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Middle reliever strategy taken to logical conclusion

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Middle reliever strategy taken to logical conclusion

Postby MissingOakley » Sun Apr 08, 2007 12:37 pm

I've read some good posts on this board about the forgotten value of the excellent middle relievers in roto leagues, who boost K totals, hold down the ratios, and get the occasional win.

What I'm curious about is whether those same arguments make a case against having ANY late-round starter types on a fantasy team at all. Should the low-K, decent ratios, decent wins guys like Capuano, Freddy Garcia, Derek Lowe, Tim Hudson, Zach Duke, etc. be owned? People usually draft them to try to get up to their league's max-innings limit and to provide moderate help to their wins and Ks totals. But a lot of these guys can hurt ratios, and in my league which counts a bunch of extra categories including losses, they can hurt a third category.

Would it ever make sense to dump all the fantasy fifth starters and just play great middle relievers at the P spots all season, holding on to 3 or so dominant starters? I'm thinking I could assume the wins and losses would be a wash, and it'd help my ERA/WHIP and nort hurt Ks if I have all the Broxton types.
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Postby j24jags » Sun Apr 08, 2007 12:43 pm

The only problem is that it is critical to get as close to the limit as you can. If you don't get close to the IP maximum you'll get destroyed in wins and Ks. So say you do what you say and go with three starters. That's probably 600 innings. 1250 is the common max. so you still need 650 innings from relievers then. Most relievers only get 75-90 so you would need about 8 relievers with only three starters. You're better off with 5-6 starters and being selective with when to start the last few, then you only need 4 relievers.
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Postby MissingOakley » Sun Apr 08, 2007 12:54 pm

Yeah, I see what you mean. Is spot starting reliable though? How often do pitchers go against bottom-tier hitting teams?

For an example of the mediocre value of half-decent starters, I went to baseballmonster (a site that lets you plug in categories to see where people actually ranked statistically from last year's stats). In a league with standard categories plus losses, Danny Haren was #174 last year overall... Broxton was #85.

Not sure I see the value of drafting guys like Zito looked at this way.
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Postby noseeum » Sun Apr 08, 2007 2:08 pm

The other issue you have to consider is the impact of decreasing your number of innings. If others are over 1000 and you're at 700, one bad outing will have a much bigger impact on your ratios for your team than for theirs.

I think going to the extreme of three starters would be high risk. I could see it coming out the gate, but I would be watching for the inevitable free agent pitchers who surprise and should be picked up. Like Olsen last year for example. So maybe don't pick up the pitchers you know will just be mediocre, but be ready to replace your lowest end middle reliever with an up and coming starter.
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Postby SendHelp » Sun Apr 08, 2007 2:13 pm

the whole idea is you just draft all your hitters and all your bench before drafting replacement level starters.

once the season starts you have to revert back to regular strategy.
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Postby itodd » Sun Apr 08, 2007 2:27 pm

having 2-3 guys like Shields and Zumaya and whatever random guys come-from-nowhwere this year, if properly managed (making sure you get the MR playing every day) will help a team alot more than a 4th or 5th b-level starter, they'll collectively get alot more Ks and alot more Wins (a good MR will vulture 4-7 wins in a season, x's that by 2 or 3.. and you've got what a Very Good pitcher would give you in a year)
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Postby fantasyfiend » Sun Apr 08, 2007 2:45 pm

I think what people overlook when deploying the 'MR' strategy is the value in losing the extra 2-3 bench spots for hot players, and the ability to 'horde' players who have huge upside.
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MR Strat.

Postby masterpinky0509 » Sun Apr 08, 2007 4:37 pm

The answer is no for several reasons.

1) There are perhaps 5 middle relievers worth owning to really pull the strat. off. Namely Shields, Zumaya, Broxton...perhaps Otsuka (and he ended up being the opening day closer).

2) A lot of those guys have more value than you think. Capuano is not a "low-K" pitcher, he throws a lot of innings and averages slightly less than 7 K/9 IP for about 175-185 a full year.

3) Breakout potential among starters--no way a 14th round reliever returns 5th-6th round value.

The combination of those two means that perhaps 2 guys in a 12 team league can realistically run a sound MR strategy, the rest have to do something else (and it might actually work out for them if they pick good breakout candidates for SPs).
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Postby jdsun1 » Sun Apr 08, 2007 4:56 pm

fantasyfiend wrote:I think what people overlook when deploying the 'MR' strategy is the value in losing the extra 2-3 bench spots for hot players, and the ability to 'horde' players who have huge upside.


Spot on! I learned this as well as having guys like Lidge get blown up last year isnt worth it. I got someone like Dunn over a good reliever. Oh well! Id rather have a solid bat than someone who will only provide a couple innings a week and also get me a save or two. I just picked up Mike Jacobs and couldnt be happier so far. Why not Horde guys who are hot like Jacobs or someone who u can put in like wainwright and greinke at the RP slot.
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Postby bigh0rt » Sun Apr 08, 2007 5:51 pm

jdsun1 wrote:
fantasyfiend wrote:I think what people overlook when deploying the 'MR' strategy is the value in losing the extra 2-3 bench spots for hot players, and the ability to 'horde' players who have huge upside.


Spot on! I learned this as well as having guys like Lidge get blown up last year isnt worth it. I got someone like Dunn over a good reliever. Oh well! Id rather have a solid bat than someone who will only provide a couple innings a week and also get me a save or two. I just picked up Mike Jacobs and couldnt be happier so far. Why not Horde guys who are hot like Jacobs or someone who u can put in like wainwright and greinke at the RP slot.


What kind of league are you playin' in? :-?
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