Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Min/Max Innings Pitched Limits

Almost every league you will be in this year will have a poorly set minimum innings pitched limit, which you the savvy player can take fair advantage of.

If the minimum innings pitched limit in your league is set too low (esp in H2H leagues) my strategy is to draft one elite pitcher in round 3, 4, or 5, and then one more pitcher in either rounds 8, 9, or 10. After that, your done with Sp and from there just draft the best middle relievers (Broxton, Betancourt, Pena, Okajima, Bell, plus a few others). Your pitching staff will only be comprised of those 2 Sp's and Mr's. It will look something like Brandon Webb, Roy Oswalt, and then any combination of at least 2-3 of the middle relievers I listed above. Your era and whip will be sick. Your welcome.

A limit I consider low is anywhere from no minimum up to about 20 a week. With the strategy mentioned above, you should definitely win era and whip most weeks while most likely losing wins, k's, and saves. If your league has a stat like k:bb, or k/9 , this strategy works even better because you'll most likely take that as well. Since you've made a small investment on pitching, your hitting should be good enough to net you at least 3 categories a week. If you take 4 of them, good job, you've won that week.

In a league where the min is set relatively high (Notice how I said relatively high instead of too high. That is because I believe in high minimum innings pitched limits) you should value pitchers more in your draft. If you've read my other articles on drafting strategy, you'll know I don't value pitching very high. In fact, in most of my leagues my first pitcher taken was Rich Hill somewhere in the low double-digit rounds. So when I say "I will value pitching more," that does not mean take Santana or Peavy. It just means be more aware that you must actually build a staff of quality pitchers. Rich Hill might still be my first pitcher taken, but I'll make sure to take guys like Ian Snell, McGowan, Shields, Vazquez, Cain, Lilly, Billingsley, and Wainwright in the following rounds.

Personally, I feel maximum innings pitched limits are unnecessary. Pitching is already devalued in leagues, so why devalue it more by placing a max limit? There are so many pitchers, that if you force teams to only play 2-3, you'll end up in a league with Zack Greinke and Jeff Francis on the f/a market. Stupid.

I will admit there is a purpose to max innings pitched limits, and that is to prevent people from "streaming" pitchers. For those who don't know, streaming involves adding pitchers that are pitching that day and then dropping them the next day for whoever is pitching then. The skill of the pitcher doesn't matter because the strategy is to just to compile as many wins and k's as possible, while bombing Era and Whip. This strategy lets you almost split the pitching categories without having to invest in pitching at all. In order to prevent streaming in your league either place a moves limit, or simply make a "gentleman's agreement" with the people in your league not to stream. Problem solved! Once again there is no reason for a max innings limit so forget about them.

If you can tell by what I've said so far, I feel a good min innings limit is anywhere from 35-50. The higher the limit, the more you should value pitching.

Also, just because you've already had your draft doesn't mean this doesn't apply to you. If you check your settings and see your league has a 15 min innings pitched limit and you own Beckett, Verlander, Haren, and King Felix, then go trade 2 or 3 of them to bolster your hitting knowing that your pitching will hold its own.

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