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Winning with just pitching?

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Re: Winning with just pitching?

Postby J.C.Fighter » Thu Mar 06, 2008 12:05 pm

Drafting pitcher heavy is NOT a good idea. My friend's team was awful when he tried this strategy...
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Re: Winning with just pitching?

Postby dobie76 » Thu Mar 06, 2008 12:37 pm

I agree, there is still great value in pitching late in the draft where as offense is barely mediocre....
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Re: Winning with just pitching?

Postby Rhydderch » Thu Mar 06, 2008 1:29 pm

Ender wrote: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.


I don't play H2H, but for roto this is excatly what I think. Sometimes I fall 150+ innings behind in only the first half, but as I slowly add pitchers I make it up.
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Re: Winning with just pitching?

Postby RAmst23 » Thu Mar 06, 2008 2:54 pm

Ender wrote: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.


As is usually the case, Ender makes a great point.

It might be possible for this to work in H2H depending on the league format. If there were limited transactions for a team, then yea this might be an interesting strategy to try. I don't think you'll do great, but it would be an interesting experiment.

In roto you'll just get creamed. Balanced teams will outhit you while remaining strong in pitching categories. Say you win all the pitching categories (Highly unlikely even with this strategy), you would still need to do reasonably well in hitting without having any high draft pick hitters. Another problem with this strategy would be the lack of flexibility with your pitching staff. A WW relief pitcher steps up into the closer role for a team, well you won't be able to get him. You're stuck with your pitching staff of aces and RPs already. So someone else goes out and picks up saves, getting a great return for just using a waiver pick, and you're stuck.

If someone really wanted to try a pitching heavy strategy you would still need to spend at least one or two high draft picks on hitters and target some undervalued hitters. Maybe don't worry about AVG and go after power hitters who do little else than HR (Dunn, Swisher, Sexson, etc.) Then at least you can compete in the power categories, find some cheap steals, and hopefully win some with your pitching.
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Re: Winning with just pitching?

Postby Yoda » Thu Mar 06, 2008 3:15 pm

I am not sure why so many people are always wanting to do something extreme. Why not draft a balanced team that you can compete in every category?

I think you can focus on pitching and still win. If you focus on pitching early then you'll have to pick a lot of good hitters later on and get lucky on break out hitters to make up for it. I think this strategy would definitely work if everyone else is focused on hitting. Zig when they zag, zag when they zig.
Last edited by Yoda on Thu Mar 06, 2008 5:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Winning with just pitching?

Postby BitterDodgerFan » Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:02 pm

yea i never understood why people basically give up before the whole thing starts when everyone is on equal ground. punting cats mid-season when there is no chance overtaking the next guy above you is reasonable, but why handicap yourself to begin the season??
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Re: Winning with just pitching?

Postby jcde7ago » Thu Mar 06, 2008 4:51 pm

You guys all made some great points, and i too am in the majority with thinking that drafting this way is essentially a suicide mission from the get-go. And yes, most smart managers would easily circumvent this by constantly streaming pitchers and/or benching all of their pitchers for the entire week if his opponent's ERA/WHIP were to get ballooned by a bad outing or two. I was just interested on hearing some of you guys' experience with some people who may have tried this out in some of your leagues (which is why you should always play for money in fantasy i guess)!
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Re: Winning with just pitching?

Postby great gretzky » Thu Mar 06, 2008 5:34 pm

Man. This is related, but not exactly. I was drafting in a 12-team league this year, and had pick 12. Every elite hitter went, (except Soriano) and Santana was still there, so I felt I had to take him, lest someone basically get two first-rounders, not to mention he was the best player available. So at the wrap I took Santana and Crawford, being the best two choices. But let's just say it had a massive cascading effect, despite those being in my mind the best choices. (should have taken Soriano in hindsight, despite crawford being the bigger value player IMO). Well, it just kept happening that I was almost forced to respond to runs, and always had the choice of the worst batter of a given tier, or just taking the BPA, which kept happening to be pitchers. I figured rather than be mediocre, why the heck not? Granted, in H2H the sample size does vary, and people are wise to the way that pitching works in those leagues.

That being said, it could work, and I am wondering how this applies to roto? I don't want comment in the rate your team kind of way specifically, just can it work? (It seems in theory it should if you don't get injuries, its the same 50 percent of points.) I ended up with santana, verlander, shields, maine, mcgowan, carpenter, hoffman, accardo, cj wilson, izringhausen, broxton, pena (arizona). Molina, morneau, freddy sanchez, atkins, khalil greene, crawford, markakis, hawpe, adrian gonzalez.

I know why it shouldn't work in H2H, but that it could--just not likely, too variable. But in roto, with a truly stacked rotation, what is the prognosis?
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Re: Winning with just pitching?

Postby Chadgo5 » Thu Mar 06, 2008 6:16 pm

I go pitching heavy in my roto league every year and finish in the top 3 every year. Last year I won it all. But I don't go to extremes. I try to have a balance. In my 13 team league I had Peavy, Oswalt, Hamels, Smoltz and Maine as my top five starters. I dominated the pitching categories and was middle to lower tier in the offensive categories for most of the season. Towards the middle of the season I dealt Hamels and Maine to bump up my hitting and it worked. It always works. Becuase guys are desperate to gain any points they can in the pitching cats, meanwhile, I've built a big enough lead in those cats that I can afford to trade pitching and I get enough hitting in the draft to make sure I am middle of he pack.

I love having a dominant staff. It isn't hard to do as you can tell by this forum, NOBODY beleives in drafting pitching early. I take advantage of that.

I wonder... has anyone ever held a draft where there are essentially two drafts? The first for hitters and the second for pitchers.
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Re: Winning with just pitching?

Postby horatio » Thu Mar 06, 2008 6:33 pm

I think top tier pitching tends to be undervalued a bit because of the assumption that it's so easy to grab pitchers late that will fill in just fine.

If you've got good ranking and a good idea of where you would take certain pitchers, (i.e Santana 1st, Peavy 2nd, Webb & Beckett in the 3rd, Sabathia, Bedard, in the 4th, Verlander, Lackey, Hamels in the 5th etc,) and then identify the hitters that you would have to take before them if they fall to those particular rounds then you can put a priority on your favorite pitchers without making any stupid mistakes and letting hitters go when they are a jewel at that particular point in the draft.

If you identify later round hitters that you don't expect to be much worse than earlier drafted similar hitters then you'll likely have a nice advantage. For example, You got guys like Granderson, Rios, even Markakis going in the 3rd and early 4th, me I'd rather grab one of those top tier pitchers and then just grab Byrnes, Hart, or even Chris Young in the 5th through 8th rather than be looking at pitchers like Zambrano, Oswalt, Halladay, Felix - just my opinion.

People like to talk about high much risk there is with pitchers but let's not forget that Hafner, Atkins, Manny, Bay, Dye, VWells, Delgado, Konerko - basically sucked relative to the fact they all drafted by the end of the 4th round in most drafts last year.

You don't need to overdo the pitching priority though, 2 to 3 most likely aces should be enough to get the job done and still come out with a very good offense. In a H2H league, who cares if your opponent is streaming pitchers? Fight fire with fire; as long as you have some brains in figuring the best matchups from day to day with waiver wire pitchers you should still have good chance of coming out ahead. Figure, you've got Webb, Sabathia and maybe Verlander (that's 3rd, 4th, 5th round IMO still giving you two great hitters as a foundation) and then you get a guy later like, I don't know, say Chad Billingsley or Ted Lilly or whatever. You're facing a guy with Kazmir, Chris Young (SD), Vazquez and - what - Ian Snell; if you both stream pitchers I think you have a good chance of coming out on top given that streaming pitchers is a 50/50 game, it might go very well, it might go very badly, for either one of you.

Another nice thing about having top tier pitchers, provided they continue to perform at the top tier, (of course guys like Zambrano, Oswalt, Halladay who were mostly drafted in the 4th or 5th round at the latest last year did not, but you get the idea), I don't think you have to target the top tier closers then, and instead can grab those nice 2nd best hitters that you've identified in rounds 5 through 10. Just wait on the middle of the pack closers and you'll be just fine.

That's my theory anyway, hopefully the season won't prove my theory to be complete and utter crap.
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