Four teams assessed draft-pick penalties for 2013 violations

The Rules Enforcement Committee  has concluded its evaluation of several end-of-year violations. Six cases were considered, resulting in assessment of four draft-pick penalties and two warnings.

The REC created a set of guidelines to follow to assist it in assessing fair penalties. These guidelines provide rough parameters while still allowing for the exercising of judgment within those ranges. One tier of guidelines applies to accidental infractions; the other tier to willful or neglectful violations. In both tiers, the effect of the violation on standings integrity, and consideration of whether this was a repeat violation, were factored into the decisions.

Further, the REC decided that when a penalty assessment involves a draft pick, managers will lose the right to select a player where the pick was originally slotted. Instead, affected picks will be moved to a special end-of-draft supplemental round. Those picks can still be traded but the selection of players with those picks will still be withheld until the supplemental round.

Here are the six case summaries:

SOUTH GRAND PRAIRIE

The violation:

Six players exceeded their regular-season limits:

— Pitcher A.J. Burnett exceeded his innings allotment by 9
— Catcher Carlos Santana exceeded his at-bats allotment by 5
— Shortstop Ian Desmond exceeded his at-bats allotment by 7
— Outfielder Daniel Nava exceeded his at-bats allotment by 7
— Outfielder Giancarlo Stanton exceeded his at-bats allotment by 10
— First baseman Paul Goldschmidt exceeded his at-bats allotment by 21

Among the factors we considered were:
— Any one of these overusages would have merited a penalty on its own
— The overall number of players exceeding their limits (six) is very likely the most in league history and is indicative of neglectful management of player limitations
— While several players participated in games the Warriors won, the impact on standings integrity was minor

Thus we concluded the violation fell into the category of ‘significant’ because it was a neglectful infraction of minor impact. The penalty for such a violation is moving a draft pick in the fourth through eighth rounds to the end of the draft. In the judgment of the REC, penalty assessment is that pick 48 in the fourth round will be held til the end of the draft.

IOWA

The violation:

Four players exceeded their regular-season limits:

— Pitcher Chad Billingsley exceeded his innings allotment by 1
— Outfielder Josh Willingham exceeded his at-bats allotment by 1
— Catcher Salvador Perez exceeded his at-bats allotment by 1
— Outfielder Jayson Werth exceeded his at- bats allotment by 10

Among the factors we considered were:
— Any one of these over-usages would have merited consideration of a penalty on its own; 1 AB or 1 IP could have resulted in a warning, but Werth’s excess was substantial
— The overall number of players exceeding their limits (four) is among the most in league history and is indicative of neglectful management of player limitations
— While several players participated in games the Cyclones won, the impact on standings integrity was negligible.

Thus we concluded the violation fell into the category of ‘minor’ because it was a neglectful infraction of negligible impact. The penalty for such a violation is moving a draft pick in the ninth through 14th rounds to the end of the draft. In the judgment of the REC, penalty assessment is that pick 139 in the 10th round will be held til the end of the draft.

HICKORY

 
The violation:
Pitcher Sam LeCure exceeded his innings allotment by 1.2
Among the factors we considered were:
— The overage occurred in September and the limitation likely was not managed well because of the employment of the computer manager
— Managers are still obligated to make sure they do not exceed player limits regardless of their use of the computer manager
— LeCure appeared in two Hickory victories after he had already reached his innings limit
— This is a repeat violation for Hickory, having been penalized in 2012 (affecting 2013 draft positioning)Thus we concluded the violation fell into the category of ‘minor’ because it was an accidental infraction of minor impact, but also a repeat violation. The penalty for such a violation is moving a draft pick in the ninth through 14th rounds to the end of the draft. In the judgment of the REC, penalty assessment is that pick 189 in the 13th round will be held til the end of the draft.
 
MARGARITAVILLE

The violation:

Infielder Joey Votto was allowed to pitch in a game in violation of a league constitution rule

Among the factors we considered were:
— Several NetPlay crashes in the Volcanoes’ game with the Paperclips were likely the cause of a roster glitch that removed a pitcher from the Volcanoes bullpen that the team preferred to use
— Still, the purposeful decision to pitch Votto is in violation of Article II, Section B, Rule 3: “We do not use the following super-advanced rules… Bringing in a position player to pitch.”
— The Volcanoes still had at least two other eligible relief pitchers who could have entered the game.

Thus we concluded the violation fell into the category of ‘minor’ because it was a purposeful infraction of negligible impact. The penalty for such a violation is moving a draft pick in the ninth through 14th rounds to the end of the draft. In the judgment of the REC, penalty assessment is that pick 195 in the 13th round will be held til the end of the draft.

CHATFIELD

The violation:

Two players exceeded their regular-season limits:
— Pitcher Rex Brothers exceeded his innings allotment by 2
— Pitcher Joel Hanrahan exceeded his innings allotment by 2

Among the factors we considered were:
— The overages occurred in September and the limitations likely were not managed well because of the employment of the computer manager
— Managers are still obligated to make sure they do not exceed player limits regardless of their use of the computer manager
— While these players may have illegally participated in games the Choo-Choos won, the impact on standings integrity was negligible.
— This was a first-time violation for Chatfield.

Thus we concluded the violation fell into the category of ‘warning’ because it was an accidental infraction of negligible impact. The penalty for such a violation is a warning only. Should Chatfield incur a second warning in a three-year period, even for an accidental infraction, a draft pick penalty may be issued.

SUPERIOR

The violation:

Catcher Yasmani Grandal started and played three games at first base, a position for which he was uncarded.

Among the factors we considered were:
— The playing of Grandal at 1B and Joe Mauer at catcher in the same game appears to have been an accidental lineup positioning flip-flop
— In one game when the miscue was discovered, the players were moved back to their correct eligible positions (Mauer at 1B and Grandal at C)
— The Titans lost all three games, thus the impact on standings integrity was negligible.

Thus we concluded the violation fell into the category of ‘warning’ because it was an accidental infraction of negligible impact. The penalty for such a violation is a warning only. Should the Titans incur a second warning in a three-year period, even for an accidental infraction, a draft pick penalty may be issued.

We regret having to issue penalties at all, but fair play is a principle that has provided a foundation for this league since 1980, so it is important to enforce our rules.  We are fortunate that with so many violations, we did not have any that had a significant impact on the standings. Those are the kinds of infractions that worry us the most and that is why there is a separate category of ‘severe’ reserved for those cases. We do hope though that this structure and this penalty format will encourage managers to be more diligent about following the rules and we commend those managers who followed the rules and stuck to their player limits this season. No one is perfect, but collectively we can make a better effort.

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