Posts Tagged ‘Jeff Samardzija’
Hard to believe, but we’re into the final three weeks of the baseball season! If you’re in a head-to-head league, you’re either in the middle of your league’s playoff schedule or just about to start it. For those of you in rotisserie leagues there isn’t as much change in the daily standings as there was earlier in the season, but there’s still time to maximize your team’s point total and climb in the standings.
One often overlooked way to accomplish just that is through the use of Set-up men & Middle Relievers. For the most part I’m referring to set-up man, although there are several teams with pitchers in both roles who can help your team down the stretch (e.g. - the Chicago White Sox’ Octavio Dotel and Matt Thornton).
Such a strategy requires tradeoffs. Using a Set-up man or Middle Reliever instead of a Starting Pitcher will reduce your ability to accumulate Wins, although substituting a Set-up man or Middle Reliever from a good team for a Starting Pitcher on a bad team will often mitigate this impact. One of the two Starting Pitchers receives the victory in approximately 70% of all games, which leaves Long Relievers, Middle Relievers, Set-up men, and Closers to fight over the other 30%. Since they typically pitch 30-40% of the number of innings as Starting Pitchers, Middle Relievers and Set-up men also rack up fewer Strikeouts, although their strikeout rates per inning (or 9 innings, if you prefer) are often higher than those for Starting Pitchers.
The biggest advantage in using above average Set-up men & Middle Relievers over mediocre to sub-par Starting Pitchers comes in the ERA and WHIP categories, which are often overlooked, if not outright ignored by fantasy owners. Unlike the counting categories such as Wins and Strikeouts, a fantasy team’s ERA and WHIP can move in either direction. Obviously, you have little or no control over other owners’ lineup decisions, but I’ve found that at this point in the season, owners will often make questionable decisions with respect to Starting Pitchers in an effort to maximize Wins. These questionable decisions often come back to haunt the owners who make them - the Starting Pitcher fails to win the game and does long-term damage to his owner’s ERA and WHIP in the process.
While it may be tempting to go with a highly-touted September call-up as a Starting Pitcher (particularly if he has two starts in a given week), you’ll usually be better off going with a top-flight Set-up man or Middle Reliever if your goal is to improve your place in the standings. Just be aware of your league’s Minimum Innings Pitched requirement (if any) and make sure you’re likely to satisfy it before you decide to employ this strategy.
Here’s a list of some Set-up men and Middle Relievers who may be currently available in your league:
NL: Jon Rauch, Will Ohman, Carlos Marmol, Jeff Samardzija, Jared Burton, Joe Nelson, Arthur Rhodes, Hong-Chih Kuo, Brian Stokes, Joe Smith, J.C. Romero, and Heath Bell.
AL: Scot Shields, Jose Arredondo, Hideki Okajima, Octavio Dotel, Matt Thornton, Rafael Perez, Ramon Ramirez, Joba Chamberlain, Edwar Ramirez, Huston Street, Dan Wheeler, Grant Balfour, and Scott Downs.
Until next time,