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advice re:closers, starters, and middle relievers

advice re:closers, starters, and middle relievers

Postby barmstrong » Mon May 07, 2007 10:16 am

OK, This is my first year dabbling in fantasy baseball. The league I went with is head to head and offers the following for pitching points:
BBI - Walks Issued (Pitchers) -0.5 points
CG - Complete Games 5 points
ER - Earned Runs -1 point
HA - Hits Allowed -0.5 points
INN - Innings 2 points
K - Strikeouts (Pitcher) 1 point
S - Saves 10 points
W - Wins 10 points
My pitchers are as follows:
Beckett, Josh SP BOS
Escobar, Kelvim SP ANA
Hudson, Tim SP ATL
Kazmir, Scott SP TB
Okajima, Hideki RP BOS
Otsuka, Akinori RP TEX
Santana, Johan SP MIN
Clemens, Roger SP HOU
Gagne, Eric RP TEX
Lester, Jon SP BOS

I obviously am taking space with Lester and Clemens which could bite me during the coming month. I had Wickman and then went and picked up Gagne. For the coming week Texas is playing Yanks and Angels. I saw that someone else in my league has Brendan Donnelly and I scratched my head until I saw some pretty good points go up.

With that observation and watching Okajima I am thinking of putting in two middle relievers and getting some points for K's and Innings.

Is my thought process wrong in this case? Will this philosophy bite me? I am tied for last with 1 win and two loses. I got killed this past week because my hitters didn't know they should swing the bat.

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Postby Bklyn55 » Mon May 07, 2007 5:18 pm

Given your scoring, it seems that you would get more innings pitched from your starters, rather than middle relief pitchers. Most decent starters will give you 5-6 innings, whereas a MRP may go 2-3 innings and then turn over the game to a closer. If they win, its likely the starter will get the Win (10 pts) & the closer the save (also 10 pts).
Yes, a MRP may play every 2-3 days compared to a starter every 5 days, you probably still won't get the same total innings and points unless your starters are terrible.
Given Beckett's 6-0 (W/L) with 39+ IP and 35K's & your other SP's all have between 31+ - 53 IP for 32 starts, they are averaging over 6 innings each per start, with 19 W's. That doesn't leave many IP's for a MRP and/or closer.
Without knowing who is available as a MRP, there aren't too many RP with as many IP's and W's.
Unless you pick up a B Looper or De La Rosa, who both may be eligle as RP's but are starting, I'd wait until you see if Gagne returns for good then consider replacing Otsuka for a quality starter.
Also, I'd think about Clemens too. He may start in June or as late as July and won't find the AL as easy as the NL was, so his stats may not compare to last years. If you can find a Yankee fan in your league, Clemens could be packaged for a good trade (pitcher or batter?) now, given the Yankee's pitchung right now.
You don't indicate how often your roster changes or how many SP's and RP's you must start, or who's available on the waiver wire.
Those details might get you a better answer.

Good Luck.
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Re: advice re:closers, starters, and middle relievers

Postby JTWood » Mon May 07, 2007 5:35 pm

One of the most overlooked and crucial pieces of evaluating a points league is symmetry.

When you're doing symmetrical analysis of a points league, what you're actually doing is looking to see if it even exists. Symmetry in a points league exists if the average starter-worthy hitter produces roughly the same number of points as the average starter-worthy pitcher. (Note that "starter-worthy pitcher" refers to pitchers that would fill pitching slots, not necessarily starters). Symmetry also must be evaluated within each side of that equation in the form of a standard deviation. How much better is the best hitter/pitcher than the average?

This begs two obvious questions:
  1. Why do I want to do this evaluation?
  2. How do I go about doing this evaluation?
The answer to the first question is simple: You want to win, right? All scoring systems have an inherent predisposition. If you know that is, you can manipulate your roster in manner that produces the most points for you.

The answer to the second question is also simple, but the actual act is more or less complicated depending on your skill set. To go about evaluating your league scoring system, find a stat set with stats for every MLB player. Make sure that the stat set includes every category you score in. Dougstats puts out a good one. I recommend starting there.

Once you get all of the stats into Excel, put in a formula that derives the total points each player scored. I recommend doing this for at least the last 3 seasons so that your evaluation isn't skewed by an anomalous season. Once you have the total points for each player, calculate the score for the average hitter and pitcher. It's important that you do not calculate this average for all hitters and pitchers. Only include players that are potential starter candidates. This number will vary, but it's heavily dependent on the quality of your league.

For instance, if your 14-team league starts 8 hitters and 8 pitchers, that's 112 hitters and pitchers starting each week. However, no league has perfect owners. If your league has average owners, I recommend doubling your starters when calculating your average (so, 224 in this case). You can increase or decrease that number based on your perception of the quality of ownership in your league.

Cutting to the chase, let's say that your average hitter scores 250 points in a season, but your average pitcher scores 350 points. Guess what? Your scoring system favors pitchers by a whopping 40%. Now the logical thing to do is to stock up on all pitchers, but that may not be the right move. What if all pitchers score between 300 and 400 points and hitters score between 100 and 400 points? Stocking up on pitchers will give you marginal gain compared to a lineup stacked with the best hitters.

I know this answer is long-winded and doesn't specifically give you an answer to your question. I'm using the "teach a man to fish" technique here. If you know how to evaluate your league, you won't have to worry about asking others for help. You'll know what to do yourself. Unfortunately, this is the world of points fantasy baseball. Give it a shot. Analyze your league. Then try to make some WW moves or trades that will shift the focus of your team towards the predisposition of your league's scoring system.

Good luck, and if you need help performing the actual analysis, just shoot me a PM.

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Postby RynMan » Mon May 07, 2007 5:35 pm

Hey, Barmstrong. You might also want to post this in the Trade, Waiver section. You'll see it back in the index.
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Postby dmendro » Tue May 08, 2007 11:15 am

The biggest thing I could say would be to forget about Gagne. With his history of injuries, he' s ahuge risk to occupy that slot. Clemens will be back in a few weeks, and Lest should be called up sometime before June. Both are less of a risk then Gagne is.
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