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Winning with just pitching?

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Winning with just pitching?

Postby jcde7ago » Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:29 am

Is this possible? And i guess this would apply mostly to 5 x 5 head-to-head leagues.

I ask only because tonight i decided to do an ESPN league, which i normally hate, from the layout and just everything. But i gave it a try, and one person was drafting all of the elite pitchers and closers and he ended up with the likes of Johan, Peavy, Verlander, Hamels, Beckett, Papelbon, Putz, K-Rod, Street, etc. He explained he wanted to do something ridiculous and try to win out all of the pitching categories every week, and just remain competitive with average and possibly stolen bases.

I won't even be bothered to list or copy and paste his offense cause it's entirely mediocre. I am just wondering if this is even an effective strategy, or one that's even plausible enough to apply unless you were absolutely crazy. I've never seen anyone take on a pitching-over-offense approach and win a league...but have any of you guys seen it happen? I know offense is obviously what a team should be built around, and that offensive numbers are produced by players on a daily basis, whereas pitchers are every fifth day. But think about if everyone else in the league also only had 5-6 pitchers, how do they keep up and match up against 5 stud pitchers who are going to dominate in every category? Do you just pray that your opponents pitchers get rocked every time out? I mean pitching stats are half of the head-to-head categories. What are some of you guys' thoughts on this?
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Re: Winning with just pitching?

Postby GiantsFan14 » Thu Mar 06, 2008 5:26 am

in a real competitive money league this probably wouldnt stand a chance...in a free espn league, he might be able to pull it off

basically this would only be something i would try if i was just having fun and messing around, not if i seriously wanted to win
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Re: Winning with just pitching?

Postby Montana » Thu Mar 06, 2008 7:09 am

I'm actually interested to hear what his bats did end up looking like.....


.....was he able to add considerable steals late?......enough to win the cat most weeks?......high average speedsters + stud pitching.......can get you an awful lot of 6-3 or 6-4 weeks.
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Re: Winning with just pitching?

Postby Inukchuk » Thu Mar 06, 2008 7:56 am

I think many would dismiss this strategy as nonsense, but it actually seems that since pitchers are always being considered the riskier half of fantasy baseball, their value gets downgraded a bit more than perhaps it should. All this might lead to some nice overall values.

I always wondered that even though Johan consistently sat atop the "hallowed" ESPN player rater, experts never pushed for him to go #1 overall. While part of that is probably the fact that it's ESPN (I swear, is it just me, or is Matthew Berry the biggest tool in fantasy sports column history? He makes Brad Evans seem funny by comparison...yikes), it does raise a valid point: with hitters dominating the first 5-6 rounds, it becomes possible to break from the pack and build a dominant pitching staff. In a head to head league, worrying about whose hitters are better on a week to week basis becomes a moot point. All you need to do is win 1 or 2 cats. Since your pitching is clearly better than your opponents, you don't need to worry about it.

The one obvious caveat is the uncertainty of pitching from year to year. Conventional wisdom says there is much more that can go wrong with pitchers than hitters. It really seems like a boom or bust strategy, but if you can work the wire effectively over the course of the season, and your staff stays relatively healthy, there is chance this could work for you.
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Re: Winning with just pitching?

Postby BronXBombers51 » Thu Mar 06, 2008 9:21 am

A kid did this in my league last year and finished dead last....and then he tried it again this year. It just doesn't work. Most of the top-flight SPs don't live up to their expectations anyway. You need an offense to win from my experience. You can always find a breakout pitcher on the WW and new closers to pick up saves.
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Re: Winning with just pitching?

Postby hot4tx » Thu Mar 06, 2008 9:26 am

Those high-steals, high-average guys don't come at the end of the draft. I think any manager worth his salt would see what this guy's doing and strategize for him. Bench his Adam Dunn types that would pull down his average, pickup one or two good IF or OFs that gets steals for the week he plays this guy, and let the rest of his roster out-muscle him. That and/or load up on 2-start pitchers for the week to take Ws and Ks.

It is an interesting strategy but if the other guys are paying attention they can work around him, whereas he has no way to change his strategy other than trading.
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Re: Winning with just pitching?

Postby Pogotheostrich » Thu Mar 06, 2008 10:02 am

It can work in roto but I wouldn't want to try it in H2H unless it was weekly moves. If you are up against a team with some 2 start pitchers or they are streaming you are going to lose.
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Re: Winning with just pitching?

Postby Ender » Thu Mar 06, 2008 10:22 am

In H2H you still won't win pitching every week, the samples are just too small and a team of gimpy guys can get hot and take ERA/WHIP away from you and a team who piles on 2 start guys can take K's and W's from you.

In Roto it doesn't work because there are ways to get good pitching stats out of mediocre pitchers. Hitting and pitching are two very different things in Roto. Hitting has a games played limit and you can only start one player per position a day so you more or less have to start someone at the position almost every day. You can't just sit a guy because he is facing a tough pitcher unless you have a high upside backup that can fill in for him. Even if you do try to sit a batter against good pitchers or just play a batter against poor pitchers you get pretty mixed results.

Pitching doesn't work like this, you could go the first half of the season without putting a pitcher in your starting lineup and still hit your innings limit. You can take a mediocre SP and only have him face mediocre offenses in a hitters park and come out with a very strong pitching line. You can go with waiver wire RPs and still compete in ERA and WHIP and K per IP against the very best starters in the game.

I could not draft a single pitcher until the 18th round and still get significant points in pitching by playing the system, it would be risky and I'd never go out of my way to do it but it is still possible. You just can't do that with hitting.
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Re: Winning with just pitching?

Postby Spidey » Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:44 am

I thought about trying this in yahoo this year, take the top 5 or 6 starters and top 4 closers and see what happens. Playoffs have a tye breaker rule of era, so you could conceivable finish each week 5 to 5 and probably make the playoffs, then also finish each playoff game 5 to 5 and take the tie breaker. But, that really wouldn't be any fun, so didn't bother trying it out.
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Re: Winning with just pitching?

Postby MTUCache » Thu Mar 06, 2008 11:51 am

This sounds like a good way to give yourself heartburn every week...

Even when you are throwing the top five starters out there every week, all it takes is one bad outing at the beginning of the week to ruin your ERA/WHIP stats, and then the other guy can literally sit with no pitching and CRUSH you in all five offensive cats and two pitching.

Other weeks, if you're off to a good start, there's no reason for your opponent not to stream against you, so you'll be losing Wins and probably Ks while you dominate ERA/WHIP.

Pitching, with so much flexibility between SP, RP, SP/RP, and open slots every day to play with allows for too much strategy against you. Weekly lineups this might be okay, but in a daily you'd get shelled.

Add to that the possibility of one (or two) of your pitchers going down for any length of time, all of whom are completely irreplacable off the WW (unlike hitters), and you could be getting crushed 7-3 or 8-2 every week.

No thanks. I'll stick to getting 6 games per week out of my offensive guys. :p
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