Why do hitters need to earn eligibility after being injured?

I am curious about this for Tatis and Conforto (and any other relevant players). What is the logic of requiring a position player to regain positional eligibility if they miss a year, and allowing a pitcher with a RP designation (usually TJ recovery players) to be placed in SP roles, with only RP eligibility, and accrue points accordingly?

Is it a site architecture issue, having different rules for a small subset of players? While it likely is a minimal impact, it could affect early season roster construction and make for sub-optimal outcomes for a team.

To be clear, I am not looking for a hill to die on, just interested really.


Seems like two separate questions so I’ll try to provide my thoughts:

  1. I think one set of rules for all offensive players on eligibility is clear and straightforward, even if players lose eligibility when someone sits out a year. The rules for one year back are pretty straightforward, and I personally like it because it keeps the requirement of players having to earn eligibility every year. Tatis is a good example of this too, because if there was special treatment to give him existing eligibility, where would he be eligible? It’s a judgement call that you’d have to make for the handful of players who miss a year, rather than just allowing them to earn it in the current season, even if the UTIL-only is a short-term limitation for a manager.

  2. I think the lineups page covers SP/RP position eligibility best: “To get credit for a pitcher’s performance, you must play him in the same role as his major league team uses him. Pitchers who start in real life must be put into SP roles, and pitchers who come out of the pen must be put into RP roles.”… The ‘SP’ lineup spot is used for pitchers (regardless of eligibility) who start the game, and the ‘RP’ lineup is for pitchers who come in as a reliever. I think that flexibility on not checking a pitcher’s eligibility for which position they’re used in fantasy is beneficial to allow teams to start RP-only guys who have been recovering for a while as well as have the flexibility to move an RP in at SP when they’re used as an opener.


@mmaude basically nails it but to be super clear:

  1. Pitchers pitch. What else is a pitcher gonna do but pitch? If he changes to being a reliever or being a starter, well, you gotta use him accordingly.

  2. Position players can be hurt in such a way that they cannot or will not play the position they previously played. Tatis, as @mmaude pointed out, is a great example. Should he be at SS if he doesn’t play a single game there this year? I don’t see why he should be, if the Padres deem he isn’t their best option at the position.

So, position players have to show where they are being utilized, and pitchers are pitchers but have to be used where they are being utilized.


Thanks to you and @mmaude for the quick, helpful replies!

To add some clarity to my thought process, the rub comes out in a special penalty for missing a year, that only applies to hitters. If Spencer Turnbull starts opening day 2023, I can put him in a SP slot and still carry a full complement of RPs (assuming games, etc.), thereby maximizing my output from day 1 all the way through the 5th game started. Whereas, if I carry Tatis, Conforto, or similar, I have to use my UTIL slot, potentially carry another OF or similar, or bench one of the two for a true UTIL player like Otani.

Again, this is a short window, minor impact and it is truly just a curiosity.

For your points:

  1. I agree and have no issues with the ruleset.
  2. My only point is what does a year have to do with it? Could Mookie not play a single game at 2B this year? I’d bet he plays fewer than the number required to have 2B in 2024. So should the Dodgers deeming that he isn’t their best option at the position mean that he should not have 2B eligibility? Of course not, he played the requisite number of games in his last played season, being last year. The only difference for Tatis/Conforto, is that they missed last year completely.

I hope you catch my tone here, it’s just the end of January and I appreciate friendly banter. Ottoneu is fantastic, I’m glad to participate.

Conforto is slated to play OF nearly every day for the Giants, so he’ll almost certainly re-earn OF eligibility within a week or so into the season. Same with Tatis, most likely. If Turnbull or another pitcher didn’t have P eligibility, then you wouldn’t be able to use him for about a month into the season. That’s the key difference.

And with Tatis’ suspension, even if you have both Conforto and Tatis, Conforto will almost certainly have OF eligibility by the time Tatis returns. So if you have both, you’ll be able to use both.

In the event that you have Ohtani or another DH-only player on your roster and you want Conforto or Tatis, then you’ll have to live with only being able to start one of them for the week or so until Conforto/Tatis re-earn OF eligibility. That only diminishes their value to you by about $1-2.

So I think giving an expected position for 2023 to hitters is in many ways a solution in search of a problem. And it has the potential to create distortions (e.g., why not give Tatis SS eligibility as well?). I think that’s basically where Niv landed on. IMHO, it’s the least bad option to a very minor problem that doesn’t create other minor problems (i.e., awarding unearned eligibility to position players).