markj11 wrote:What rounds would you go after guys like Zumaya, Shields, Neshek and Meredith? My league counts K/9 and K/BB so I think these guys will be a lot more valuable than middle tier closers.
A lot of it depends on your league ip settings, depth of the league, whether you're roto/h2h and how much roster space you have.
In h2h these guys are marginal plays due to the unpredictability of their work and the small influence they have on the overall ratios. The exception to this would be if you run several mr's and just try to sneak in right at your league's ip minimum.
In roto the less ip available to each rostered pitcher the more valuable these guys get. In a 1250ip league where a team that rosters 10 pitchers has to average 125ip per pitcher a MR that pitches 75 innings would need to be paired with a SP that pitches 175 innings to meet that average.
This leads to the next issue - league depth. A closer is usually more valuable than a MR because the impact the closer has on ratios isn't high and they're contributing in all 5 categories (the only type of pitcher that can make that claim). In a shallow league (8-10 teams or less pitchers used) you'll probably be better off going with a closer that posts solid ratios versus a MR that posts great ratios. In deeper leagues though where the quality closers are going to go earlier MR's can become more valuable.
As to where to draft them...if we're talking about your run-of-the-mill 12 team yahoo ruleset then I probably wouldn't draft one at all. There are usually more than enough to go around and you'd be better taking a pre-season flyer on a guy than taking most MR's. I might consider taking Zumaya in the last couple of rounds but with the hype going on around him I doubt he'd be there.
If you're in a more competitive and/or deeper league then you just have to look at the factors that I've mentioned above and make some sort of a judgment call. Just keep in mind that there are a LOT of major league pitchers that can put up very nice ratios in single inning stints. Pitchers can take a different approach to a one inning appearance and therefore typically put up better numbers in those situations. So while the MR strategy is very sound, you shouldn't overpay to use it (nor should you have to overpay). When you strip chance for save opportunities out of your analysis you'll be surprised at how many guys there are out there that have a quality skill-set and are rosterable for a MR strategy.