I am a big believer in having a couple of excellent set-up guys in on team. Three top notch set-up guys will give you a better WHIP/ERA, more Ks and as many wins in the same ammount of innings as an elite SP. In an acution league, I am willing to trade-off some flexibility in terms of roster slots to get this kind of performance for $6 total. The added benefit from a keeper league perspective is that many of these top nothc set-up guys sooner or later become closers (Lidge, Dotel, FRod, Mota, etc.) or get save opportunities in the team's closer is injured.
So, who does everyone think may fit this bill for 2005? My thoughts are:
Valverde, ARZ (if Aquino closes)
I absolutely live by this strategy now. For pitchers in roto leagues it is imperitive you go by their stats per IP. Just because a pitcher isnt a closer or a starter doesnt mean they arent valuable. Last yr in the Cafe Challenge league I rode the two Minny setup men all yr. Check out this stat line:
Of course Santana put up much better %s, but the Minny combo's %s were nothing to sneeze at - barely over 3 ERA and a WHIP under 1.2 for roughly 150 IP - Ill take that, especially considering both players were picked up off waivers.
This is one of the most underused strategies in FBB, and I for one would love it to stay that way.
The problem with that strategy is wins are often hard to come by (you got lucky with Rincon), and you need to use 2 to 3 times as many roster spots to get the same production. With IP limits, that shouldn't be a big problem though. It's definately a good idea to have a couple great middle relievers on your roster instead of a couple crappy SP's with high ERA's.
"Jack, will you call me, if you're able?"
"I've got your phone number written, in the back of my Bible."
wow, i didnt realize Romero and Rincon combined for that. but i agree, rp W's are usually a lucky statistic and its best to go by who you think will put up good k/9, era, and whip numbers.. a couple of guys im looking at are Luis Vizcaino, Rafael Betancourt, Jesse Crain, and George Sherrill (mariners)
I'll disagree that luck is involved. Using 2-3 RPs smooths the risk involved with individual win totals that are lower than expected. It also smooths the risk involved with individual ERA and WHIP totals that way off projections on the negative side. Moreover, the risk of catastrophic injury destroying your return on investment is smoothed as well. In a nutshell, an additional advantage to the RP strategy is that disperses risk by reducing the impact of negative events.
Besides, is luck not involved with SPs to a large extent when we are talking about win totals? More importantly, on a per innings pitched basis, a top-tier RP will bring home more wins that most SPs anyway, so even if you are correct that your chances are higher for an outlier win total, why should that matter if the average return is still a little better?
Rincon and Romero are great example of this. Frankly, they where hardly the best combo available in terms of RPs (Romero got docked down to AAA for godsake), but they still performed better than almost every SP for pennies on the dollar.
Im not going to concede Ws from a RP are entirely lucky. Sure luck plays a part, as it has a hand in almost everything, but at the same time, some RP are placed into situations where the likelyhood that they get a decision is greater than some random RP from the bullpen. Getting 2 or 3 Ws is lucky, but when you have guys like Rincon, TJones (8W in 57IP before he went to PHI), TGordon, Mota, Madson, Shields, Otsuka, and Marte, whos job it is to come in during crucial situations, the probability they get a W is relatively high - obviously higher than many SPs (W/IP). Combine that with great k/9 for many of them and relatively low %s and those IP they use up become very valuable - much more than an average SP.
I do agree that having to use 2-3 roster spots on them is a definite drawback, but I dont find that it is that big of a negative considering the benefit they provide.
I use this strategy too. Rheal Cormier was a steal for me a couple of years ago.
Most of the good ones have been named already. I would wait to see where Kline ends up. I'm not convinced that he wouldn't be an ok closer at some point even though he has failed at that job in the past. He will put up decent numbers.
Of course there is also Gordon, Takatsu, Linebrink and Madson.