I have expressed the opinion in various places that Yahoo!'s simplification of the original Rotisserie baseball format (one league only, 4x4) to the now-standard 5x5 mixed-league changed the game for the worse by making it too easy to play. History refutes that argument with an easy recitation of the game's popularity.
It is a battle I have no chance of winning despite my position that the internet was the main facilitator of the game's popularity and not the advent of mixed-leagues. 4x4 AL- and NL-Only leagues would have been just as popular if that was how Yahoo! had decided to introduce the interent version of the game. It was the ease of stats calculation that exploded the game's popularity not the simplicity of structuring All-Star rosters for every fantasy team.
Now something has changed in the way major league teams construct their 25-man rosters that will finally kill the standard 4x4 format of 14 hitters and 9 pitchers. The 12-man pitching staff is the final plague that will make traditional Rotisserie just a source of Golden Era fondness for old-timers like myself.
Back in the day when teams had ten-man pitching staffs, there were 15 rosters spots dedicated to hitters. In the American League that would be a player pool of 210 hitters from which a 12-team AL-Only league would select 168. This would leave 42 players in the free agent pool.
With a 12-man staff, AL teams have just 182 hitters in the draft pool. The math is simple. In 2008, AL-Only Rotisserie leagues have a mere 14 players sitting in the free agent pool post-draft to drawn on for the replacement of injured, demoted, traded-to-the-other-league, FAAB bidding players.
A real-life example is my own AL-Only league. Here is a list of the current players available in the free agent pool of hitters:
Player, Team, Elig (2008, 2007):
Rob Bowen OAK C,C
Miguel Cairo SEA 123,13
Alex Cora (Sidelined) BOS S,2S
Mike DiFelice TB C,C
Toby Hall CWS C,C
Elliot Johnson TB SOD,2
John McDonald TOR 3SD,S
Greg Norton SEA O,D
Pablo Ozuna CWS 23,3
Ryan Raburn DET OD,O
Ramon Santiago DET 2,S
Ramon Vazquez TEX 3S,3
What changes to the original Rotisserie baseball format can be changed? Drop a 5th OF? Combine the MM and CR position to a IF one? I'd ask about having just one catcher, but is a free agent pool augmented by 10 back-up catchers really an improvement?