To learn about our efforts to improve the accessibility and usability of our website, please visit our Accessibility Information page. Skip to section navigation or Skip to main content
Below is an advertisement.


Skip to main content
Below is an advertisement.

Fantasy glossary
A comprehensive user's guide to the game within the game

Mets third baseman David Wright led all Major League regulars with a .400 BABIP during the 2009 season. (AP)
Ever stumble across a fantasy term and wonder, what on earth does that mean? You're not alone. Plenty of fans struggle understanding the lexicon.

Below is a fantasy glossary to guide you through the uncertainty.

4x4: A rotisserie format consisting of four hitting categories (batting average, home runs, RBIs, stolen bases) and four pitching categories (wins, ERA, WHIP, saves).

5x5: A rotisserie format consisting of five hitting categories (runs, batting average, home runs, RBIs, stolen bases) and five pitching categories (wins, ERA, strikeouts, WHIP, saves).

AL-only league: A format in which owners exclusively use players from American League teams.

Auction draft: A draft in which owners compete for players by submitting monetary bids. Standard budget for a team of 23 roster spots is $260.

BABIP: Batting average on balls in play: A statistic which removes home runs, strikeouts and sacrifice flies to measure the percentage of at-bats that result in a hit for a player. Typically used to determine how "lucky" a player has been.

Breakout player: A player who takes a considerable leap in statistical production.

Buy low: To acquire a player whose value has dropped.

Contact rate: A statistic which determines how often a hitter makes contact, measured by at-bats minus strikeouts, divided by at-bats.

Counting stats: Statistics measured by total accumulation as opposed to percentages. Examples of counting stats include home runs, RBIs for hitters, and wins and strikeouts for pitchers.

Dollar value: A player's auction-draft price based on a standard $260 budget for a 23-man team.

Dynasty league: A format in which owners retain their entire team from the previous season.

FAAB: Free-agent auction bucks: The amount of money available for owners to commit to free-agent pickups in auction leagues. Standard allocation is $100 per team for a season.

Five-category player: A hitter who excels in fantasy's five major offensive categories: batting average, home runs, RBIs, stolen bases and runs.

Fly-ball pitcher: A pitcher who consistently allows more fly balls than ground balls. Can be susceptible to the home run.

GB/FB ratio: Ground-ball-to-fly-ball ratio.

Ground-ball pitcher: A pitcher who consistently induces more outs on the ground than in the air. A high ratio is considered to be a good indicator for success.

H2H: Head-to-head play: A format in which fantasy teams compete against one another on a rotating weekly basis.

Hold: A statistic credited to a reliever who enters a game in a save situation, records at least one out and leaves with his team's lead intact.

IR: Injured reserve: An area for owners to store players on the disabled list.

K/9: Strikeouts per nine innings: A ratio which helps determine a pitcher's dominance.

K/BB ratio: Strikeout-to-walk ratio: A measurement which helps determine the strength of a pitcher's command.

Keeper league: A format in which owners are allowed to retain a set number of players from the previous season.

Mixed league: A format in which owners use players from both American and National League teams.

NL-only league: A format in which owners exclusively use players from National League teams.

OPS: On-base percentage plus slugging percentage: A statistic considered by many to be the best for analyzing and comparing hitters.

Points league: A format in which all statistics have associated point values, such as a point awarded to pitchers for every strikeout.

Position eligibility: The positions at which a player qualifies. Typically, a player has to appear in at least 10 games at a specific position to qualify there the following season.

Position scarcity: The relative lack of talent at a position, such as catcher, second base and shortstop. Typically inflates the value of the best players at that position.

Punting: The act of giving up on one category in 5x5 play to focus on improving one's chances in the other four categories.

Quality start: An outing in which a starting pitcher throws at least six innings and allows three earned runs or fewer.

Rotisserie: A format in which teams are ranked by the accumulation of statistics throughout a season.

Sabermetrics: The use of advanced statistics, such as runs created and win shares, to find objective answers to baseball's questions. Originally developed by Bill James.

Sell high: The process of trading a player at his peak value.

Sleeper: A player drafted in the middle to late rounds who has the potential to exceed expectations.

Slugging percentage: A statistic in which total bases are divided by at-bats. Determines a player's ability to hit for power.

Snake draft: A draft in which the order of selection reverses with each subsequent round -- i.e., the owner who makes the last pick in the first round gets the first pick of the second round.

Splits: Statistics broken down into more specific groups, such as home vs. road and day vs. night.

Spot starter: Starter who's not necessarily worth a full-time roster spot but deserves a temporary pickup/onetime play by virtue of a favorable matchup.

Strand rate: For pitchers, the percentage of baserunners who reach base safely (excluding home runs) that do not go on to score earned runs. This is also known as "left-on-base percentage" or LOBP. Developed by Ron Shandler.

Streaming: The process of substituting players in and out of the lineup to take advantage of matchups and pad statistical totals.

Tout Wars: A fantasy league consisting of teams managed by several of the industry's experts.

Two-start pitcher: A pitcher scheduled for two starts in one week. Potential positives include extra contributions in wins and strikeouts.

Value pick: A player who has the potential to exceed his draft-day value.

VORP: Value over replacement player: A statistic that measures the number of runs a player contributes beyond the total of a replacement-level player at the same position. Originally developed by Baseball Prospectus.

Waiver priority: The order in which teams have the right to claim a particular player off waivers.

Waiver wire: The collection of players who are not on a roster and are thus available to be claimed in a league.

WHIP: Walks plus hits divided by innings pitched.

Think we left anything out? E-mail Fantasy Editors with your proposed additions. This content was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.