One of the worst feelings when constructing a roster is having too many players at a position and not being able to use them. In most fantasy leagues, every position needs to be filled with one player and having more than that could lead to daily decisions. Questions about playing time, pitching matchups, and real-team lineup spots can become tiresome over 162 games. That’s where positional eligibility comes into play.
Positional eligibility is a very strategic tool that can be used for roster construction and lineup manipulation. Over time, certain players become eligible to be slotted in at different positions on fantasy rosters after having played those positions on their Major League roster. The number of games needed varies from different fantasy site platforms, but the general notion of it helping out owners is universal and two-fold.
The season is not here yet, but why not get a head start and jump in a Fantrax Classic Draft contest? Get a jump on the season with a Best Ball league or maybe a Draft and Hold. Or put some green on the line with a new season-long league to try and conquer. There’s no better time than now to get your baseball on!
Using Position Eligibility to Your Advantage
Position Eligibility During Drafts
During draft season, it is crucial to fill out a roster that balances the talent level and positions of its players. There are some positions where the depth is not as plentiful as others, which could result in a player’s value being pushed up on draft boards. Having that eligibility expanded into multiple positions allows owners to take different avenues toward the end goal of a drafted team.
For example, Bobby Witt Jr. is the highest-ranked player with his two positions listed being shortstop and third base. When he gets drafted, that owner is granted the flexibility later in drafts, should a player fall. Witt could be that team’s starting third baseman, allowing a shortstop to be drafted later on. That said, suppose someone like Nolan Arenado is the best player on the board when that owner selects later on. Witt could then be slotted in as that team’s shortstop and the trajectory of the draft would change.
It’s best to have more options than not. Drafts don’t usually transpire as we imagine them to go in our minds, but the flexibility of having different avenues to travel makes for a less bumpy ride. That being said, positional eligibility helps even more in-season.
In-Season Position Eligibility
The regular season is a long and daunting task. Over 162 games, a lot of decisions need to be made, and owners aren’t going to always make the right ones. Having players with additional positions is a bonus because it helps ease the tension of having to always choose between one side or another. This is especially more helpful in daily leagues because players can go in and out of lineups on any given day, and the ability to slot someone in changes your lineup drastically.
It’s important to understand your league format settings when planning ahead. Here are the criteria for the various platforms. It’s important to remember these going forward. It’s also important to note that Yahoo leagues offer the lowest required playing at a position last year in order for that player to be qualified to play there this year.
Use the Fantrax Position Eligibility Tool to see all the games played by position for the 2022 MLB season!
ESPN Position Eligibility Rules
- Games played at a position during last season: 20
- Games played at a position during the current season: 10 (The eligibility will take place on the 21st day, even if no game is played that day)
- Current Season: 3
- Previous Season: 5
- Current Season: 5
- Previous Season: 8
CBS Position Eligibility Rules
During the fantasy season, all MLB players will remain eligible at their initial (pre-season) designated primary position and will also be eligible at any position at which they played at least 20 games in 2022 or at least five (5) games in 2023. Also, be aware that a player’s primary position may change at any time.
Yahoo Position Eligibility Rules
- Position eligibility – 5 starts or 10 total appearances in a position.
- Pitcher eligibility – 3 starts to be a starter, or 5 relief appearances to qualify as a reliever.
NFBC Position Eligibility Rules
- Players who played at least 20 games at any position in 2022 will qualify at that position for the entire 2023 NFBC season. Players who play 10 games at a new position in 2023 will be eligible at that position after they have played there for the 10th time during the 2023 MLB regular season.
- If a player did not appear in 20 games at any position, he qualifies at the one position he played most frequently the prior season in the majors. Designated Hitter is considered a position for these purposes (pinch-hitting is not). A player who only qualifies as a DH may only be assigned to the UT position. If a player’s most games played at a position is less than 20 and tied among more than one position, the NFBC commissioner will assign eligibility at one position only.
- Those players who only pinch-hit in the majors in 2022 will be position eligible according to their minor-league games played status in 2022. They would qualify at the position they played the most games in the minors.
- Players who played all of 2022 in the minor leagues will be awarded position eligibility for the 2023 NFBC season based on the most games played at all levels in the minors. The NFBC will determine that one eligible position before Draft Day and that will determine that player’s status for 2023 once he is called up to the majors. Those players who only pinch-hit or DH in the minors will only be UT-eligible.
- The NFBC commissioner will rule on player eligibility prior to the draft as he deems necessary. Those eligibility lists are final and will be available to all owners prior to Draft Day.
Fantrax: Default Position Eligibility
- Games needed from previous season for a player to qualify at a specific hitting position : 20
- Games needed from current season for a player to qualify at a specific hitting position: 10
- Starts needed from previous season for a player to qualify as a starter : 5
- Starts needed from current season for a player to qualify as a starter : 3
- Relief appearances needed from previous season for a player to qualify as a reliever : 8
- Relief appearances needed from current season for a player to qualify as a reliever: 5
- Use Fantrax’s default position(s) in addition to any position(s) a player qualifies for based on above criteria: No
- Note: If a player does not qualify for any positions based on the above selections, he will qualify at the position(s) played most in the previous MLB season. If he did not play at all last season, then the default position(s) will be used.
Multi-Position Eligibile Player for 2023
The following are fantasy-relevant players that had at minimum five (5) appearances at multiple positions. They are therefore eligible at all of those positions in 2023, depending on the league format. They will be categorized by primary position first, with potential secondary positions afterward.
Christian Bethancourt – Tampa Bay Rays (1B)
Yasmani Grandal – Chicago White Sox (1B)
Eric Haase – Detroit Tigers (OF)
Sam Huff – Texas Rangers (1B)
MJ Melendez – Kansas City Royals (OF)
Christian Vazquez – Minnesota Twins (1B)
Luis Arraez – Miami Marlins (2B), (3B)
Seth Brown – Oakland Athletics (OF)
Bobby Dalbec – Boston Red Sox (3B))
Hunter Dozier – Kansas City Royals (OF), (3B)
Ty France – Stealle Mariners (3B)
Trey Mancini – Chicago Cubs (OF)
Joey Meneses – Washington Nationals (OF)
Jose Miranda – Minnesota Twins (3B)
Josh Naylor – Cleveland Guardians (OF)
Nick Pratto – Kansas City Royals (OF)
Harold Ramirez – Tampa Bay Rays (OF)
Jonathan Aranda – Tampa Bay Rays (1B), (3B)
Christian Arroyo – Boston Red Sox (OF), (SS), (3B), (1B)
Jon Berti – Miami Marlins (3B), (OF), (SS)
Cavan Biggio – Toronto Blue Jays (1B), (OF)
Rodolfo Castro – Pittsburgh Pirates (3B), (SS)
Jake Cronenworth – San Diego Padres (1B), (SS)
Tommy Edman – St. Louis Cardinals (SS), (3B)
Santiago Espinal – Toronto Blue Jays (3B), (SS)
Thairo Estrada – San Francsico Giants (SS), (OF)
Wilmer Flores – San Francsico Giants (1B), (3B)
Adam Frazier – Baltimore Orioles (OF)
Andres Gimenez – Cleveland Guardians (SS)
Tony Kemp – Oakland Athletics (OF)
Gavin Lux – Los Angels Dodgers (OF), (SS)
Jeff McNeil – New York Mets (OF)
Whit Merrifield – Toronto Blue Jays (OF)
Jorge Polanco – Minnesota Twins (SS)
Luis Rengifo – Los Angeles Angels (3B), (SS), (OF)
Marcus Semien – Texas Rangers (SS)
Gleyber Torres – New York Yankees (SS)
CJ Abrams – Washington Nationals (2B)
Kyle Farmer – Minnesota Twins (3B)
Ha-Seong Kim – San Diego Padres (3B)
Isiah Kiner-Falefa – New York Yankees (3B)
Miguel Rojas – Los Angeles Dodgers (1B)
Amed Rosario – Cleveland Guardians (OF)
Bryson Stott – Philadelphia Phillies (2B)
Bobby Witt Jr. – Kansas City Royals (3B)
Brian Anderson – Milwaukee Brewers (OF)
Alec Bohm – Philadelphia Phillies (1B)
J.D. Davis – San Francisco Giants (1B)
Yandy Diaz – Tampa Bay Rays (1B)
Brandon Drury – Los Angeles Angels (1B), (2B)
Gunnar Henderson – Baltimore Orioles (SS)
DJ LeMahieu – New York Yankees (2B), (1B)
Ryan McMahon – Colorado Rockies (2B)
Max Muncy – Los Angeles Dodgers (2B)
Isaac Paredes (Tampa Bay Rays (2B), (1B)
Jace Peterson – Oakland Athletics (OF), (1B)
Josh Rojas – Arizona Diamondbacks (2B)
Spencer Steer – Cincinnati Reds (1B), (2B)
Luis Urias – Milwaukee Brewers (2B), (SS)
Ramon Urias – Baltimore Orioles (2B), (SS)
David Villar – San Francisco Giants (1B), (2B)
Joey Wendle – Miami Marlins (SS), (2B)
Mookie Betts – Los Angeles Dodgers (2B)
Aledmys Diaz – Oakland Athletics (2B, (SS), (3B, (1B)
Brendan Donovan – St. Louis Cardinals (2B), (3B), (1B), (SS)
Nick Gordon – Minnesota Twins (2B), (SS)
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. – Arizona Diamondbacks (1B)
Enrique Hernandez – Boston Red Sox (2B), (SS)
Alex Kirilloff – Minnesota Twins (1B)
Dylan Moore – Seattle Mariners (SS), (2B), (1B)
Christopher Morel – Chicago Cubs (2B), (3B), (SS)
Wil Myers – Cincinnati Reds (1B)
Gavin Sheets – Chicago White Sox (1B)
Chris Taylor – Los Angeles Dodgers (2B)
Daulton Varsho – Toronto Blue Jays (C)
Andrew Vaughn – Chicago White Sox (1B)
Matt Vierling – Detroit Tigers (3B)
LaMonte Wade Jr. – San Francisco Giants (1B)
Juan Yepez – St. Louis Cardinals (1B), (3B)
Are you buying in on Tyler’s favorite bounce-back players? For more great analysis check out the 2023 FantraxHQ Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit!