior to implementation of the updated economic system hundreds of seasons were run to estimate the impact of the changes on available revenues. The results were used to build a revenue model to determine which teams are eligible for CBT picks and higher IAFA Bonus Pools.

Like MLB, the lowest rated teams are permanently eligible for a CBT pick. Additionally the eight teams with the lowest revenue in a season are also eligible for picks. (Most of the picks overlap.)


Rule 8 – Major League Waivers & DFA

8.1 – Waivers

The length of Waivers is 3 days during the regular season, when we typically advance a single day at a time. During the off-season, the length will be 4 days, when advancing 3 days at a time, and 5 days, when advancing 4 days at a time.

GMs are prohibited from trading players currently on the Waiver Wire.

GMs may only request Waivers to remove a player from their 40-Man Roster. Waivers are either Revocable (typically when a Waiver is requested while the player remains on the 40-Man) or Irrevocable (usually when a player is also placed on DFA). The OOTP manages Revocable & Irrevocable statuses.

Any player acquired via a Waiver Claim MUST be added to the 40-Man Roster. If a 40-Man spot isn’t available another player MUST immediately be Waived and DFA to make room.

A Club may not designate a claimed player within 48 hours after the time of the award of the claim or until the player has spent at least one game on the Major League Active List, whichever is earlier.

PENALTIES. The waiver rules are for the benefit of the players as well as the Clubs. No Club, therefore, shall solicit another Club, directly or indirectly, to claim or not to claim a player on whom waivers have been requested, nor shall a Club otherwise act in concert with any Club or Clubs in the operation of the waiver system. In addition to any remedy that players injured by a violation of this Rule 8 may be awarded pursuant to remedies afforded by a collective bargaining agreement between players and Major League Clubs, the Commissioner shall have authority to impose penalties for such conduct. (Section taken from 2021 MLB Rules.)

Players currently on Waivers can be found on the Waiver Wire.

OOTP 24 – Manual – Waivers

8.2 DFA (Designated For Assignment)

The length of time a player is allowed to be DFA is 7 days.

Players can be placed on a team’s Designated For Assignment (DFA) list for one of three reasons:

  • Demotions of a player from the 26-Man who has no option years remaining and has not previously cleared waivers.
  • Attempts to remove a player from 40-Man who has not previously cleared waivers.
  • All newly acquired players with major league contracts who have not been assigned are automatically placed on the DFA list.

If a team simultaneously places a player on Waivers and DFA, the player may be traded once the player has cleared Waivers.

GMs must assign, trade, or release a player before his allotted time on the list expires. Failure to do so will result in the player getting assigned to the AAA Roster (if there is room and the player accepts the assignment) or getting released by the Commissioner.

40-Man players acquired via trade or Waivers will need both an open spot on the 40-Man Roster AND on the AAA.

NO PLAYER MAY BE DFA DIRECTLY FROM A MINOR LEAGUE ROSTER!


Rule 9 – Rating Updates

The Whalehead League tethers the development of players to their real-life development.

Player game ratings get updated twice a year: 1) at the end of the Whalehead World Series, and 2) when a new version of OOTP is released (March, in real life).

Ratings Update Schedule & Details can be found in the gm_info channel in the WLB Discord. An overview of the process follows.

9.1 – End of Season Update

Major League Players

All players with 1+ years of major league service in our league AND any player with 130 PA or 30 IP in Live Start file used for the update are considered Major League players. All Major League player ratings in our league file (except positional Experience) are updated to OOTP’s end-of-season Live Ratings at the completion of the WLB World Series. This includes both Current and Potential Ratings.

The Commissioner updates using a specialized Access database after making sure all players are linked properly (which is much easier after requiring all players to have bbrefminors_id in the WLB player pool).

9.2 – OOTP Game Release Update

Minor League Players

All other players are considered Minor League players. Minor League players have their Potentials and Detail Ratings updated when the new version of OOTP is released (typically middle to late March). Current ratings and experience ratings are not updated.


9.3 – In-Game Development

Due to our update plan, OOTP’s in-game development has a different impact than typical OOTP leagues. Over the long haul, players’ values will closely shadow their real-life values. 

Major Leaguers

Over the short term, in-game player development only influences major league players’ ratings from the time players are updated at the end of one year until the next End-Of-Season update. 

Minor Leaguers

Minor leaguers’ ratings, on the other hand, are directly impacted by the game’s development engine as their current ratings (OVR) aren’t updated until the player accumulates over one year of WLB major league service.

If a player falls short of a full year of WLB major service, a WLB team may get almost two full years of quality play in WLB before the player is shifted to a full major league player update schedule. 

9.4 – Stamina Adjustments

One issue with our update plan the last two years was pitchers whose roles changed from starters to relievers weren’t having their stamina adjusted with the live stats updates. This led to too many real relievers being used as starters. To fix the issue I came up with a system to adjust the stamina based on pitches per game.

All players who meet the following criteria are adjusted.

Players are adjusted using the following formula:

=IF(PPG>40,45,IF(PPG>30,40,IF(PPG>20,35,IF(PPG>10,30,25)))) PPG = Pitchers/G

Internal stamina will be updated as follows:

The Basis for Stamina Update

PP/GStamina Rating
0-1025
11-2030
21-3035
31-4040
41-5045

9.5 – Injury Proneness Adjustments

Many players whose Injury Proneness ratings in the game are different than the end-of-the-season OOTP ratings will have their underlying injury ratings updated to the MLB ratings.

This is a boring manual task for the Commissioner. The Commissioner will try to update as many players as possible, without sacrificing his sanity.

A list of all updated players will be provided.


Rule 10 – Incentive Point System

The League rewards GM participation using its Incentive Points System (IP$)

Click this link to read all about it,


Rule 11 – Winter Leagues

During the off season top young players can pick up some out-of-season development in the Arizona Fall League and the Carribbean Winter League.

Each league will have six teams who will each be affiliated with four WLB teams.

Each WLB team will provide 8 players to each league, 4 pitchers (at least two 45+ stamina SP) and 4 batters (at least 1 catcher, 1 middle infielder, and 1 outfielder) will be required.

Teams may swap required position slots with other GMs (Both GMs, who must be affiliated with the same team in the same league, must notify the Commissioner prior to the deadline.)

The Commissioner will pick players for AI teams and any human GM who does not provide his roster preferences.

11.1 – Arizona Fall League (AFL)

The AFL will be scheduled to begin shortly after the end of the World Series and will be scheduled to end prior to the In-Game Winter Meetings. The AFL will play 32 games.

AFL Player Eligibility

  • No players with any MLB time are eligible.
  • No players with an OSA OVR of 43 or higher are eligible. Only 20-42 OVRs (colored Red or Orange) may play in the AFL.
  • Only players on AAA or lower rosters are eligible.

11.2 – Caribbean Winter League (CWL)

The CWL will be scheduled to begin after the Rule 5 Draft and will be scheduled to be completed prior to the start of Spring Training. The CWL will play 50 games.

CWL Player Eligibility

  • Players assigned to AA or higher, with a maximum of 3 years of Major League service, are eligible.
  • No players who recently played in the AFL are eligible.
  • Although there is no minimum or maximum OVR, the Commissioner suggests GMs don’t assign players with a lower than 35 OSA OVR.

Rule 12 – Winter Meetings

Rule 12.1 – In-Game Winter Meeting

In-Game Winter Meetings will be scheduled to take place right before the Rule 5 Drafts.

Rule 12.2 – Real-World Winter Meeting

Meeting will be scheduled for the middle of January (real) and prior to the start of Spring Training. GMs who participate, either live on virtually, will earn IP$.

See Live Winter Meeting in Incentive Point System for details.


Rule 13 – Franchise Relocation

We’ve always allowed teams to move to open markets. The moves have fostered competitive balance as weaker divisions invite stronger teams to move into their geographic area, which equalizes things quite a bit. With the combination of the OOTP’s economic system and the inclusion of AI-run franchises, the process is more complicated than with previous games we played. Despite the impediments, the Commissioner favors having a process available for franchise moves because, ultimately, it’s all about the actual humans having fun.

Teams may only move once every three years. Human teams must pay 75 IP$ to move their teams. Teams that aren’t active don’t earn incentive points, so they may not move.

Teams may only move to an open market.

Teams must announce the intention to move before the World Series ends.

Announcing a move before the playoffs will impact Fan Interest as outlined in WLB Economics. The benefit of announcing the move earlier is to lock in the market. The drawback is a loss of revenue in the current market. Ultimately, however, the early announcement gets balanced by an increase in revenue at the new location as season ticket sales increase.

Announcing a move during the playoffs triggers the following provision: Fan Interest will be reduced by 40% from the day of the change until the start of Spring Training. (This replicates the inability to promote the team for season ticket sales.) All other provisions stay the same.


Rule 14 – Realignment

The league will realign teams every three years based on the shortest travel schedule for all teams. The realignment will be set one year prior to the change (as of the start of Spring Training). The Commissioner will keep teams in their current league, when possible unless an equal number of teams request to swap leagues.

The realignment will take place at the completion of the 2023 World Series. It will then take place in 2026, 2029, 2032, etc. The 2023 realignment will be set after the World Series based on current teams.

Teams that move between the realignment assignment deadline and the implementation date will still be placed in the division assigned at the deadline.


Rule 15 – Trading

15.1 – Trading with AI Teams

Human GMs are allowed to trade with teams controlled by AI GMs.

The Trading Difficulty setting, which ranges between Easy and Hard, is set to three clicks from the middle toward Hard. Trading preference, which ranges between Veterans and Prospects, is set to the middle. These baseline settings get adjusted by particular AI GM ratings.

15.2 – Trading Recently Drafted Players

Recently Drafted Players may not be traded until the next off-season.

15.3 – Trade Deadline

No Major League Uniform Player’s Contract (including for outrighted players) shall be traded to another Major League Club during the period commencing 12:00 a.m. Eastern Time on August 1 (the “Major League Trade Deadline”) and ending upon the day following the last game of the World Series.

Players with Minor League contracts may be traded after the deadline. (Currently OOTP24 doesn’t allow any trading after the deadline. If functionality to trade minor leaguers after the deadline is reimplemented in the game, WLB will allow such deals.)

15.4 – Trading Draft Picks

Only Competitive Balance Picks (CBP) and Incentive Point Picks may be traded. All other picks may not be traded.


Rule 16 – Minor League Schedules

Opening Day for all Minor Leagues is April 8th (except where otherwise specified)

  • AAA – 138 games
  • AA – 138 games
  • A+ – 140 games
  • A – 140 games
  • R – 140 games
  • DSL – 68 games – June 20th Opening Day in 2024. DSL will expand to 140 games and its Opening Day will moved to April 8th.

Rule 17 – Expansion

2022-2023 Expansion Plan


Rule 18 – Playoff Format

To be added.

Rule 19 – Special Roster Rules

19.1 – Roster Expansion

The MLB Active Roster limit is 26 players. On September 1st (game) the limit expands to 28 players.

19.2 – Playoff Rosters

OOTP restricts Playoff Rosters to players who are on the 40-Man Roster at the start of September. Starting in 2024 WLB will adopt the MLB rules, which follow:

In a typical season, any player who is on the 40-man roster or 60-day injured list as of 11:59 p.m. ET on Aug. 31 is eligible for the postseason.

Those on the restricted list at that point are also eligible if they haven’t been suspended for performance-enhancing drugs during that season. (All players who have served a suspension for PEDs in a given season are ineligible for postseason play that year.)

A player who doesn’t meet said criteria for postseason eligibility can still be added to a team’s roster in the postseason via petition to the Commissioner’s Office if the player was in the organization on Aug. 31 and is replacing someone who is on the injured list and has served the minimum amount of time required for activation. (For example, a player on the 10-day injured list who has been on it for at least 10 days, or a player who has been on the 60-day injured list for at least 60 days.) Players who are acquired in September or after are ineligible.

19.3 – Playoff Injury Replacement Rules

WLB will use the OOTP rules which follow the MLB rules, which follow:

Teams submit a 26-man roster prior to each round of the postseason comprised of postseason-eligible players. A club may request permission from the Commissioner’s Office to replace a player who is injured during the course of a series, but that player is then ineligible for the rest of that round and the subsequent round, if there is one. A pitcher may be replaced only by another pitcher, and a position player only by another position player.

Teams carry extra players throughout the postseason in the event of injuries, and those players, as well as players on the injured list, can be in the dugout during games, within reason.

In the event that anything differs, we will follow the MLB rules, if possible.


Rule 20 – Team Owners in WLB

The OOTP 24 Manual describes the Ownership System as follows:

Each parent organization in OOTP has an owner, who can be seen on the Finances page. Just as in real life, you have little control over your team’s ownership, but ownership can make decisions that affect your job. Owners in OOTP have distinct personalities. Owners in OOTP have two main functions that affect gameplay: setting team budgets and hiring/firing human managers.

When the WLB moved to OOTP, all Owner Personalities in the WLB were set to the same owner settings: 1) Tolerant, 2) Economizer, 3) Hands Off, and 4) Balanced. Since that time, as Owners have died or been replaced by the game, the Commissioner allowed the changes because the impact of the differences were inconsequential as our setting prevented owners from setting the Team Budgets and from Hiring/Firing Human Managers.

With the 2024-2025 off-season updates to our Economics and the revamping of the Owner Goals in OOTP 24, the Commissioner has decided to add some impact to our league.

  • Owner Personalities – As owners are replaced by the game, Owner Personalities will changes as well.
  • Setting the Team Budget – This setting will continue to be turned off. GMs will continue to have full access to all revenues, except those that exceed the end-of-season Cash cap.
  • Hiring/Firing Human Managers – This setting will continue to be turned off.
  • Editing Owners – Starting with the 2024-2025 IP$ Bazaar, GMs may be allowed to slightly adjust Owner Personalities. (Details will be released at the end of the 2024 season.)

20.1 – Ownership Personalities

OOTP owners each have their own personalities. The following information affects how owners behave in the game:

PatienceControls how quick an owner is to fire you when your team is performing below the owner’s expectations
Fiscal PersonalityControls how your owner behaves regarding the team’s budget
InvolvementDisplays the owner’s involvement with the organization. Can be lenient or controlling
PriorityThe owner’s primary focus for the organization. Can range from extreme profit to extreme winning
Season ExpectationThe owner’s expectations for the team in the current season
Current MoodThe owner’s thoughts on how the human manager is performing so far

In the Whalehead League, the owners can’t fire you. Owners don’t set budgets. Each GM has full access to the full revenue of their team.

20.2 – Owner Goals

OOTP 24 Manual’s description of Owner Goals.

In addition to personalities, Owners will also have differing goals they will set forth for you to accomplish. These goals can be located on the Owner page under your Front Office tab. Goals have a priority level allowing the owner to include how important each one is. This will help you get a clear picture of what your owner is hoping you to do for the upcoming season(s).

Patience
1Unmerciful
2Demanding
3Demanding
4Tolerant
5Tolerant
6Lenient
7Lenient
8Understanding
9Understanding
10Understanding
  Fiscal Personality/Spending
1Penny-Pincher
2Controlling
3Controlling
4Economizer
5Economizer
6Charitable
7Charitable
8Generous
9Generous
10Generous

Goals can range from hitting attendance improvements to acquiring a particular type of player. We also allow you to discuss certain goals to see if the owner would offer a different goal. This can be helpful if you are rebuilding a team but a goal from the owner wishes for a winning season. Changing owner goals will bring up a pop-up screen in which you can either keep the current goal or decide to take an alternative goal instead.

Accomplishing goals your owner sets out for you will keep your owner happy and prolong your stay with the current organization.

20.3 – Owner Bonus System

With the upgrade of the Owner Goals in OOTP 24 the Commissioner’s Office has been working on a way to integrate the updated Owner Goals into the Whalehead League. I’ve decided to integrate the Owner’s Moods within a system as a proxy for the Cash Limit Setting (and as a replacement for reducing the amount of Cash that owners are allowed to carry over).

20.3.1 – Owner Bonus Matrix

The main factor for getting an end-of-season Budget Bonus is your Owner’s Mode at the end of the year. The happier your owner is, the more money he will give you.

There are two adjustments that also get made:

  1. Teams get a slight bonus for having a more generous owner and a slight penalty for having a more tight-fisted owner.
  2. Teams get a little extra money if they return higher profits to an owner. Owners will certainly be more likely to give you money if you make more money for them.

20.3.2 – Owner Bonus Calculation

Owner Bonus = F$ + M$ + Profit$

20.3.3 – Increases/Decreases to your Owner’s Patience & Involvement

In the future a system will be developed that will adjust your owner’s Patience based on the owner’s Priority setting using happiness, profits, and winning over the years. The more consistent you are at keeping the owner happy, the more patience he will have with you; the worse you are the less patience he’ll have with you.

There is also a possibility to add the ability to adjust owner Involvement as well, although experience using the system will be needed before any additions will be made to the Incentive Point System.


Rule 21 – Miscellaneous Rules

21.1 – Contract Restrictions

The days of offering players a team option and then a player option (and vice versa) are over. Going forward option years added to the end of contracts can only be all team options, all vesting options, or all player options.

Since the restriction is policed using StatPlus and not OOTP itself, it will still be possible to make those offers in OOTP. Don’t do it. If you do, the contract options will all be changed to Player Options AND the team will be immediately fined whatever the Buyout was listed for the Team Option year, or $2,000,000 (whichever is higher). (Updated 1/3/2024.)

Contracts previously given are grandfathered in.

21.2 – 2022 MLB CBA Rule Additions

Until such time that OOTP adds options to implement the 2022 MLB CBA Rules, the WLB will manually implement the following rules:

21.2.1 – Minimum Salaries

YearWLB Minimum Salary
2023$700,000
2024$740,000
2025$760,000
2026$780,000

21.2.2 – Infield Shifts are Banned

21.2.3 – Service Time Manipulation

  • The top two players in Rookie of the Year voting must receive at least a full year of service time, regardless of when they were called up.
  • Teams that promote a player to the early season roster, so the player earns a full year (at least 172 days) of MLB service, will be eligible to receive a draft pick, if the player finishes first in the Rookie of the Year voting or Top 3 in MVP/Cy Young voting before he is eligible for arbitration.
  • Only one pick per player may be received over the pre-Arb period. Multiple players may earn a team multiple picks but only one pick per season can be awarded per team.
  • A player may be optioned to the minors no more than five times in one season.

Pre-Arbitration Bonuses

Since this addition to the CBA is funded from a central fund, it will not be implemented until OOTP adds the systems.

Changing GM Jobs

A human GM may petition the Commissioner to change jobs in the Whalehead League at any time. All teams headed by AI GMs are considered available positions.

There is no set timeframe for a GM to change positions. The Commissioner will consider each request on a case-by-case basis. He will consider all prior interactions with the other franchise and the GM’s track record in the league in making his decision.

(One sure way to have your request denied will be to make a bunch of bad trades with your prospective new team before making the request. Another way will be a pattern of running teams into the ground and then changing jobs.)

Once a change is approved, the GM must sign a contract and remain in the position for a minimum of three years with his new team.

Rookie Status

Players lose rookie status with 75 days on a WLB roster, 130 PA, or 50 IP.

OOTP removes players from the top prospect list after the player has 45 days on the Active Roster. This impacts PPI picks.