Fantasy Baseball: Mixed League or Mono-League?

Fantasy baseball leagues have two options for establishing player availability. Either a mixed league or mono-league format can be used to determine the talent pool.

The mixed league style allows team owners to pick players from all 30 Major League Baseball (MLB) teams. Each team owner can essentially assemble an all-star roster when playing in a mixed league. The majority of fantasy baseball leagues in existence operate as mixed.

Mono-leagues restrict player availability to either National League (NL) or American League (AL) rosters. There are 16 NL teams and 14 AL teams to choose from, depending upon which a league decides to use. Other names associated with this format are AL-only, NL-only and league specific.

A league trying to decide between a mixed or mono-league format should do it well before the draft. Doing so gives ample time for team owners to research and be prepared. However, before choosing a mixed or mono-league style, league members should strongly consider each of the following factors.

Level of League Experience
The amount of team owner experience is the first aspect a league should keep in mind. Mixed leagues are usually recommended for less experienced participants, due to the larger player pool. Owners here can focus on the more popular players and do not need any extensive knowledge of MLB rosters.

The more seasoned veterans of fantasy baseball usually join mono-leagues. Player availability is cut in half when compared to a mixed league’s talent pool. This means prominent players will disappear much quicker and an owner has to rely on his knowledge of lesser-known players when filling a roster.

League Size
Aside from experience, the quantity of teams in a league is also important. Leagues with 12 or more teams are almost always advised to go with the mixed format. Larger leagues require more roster spots to be filled, leaving a bigger player pool to be more advantageous in that situation.

The mono-league style is typically best when ten or fewer teams exist in a league. A restriction of AL-only or NL-only already makes player pools very thin. Having to fill over ten rosters with this format can sometimes deplete things too far.

Team Roster Size
Leagues should also be sure not to overlook the size of team rosters. Even though a small number of teams might exist, big rosters can still cut in to the amount of players available. Leagues that fill extra positions and/or allow additional reserve spots should generally use the mixed format.

Certain leagues may only fill minimum amounts of starting or bench spots. In that case, a mono-league style might work well for those team owners. To be sure, leagues should add up the total amount of roster spots that will be used.

Weekly or Daily Transaction League
One last detail used toward making this decision is the allowed frequency of league transactions. Daily transaction leagues are typically better suited for a mixed format. Since daily transaction rosters can always be adjusted, it is beneficial to have more players available to pick from.

Weekly league owners are powerless toward making constant roster changes. Because of this, a bigger player pool is not as helpful. However, weekly leagues could actually opt for either format without it making much of an impact.