Positional Eligibility Fun at 1B by Paul Kastava May 13, 2016 A few weeks ago, I joined a league after an owner dropped out last minute. The only reason I joined was because I thought the previous owner did a nice job compiling this squad, or else I wouldn’t have touched it. It’s a 14-team head-to-head points league where you play three different owners at once. There are some funky rules in the league (which I’m always game for), but there is one that caught me by surprise regarding position eligibility. To start the season, players have traditional positional eligibility (20 games at a position). So when I took over this team, I had Anthony Rendon at 2B and Edwin Encarnacion at 1B. No problem. Then on Sunday, the day after waivers run mind you, somebody informed me that both these players would not be eligible for those positions next week, which confused the hell out of me. After much research and a bunch of clarifying questions, I discovered this crazy rule I have never encountered. By May 1st, positional players must play ten games at a position in order to continue to receive eligibility at that position. Since Rendon hasn’t played any second base, he lost second base eligibility. Encarnacion also lost 1B eligibility because he has played less than 10 games at first, but he still has a chance to regain that (he now has ten games at 1B). In honor of this new format I encountered, and the craziness that is Friday the 13th, I am going to look at other first baseman who may have lost 1B eligibility in leagues similar to this one, as well as looking at players who did not have 1B eligibility, but are on their way to gaining that eligibility. I intentionally left off catchers because you probably shouldn’t be starting more than the required amount, and if you are, go to your waive wire and find an actual first baseman. The Lost Boys Players Losing 1B Eligibility (Potentially) Player Name Games at 1B Mark Trumbo 1 Travis Shaw 9 Carlos Santana 7 Pedro Alvarez 0 Santana is close and will probably get his eligibility back. Shaw is an interesting case and is already one away from ten. At this rate he will get twenty, but positional distribution is never an exact science. That 1B eligibility would give you some nice flexibility with Shaw for next season since he has already nailed down 3B eligibility. Lately, though, Sox have been using Shaw at 1B so this is a situation worth monitoring to see how much 1B he continues playing. Trumbo and Alvarez appear to be long shots to regain their 1B eligibility, with Chris Davis locking the position down. Trumbo at least gives you something with OF eligibility. Alvarez, on the other hand, can lose some value here as the only other position he has played this season is 3B, and that was only one game so that may not be enough depending on your league. Alvarez has had a rough start and is the strong side of a platoon, but losing 1B can kill even more of his value. Hopefully, for those deeper leagues, they have single game eligibility and you can slide him over to your corner slot. Once was lost, now has been found Players Gaining 1B Eligibility Player Name Games at 1B Matt Holliday 4 Derek Dietrich 2 Yasmany Tomas 1 Matt Carpenter 5 Victor Martinez 3 Hanley Ramirez 28 Prince Fielder 2 Hanley Ramirez is the most obvious name on here, so I won’t dive into that too much. Holliday at first has been nice for my one game eligibility NL-only league since I had a glut in the OF, but lacked a strong corner infielder (I have Clint Robinson expecting a Ryan Zimmerman injury). I’m still waiting for him to get his fifth game for a daily line-up league as I love guys with flexibility in those types of leagues. With the Dee Gordon suspension, I doubt we will see Dietrich much more at 1B. The other positions he is eligible for are more valuable anyway, so I’m not stressing it too much. I feel the same way about Matt Carpenter, who is now eligible at 1B in most leagues. I would’ve liked to have gained that 2B eligibility back from him, except it appears Mike Matheny isn’t really thinking about my roster construction very much. Thanks, dude. Victor Martinez and Prince Fielder are probably the most anticipated names on this list. At this rate, it is doubtful they will get the 20 games making them eligible for next, but as mentioned above, you never know when interleague play starts heating up and injuries start mounting. These two cases are particular tough though. Do you bench one of the best hitters in baseball to get Victor Martinez some at-bats? Occasionally, but not twenty times. Fielder has been struggling and if that trend continues, I do not see the Rangers rushing to get him at-bats in interleague games. Not saying that will continue, as I expect him to turn it around, and if/when he does, it will make benching Mitch Moreland for Fielder in National League ballparks a much easier decision. Stay tuned.