Official Rules of the Empire State League


  • League Structure


The Empire State League (ESL) shall consist of three (3) divisions.


  • Division Structure


Each ESL division shall have the same number of teams, the number to be determined by the league general managers.


  • Schedule


ESL teams shall play an 80 game regular season schedule. Teams shall play an equal number of games against each division opponent.


  • Roster Size


(a)    At the time of the Annual Player Draft team rosters may not exceed fifty (50) players.  Subsequent to the conclusion of the draft a team’s roster may exceed 50 players only through the acquisition of players via trade. If a team adds a player(s) through a waiver acquisition and, by doing so, exceeds the 50 player roster limit, a corresponding and simultaneous roster move(s) must be made to reduce the roster to the 50 players limit.


(b)    Active regular season playing rosters may not exceed 28 carded players at any one time.


   (c)  Playoff rosters may not exceed 26 players.


4A.       Injured Reserve (IR)


  • Each team can put up to 2 players on Injured Reserve Status for a period of one year.

  • The total of players for any team on the IR is not to exceed 3 players over a 3 year period.

  • At the conclusion of the year, the GM must decide either to restore the player to the 50 man roster, or he must be waived.

  • No players may be placed on the IR more than once in any 3 year period.

  • Teams with players on the IR may be granted an additional draft pick for such a player, but if the player on IR is restored to the 50 man roster, another player must be waived to maintain the 50 man limit.

  • In order to qualify for the IR, a pitcher must have been on the DL during the previous season, and have pitched no more than 50 innings as a starter, or 20 innings as a reliever.

  • In order to qualify for the IR, a position player must have been on the DL during the previous season and had no more than 100 plate appearances.

  • A team is not eligible to trade draft picks intra-divisionally while utilizing its privilege of placing players on the IR.

  • No player may be placed on the IR during his first year on an ESL 50 man roster.



  • Playing Rules


Playing rules and options shall be determined by majority vote of the league general managers.


  • Annual Player Draft


(a)    The annual player draft (draft) shall begin on a date agreed to by the league general managers.


(b)    At least ten 10) days prior to the date of the draft, each team must establish its final and official roster and provide the other general managers with the names of all players placed on waivers.


(c)    Once the draft begins a team is prohibited from altering its list of waived players.


(d)    The draft shall consist of a maximum number of rounds, to be agreed to by the league general managers at least 10 days prior to the start of the draft.


(e)    A team may draft as many players as necessary, but may not draft players once its roster reaches 50 active players and IR designated players.


(f)     The order of the draft shall be based on the regular season records of all ESL teams.  Teams will draft in ascending order, beginning with the team with the worst regular season record.  This order shall be maintained throughout each round of the draft.


(g)    If 2 or more teams in the same division finish the season with the same record, the general manager of the division shall determine the draft order for those teams.


(h)    If 2 or more teams in different divisions finish the season with the same record, the order of the draft shall be determined by:


(1)    The team finishing furthest behind its division winner shall select ahead of other teams with the same record that finished closer to their division champion.

(2)    A roll of the die by a general manager whose teams are not involved in the die roll.



  • Draft Eligibility of Players


To be eligible for the draft, a player may not be on the roster of another ESL team at the time of the draft and must be under contract to a major league organization prior to the start of the draft.  Major league free agents, as defined by major league rules, who are not on an ESL roster are eligible for the draft.

  • Trade of Draft Rights


Teams may trade draft rights to any other team, however, a team may not trade the rights to its #1, #2 or #3 round picks to any team within its division.  No intra-divisional trading of draft rights may occur once the ESL player draft has begun.


  • Player Trades


    • Teams may conclude trades at any time.  Players acquired through trade shall be eligible for post season rosters provided the trade is completed prior to the team’s 49th game of the season.


    • Trades are official upon notification to the other general managers that a trade has been completed and agreed upon.


    • Teams may make intra-divisional trades, provided:


      • No trades are made after the start of the ESL season;

      • The cumulative number of players involved in such trades does not exceed 10 players per division; and

      • Trades do not involve any players drafted by the trading teams in the 1st, 2nd or 3rd rounds of the draft held within the trading period.


    • All trades are assumed to be made on the same day of the season for the teams involved, with the day determined by the team having played the most games at the time the trade was completed.



  • Player Participation


    • Players are to be used in proportion to their actual use in the major league season, as determined by such indicators as games played, plate appearances, innings pitched and games started.


    • Players traded during the ESL season may not be active for more than 80 regular season games.


    • Players who start 2 or more games at a position may start regularly at that position provided the manager adheres to the player participation rules set forth in paragraph (a) of this section.



  • Waivers


Waiver Period:  A player may only be placed on waivers during the waiver period.  The waiver period is defined as the period commencing upon conclusion of the regular season through the following March 15.

Claiming Period:  A player may be claimed on waivers only during the waiver period.  The waivers claiming period is defined as the period commencing upon conclusion of the ESL draft through the following March 15.

Waiver Eligibility:  To be claimed on waivers a player must have been placed on waivers during the current waiver period.  A player waived prior to the ESL draft is eligible to be claimed on waivers if not selected in the draft through the following March 1st.

Waiver Claims:  Any ESL team may make a waiver claim on an eligible player during the waivers claiming period.  The first team to make such a claim shall be awarded the eligible player, provided the claiming team has an open roster spot or waives another player so as not to exceed the 50 player roster limit.


  • League Playoffs


Division Playoff:  If two or more teams tie for a division championship, there shall be a best-of-three playoff with the format and seeding to be determined by the division general manager.

League Championship Playoff:  Division winners shall advance to the League Championship Playoff.  The team with the best regular season record shall receive a bye into the championship series.  The other two division winners shall play a best-of-five semi-finals.  The team with the best record shall be the home team for games #1, #2 and #5.  If the two teams have the same regular season record, the home field advantage shall be awarded to the team that wins its division by the largest margin.  The winner advances to the League Championship Series.

League Championship Series:  The League Championship Series shall be a best-of-seven series.  The bye team shall be the home team for Games #1, #2, #6 and #7.


  • Amendments to the Rules


Rules not specifically covered in this document must be adopted by the unanimous consent of the general managers.  The effective date of any rules changes shall be determined by the general managers.









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