It's a viable idea, but the problem that you could possibly encounter is when you run into a team that has quality starting pitching and/or has more starts (in H2H context). This could put pressure on you if he's beating you on offense or is close to winning those hitting categories. He could foreseeably win in W and K, simply because he's racking up more innings. You might be winning in ERA/WHIP, but the onus could be on you to be a little more proactive for a spot starter. For me, I'd rather be deep in SP and aggressively pull you into taking a chance on spot starters or better yet, keep diversified in SP and in top RP/MR.
Another thing is possible turnover in MR. This holds true for leagues that count holds. You could find yourself behind if you stuck on to Kyle Farnsworth, only for Joba Chamberlain to usurp his role and rack up holds as well as better ratios.
I like filling up my roster with the Broxton, Betancourt types after all of the main closers are gone...i.e. those types that should offer quality ratios, K/9, etc, while having a chance to get SV if the main closer of their team flounders. But after that though, I'd rather fill up my roster with upside players (the Justin Upton, Billy Butlers of the world) then have a couple of MR that don't really have a shot at closing, because normally they're the first player to go anyway to pick up the hot player of the week.
MR are great in roto when combined with a pitch and ditch type strategy since they give you a buffer in case of blowups. You can use a couple MR and random pitchers and match the production someone else gets out of an ace if you do it well. While it does suck up roster spots you are using guys who are basically 'free' to get the same stats someone payed a 6th round pick for. There is even a little bit of upside since your MR might turn into a closer and shoot way up in value.
I've had good luck drafting quality MRs to bring down my ratios while I wait for the inevitable closer carousel to begin. When one becomes available, I pick up him and drop an MR guy. Hopefully, the MR guy has helped enough to soften the blow from the blow-ups you see from the borderline closers.
0-3 to 4-3. Worst choke in the history of baseball. Enough said.
Ender wrote:MR are great in roto when combined with a pitch and ditch type strategy since they give you a buffer in case of blowups. You can use a couple MR and random pitchers and match the production someone else gets out of an ace if you do it well. While it does suck up roster spots you are using guys who are basically 'free' to get the same stats someone payed a 6th round pick for. There is even a little bit of upside since your MR might turn into a closer and shoot way up in value.
This is the best use of MR. Put another way, a great MR can combine with a 10th-rd SP to provide 5th-rd SP stats at a more impactful IP weight, allowing you to draft a better hitter in the 5th instead of a pitcher. Getting this better hitter also allows you to worry less about giving up depth to leave 1 or 2 spots for MR on your roster.
I love the middle reliever strategy in roto... - Two good MRs can give you 150 IP, 150+ Ks, 12 W, sub-3.00 ERA, and sub-1.20 WHIP: much better stats than a #3 or #4 SP for much less cost. - Even though they take up two spots, you can carry one fewer starter so its only really one extra spot. - They are potential closers, allowing you to draft saves late. - Even though they take up roster space, they also give you flexibility because they're the first ones you can drop if you need to make an emergency pickup (or if they aren't doing well and you want to try someone else).
I also found that it worked very well in my ALH2H league last year where we have an 18 IP minimum... I was able to go with 3 SP, 2 CL, and 3-4 MRs and really do well in the pitching categories.
I'll be going after Broxton, Marmol (already good chance at closing), Accardo, Neshek, Fuentes in my main roto league.
"The government cannot give to anyone anything that it does not first take from someone else"
Again a lot of it does depend on your bench depth for you league and league setup. In HTH with shallow benches I don't think it's that good of an idea because you can run up with a team stacked with SPs and just out-pitch you. In most roto I think it can be great (because you get some good K, ERA, WHIP and even some Ws and Svs per IP that basically stack up with the top aces) and in HTH with deep benches it can be good. Usually the #7 or so SPs aren't giving you the stats you want, so taking up 3 rosters spots there is worth it.
My favorites this year: Broxton - solid, tons of Ks and each year I think the risks of Saito going down mount. Not saying there's going to be a change, but there's value in the risk of that happening. Betancourt - solid and Borowski sucks. Yes, yes he does. Neshek - Not a lot of people are talking about him but besides him being a little overworked at the end of last year, he puts of great numbers, tons of K's and I think Nathan will be traded to a contender. Jon Rauch - Numbers plus I think Cordero gets traded to a contender. Hideki Okajima - Solid and likely the backup to Pappelbon should injury strike. Jeremy Accardo - He gets more into the possible closer talk, but I think he gets enough saves because the Jays will take it easy on Ryan this year (not pitching him in back to back days, etc) and that's if Ryan makes it the full year. Carlos Marmol - If he doesn't get closer role, he finds himself in this list. Solid numbers and a few Ws and Svs. Heath Bell - Once again, good numbers. Also Hoffman's like 62 years old I think. There are a few others - Henry Owens, Duschschschschsererer, etc who may be on this list eventually but come with a little more risk as far as ratios go.
So... there's enough of these guys that you shouldn't be spending even mid-round picks on them. You can forgo that bench fodder hitter or #7 SP in the late rounds and pick up a guy who at the worst will help your ratios and give you enough Ks, sprinkling in a few Ws and SVs to make it worth it. And with many of these guys they have the potential for immediate 10th-12th round value if they become the closer of their teams. How many late round prospects have that kind of potential, complete with helpful stats even if they don't "hit"?