Fantasy Baseball 2008 – Pitcher Draft

Given the basic league scoring rules I posted in Fantasy Baseball 2008 – Introduction, a few interesting observations come to light.

In the 40 man league we can see that there are 4 statistical categories that favor releivers and 3 that favor starts. For relievers, especially closers:

  • S – Saves
  • WHIP – (Walks + Hits) /Innings Pitched
  • K/BB – Strikeout to Walk Ratio
  • ERA – Earned Run Average

Saves should be obviously a reliever stats. WHIP should seam reasonable as a reliever stat as well, but to back it up with some data of the top 25 pitchers in projected WHIP, 23 are relievers and only 2 are starters, Johan Santana (7th) and Jake Peavy (20th). J.J. Putz, Jonathon Papalbon and Takashi Saito are the top three relievers, all with projected 0.92 WHIP. K/BB is a little more evenly distributed between the top 25, with SP edging RP 13 to 12. However, of the top 10 there are 8 RP and only 2 SP, and the numbers drop off quickly. For example the top K/BB projection is 5.46 for Rafael Batencourt, 10th is Bob Howry, at 4.20 and 25th is Scott Baker (SP) at 3.51. ERA might not seem as obvious but, considering their role relievers consistantly put up great ERA numbers. Of the top 25 ERA projections there are only 3 SP, Johan Santana (16th), Jake Peavy (20th) and Brandon Webb (23rd). The top 3 relievers are Jonathan Pabelbon, J.J. Putz, and Joe Nathan. By comparision Pabelbon is projected at a 2.00 ERA where Webb is projected at 3.10.

Starting pitchers have two obvious statistical categories in their favor, W (wins) and K (strikeouts). The final category PCT (winning percentage) is pretty much a toss up between relievers and starters. Looking at the projections, Justin Verlander is looking at a 0.720 PCT (18/7), while J.J. Putz is looking at a 0.714 PCT (5/2).

Given all of this info it is clear that a team could dominate by selecting the top closers and avoiding starting pitchers. This is not quite what I did, but here is what I did do.

PLAYER TEAM POS W S K ERA WHIP W% K/BB
J.J. Putz SEA RP 5 40 77 2.130 0.92 0.714 5.13
Takashi Saito LAD RP 3 35 74 2.250 0.92 0.500 4.35
C.C. Sabathia CLE SP 17 0 191 3.320 1.17 0.654 4.44
Justin Verlander DET SP 18 0 188 3.460 1.21 0.720 3.08
Chien-Ming Wang NYY SP 17 0 103 3.720 1.30 0.680 1.78
John Maine NYM SP 15 0 185 3.920 1.31 0.577 2.43
Jeff Francis COL SP 16 0 163 4.160 1.34 0.615 2.55
Phil Hughes NYY SP 13 0 139 4.120 1.33 0.650 2.17
Jake Westbrook CLE SP 14 0 111 4.150 1.36 0.583 1.91

Notice, I have more SP than I originally planned. This was mostly due to the fact that once I started picking up RP other owners realized what I was doing and snatched up the better ones quick. So I addapted a little and switched to SP. I think this is good overall given that SP are more prone to injury than RP. I will definately need depth at SP. By my rankings I was able to pickup 5 of the top 25 pitchers with 3 more in the top 75 only Jake Westbrook lies out of my top 100, and he had a great outing yesterday in spring training going 6 innings, 8 K, 0 H, 0 BB, 0.00 ERA. Overall in spring training he is 3-0 with 14 IP and an ERA of 0.00.

The 21 man league was quite different. The roster for the 40 man league is set once a week. However, daily changes are available in the 21 man league. Therefore, I am able to get 2 or 3 extra starts a week based on rotation and matchups. Two of the 7 statistical categories in this league are irrelevant, CG and SHO. The league leader in SHO Brandon Webb had 3 SHO with 4 CG, only Roy Halladay has more CG at 7. It just doesn’t make sense to chase these categories since they happen so infrequently. Saves and Wins are again RP and SP categories respectively. K and L are largely SP dominated while ERA is RP dominated. Personally, I feel this leagues pitching categories are a little goofed. As I stated before, the key to pitching in this league is getting as many starts a week as possible. That being said here is how my draft went.

PLAYER TEAM POS W L CG SHO SV K ERA
Jake Peavy SD SP 19 6 0 0 0 240 2.54
Dan Haren ARI SP 15 9 0 0 0 192 3.07
Takashi Saito LAD RP 2 1 0 0 39 78 1.40
Bobby Jenks CWS RP 3 5 0 0 40 56 2.77
Fausto Carmona CLE SP 19 8 2 1 0 137 3.06
Jeff Francis COL SP 17 9 1 1 0 165 4.22
Oliver Perez NYM SP 15 10 0 0 0 174 3.56
Dontrelle Willis DET SP 10 15 0 0 0 146 5.17
Ubaldo Jimenez COL SP 4 4 0 0 0 68 4.28

Notice I included my reserves, Dontrellee Willis and Ubaldo Jimenez, since I will be trying to pitch them each week as well. Ubaldo may look like a week pick, but remember he only pitched 82 innings last year and should pitch 180 or more this year. Dontrelle might also seem like a weak pick. I picked him up due to his move to Detroit, which should give him plenty of run support this year. I think he will have a much better year this year than last year. I would like to trade Jenks for Pabelbon or Putz, but I’m sure that will need to be a multi-player deal.

My next column will address the hitters and the strategies I took into each draft.

Until next time–

3Monkeys

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