2018 MLB Depth Charts
The roster construction for a major league team comes at a half-and-half clip. The active 25-man roster will favor the construction of 12-13 pitchers and 12-13 fielders or position players. This has been the set construction across the league since the early 1900s, making the 25-man roster a staple of sport. Minor discourse and confusion come into play when speaking to the 40-man roster. This number simply defines the depth of the player pool a team has contracted to major league deals. This number accounts for injured players, players serving reserve roles, and minor league talents that are signed to the major league team. 15 of the spots on the 40-man roster are considered inactive, meaning these players could not be used during in-game situations. This reserve roster is built to provide teams relief when facing major injuries or when they are slim at a certain position. It also allows a team to retain the rights to their younger, developing prospects they have within their farm system.
The main intrigue to the 40-man roster is the ability for a team to hold players and let them recover from injury. This also creates a player pool of talents that can be serviced in time of need. All players rostered within the 25-man active combination are also featured on the 40-man list. This leaves only 15 spots available for these mentioned injuries and prospects. The 40-man system is utilized by teams as a banking item or insurance piece to protect assets. If a player is not on the active roster, they are allowed to sign waivers with opposing organizations or teams if they are presented with a designation. Teams designate players for assignment if they are rehabbing from injury or are underperforming on the bigger stages. Teams risk losing these players when they remove them from the active roster, which is a case that often plagues the teams with the larger talent pools, thick farm systems, or bigger bank roles. For example, when a team like the Yankees, Dodgers, or Red Sox designates a player for assignment, their contracts are often grabbed by smaller market teams due to the serviceability of that talent. Most teams come from smaller markets, limiting the depth of their 40-man rosters. When the large market teams need to shift players to make room for better talents, their trash becomes another team’s treasure.
Teams are allowed to extend their rosters to the full 40-man team once September 1st hits. This is an exciting period of time for baseball as the world gets a taste of what the farm team has cooking. Most teams failing to reach the post-season will feature their younger talents heavily. This helps the younger guys gain some full-game experience against the top levels of competition. This also presents playoff teams with the opportunity to extend their depth. This is when we see playoff contenders start to fine-tune their rotations. They’ll add a bunch of diversified arms to the bullpen, adding both lefties and righties, to help create match-up advantages. This is an effective tool to help teams keep their production levels high without sacrificing great levels of usage or extending the outing for their star talents.
The construction of the rosters for playoff races really heats up the competition in terms of fantasy value. While the fielding positions remain relatively consistent, the pitching rotations and bullpen positioning changes shape. If you are a fan of chasing the numbers, daily fantasy during the playoffs greatly favors the researched users. Batter versus pitcher stats and other such advantages lead to mismatches that can play out in your favor. Determining usage of the talent combined within the 40-man roster is often shaky, but correctly picking the right reliever can be the greatest differentiator to roster construction in daily fantasy play.
Once the expansion to the 40-man roster occurs, teams are afforded a greater sense of predictability. Each team throws out their best talents throughout the entire organization, showcasing the league their talents for that short month to end the season. Every team tips their cards, showing what they have in the pipeline and what can be expected moving forward in the future. This is the only sport that uses counted competition to showcase all talents. This is the equivalent to the NFL’s pre-season, but the games remain meaningful for those still thick in the playoff races. The 40-man roster is what makes baseball exciting.