Auction drafts. Snake drafts. Player position qualifications. These are just some of the fantasy baseball terms you need to learn if you are going to play the game – something that millions do every year!

Learning how to play fantasy baseball is not difficult. Figuring out how to win is another matter entirely. But knowing the following fantasy baseball terms will get you started on the road to creating a championship winning team.

Rotisserie League

The term “rotisserie” was first used with fantasy baseball leagues because fantasy baseball was invented by writers in New York who met at the La Rotisserie Francaise in Manhattan. (Actually, it was invented in the air over Texas, but that’s a long story). So, if you read or hear the term “rotisserie league” or “roto baseball,” it’s referring to fantasy league baseball.

Auction Draft

This is the way many leagues are created. Team owners bid on players. The highest bidder wins the player. There are sometimes time constraints put on how long you can bid on a player. This requires team owners to know their team budget (see below) and not draft players they can’t afford.

Snake Draft

The most popular drafting method is a snake draft, a fantasy baseball term that means a draft where one team at a time picks players in a pre-chosen order. The order is then reversed for each subsequent round. So, every odd-numbered round is, for example, Team 1 through Team 10 and every even-numbered round is Team 10 through Team 1. This continues until the draft is complete and every team has filled all the required positions.

Corner Infield Positions

These are the players who play either first or third base. In some leagues, team owners have one first baseman, one-third baseman, and one corner infielder. The same is done for the middle infield positions – one-second baseman, one shortstop and one middle infielder.


In fantasy baseball terms, a dynasty format is one where teams keep players from year to year. This is sometimes referred to as a “keeper league.” If everyone in the league is committed to playing, dynasty format can come the closest to making fantasy like a real-life league as team owners build teams over many years.

Team Budget

This is the amount each owner can spend on their team. It’s essentially what a salary cap is in real-world professional leagues. The lower the team budget, the more difficult the game can be to play.

5×5 Scoring

This fantasy baseball term refers to a popular scoring method in which five categories are tracked for both hitters and pitchers. The classic statistics most frequently used are:

  • For hitters: batting average, home runs, RBIs, stolen bases, runs scored
  • For pitchers: wins, saves, earned run average, walks + hits per inning pitched (WHIP) and strikeouts

However, as the game has changed and other statistics have emerged, leagues may replace any of the above with categories such as fielding independent pitching, on-base plus slugging and wins above replacement value.

Bench Players

Some leagues allow team managers to put players on the bench, just as managers do in real life. This gives a team owner a player pool to choose from if someone in the starting lineup gets hurt, which happens frequently.

Player Pool

Before launching a fantasy league, owners must first decide what the league includes. This means choosing what players can be picked from. Often, the player pool consists of current players. However, more sophisticated leagues can allow owners to choose players from baseball’s rich history. Or, in some cases, the league might be confined to players from one decade or one year in the past.

Player Position Qualifications

This can be set to a different number in each league. However, in many leagues, a player must have played at least 20 games at a certain position to quality. Other leagues set stricter rules, allowing you to only draft players at the position they played the most.

These are some of the fantasy baseball terms that can help you get started as you get into the game. Don’t let not knowing all the details keep you from playing. Fantasy baseball is the kind of fun game that you can learn as you play!