Thursday, April 3, 2008

To Sit, Or Not To Sit

To sit, or not to sit... I will answer that question.

Once the baseball season begins, one of the most frustrating things from a fantasy standpoint is deciding who starts or sits for the current day.

When it comes to hitters, I have much less to think about than the average fantasy player. That's because most people have around 2-4 bench hitters. I have 1 to 2 tops on my teams. This is because bench hitter's serve no purpose except keeping your fantasy bench warm I guess. If you followed my draft strategy (obviously in the archives now) which was to go hitter heavy, your lineup should not consist of anyone close to the backup level. This means that my 1 or 2 bench guys are good but still significantly worse than anyone in my all-star lineup, thus pitching matchups (meaning who the batter is facing that night) are less decisive than their difference in skill. Basically, I go with the same hitting lineup everyday with the exception of a weaker player facing a Johan Santana.

In order to save yourself some unwanted frustration, decide right now what players you will sit in what situations. For example, tell yourself you will sit your bottom 3 pitchers against the top 5 offenses, no exceptions allowed. (we will talk about exceptions later) This lets you avoid all crazy "what if" situations that will be running through you head the next day.

Exceptions time. Please note an acceptable exception cannot be, "I just have one of those feelings Dave Bush will shut down the Phillies today, he always pitches great on 3rd Wednesdays of the month when the humidity is 58 percent." Those types of things shouldn't be taken into account if you have a life. My exceptions are very easy and logical. . .

There are two main exceptions actually, the first being changed expectations. For instance if you were lucky enough to draft...ehrm... Dan Haren last year, perhaps in the beginning of the season you were a little wary of starting him against dominant teams. However after a great first couple of months, its safe to say your expectations for him have changed, thus your start/sit rules for him must change as well. I think you can understand how that would work this year without me having to give an example.

The other exception occurs in Head-to-Head leagues under specific conditions. Let's say your pitching has been good for the past week and you are dominating wins and K's, and are barely winning in ERA and WHIP. The day is Sunday, and you have Dustin McGowan starting against the Pirates, and your opponent has no starters starting. Normally you would start Dustin "Sideburns" McGowan against the lowly Pirates, but since this situation is special you do not. Pitching him would risk you losing Era and Whip,while virtually having no upside, except for confidence from dominance, which really doesn't help you unless your the kind who likes to brag. Just keep McGowan on the bench, nothing to sophisticated going on here.

Basically, don't decide on some weird gut emotion you have to start or sit one of your lesser pitchers against a dominant offense, rather make firm preset rules and stick to them unless one of the exception situations apply.

In the meantime, enjoy the season and make sure to not be that one asshole in every league that doesn't follow.



Update: If you visit your Yahoo league today, you'll see this message across the top of your league page:

Matchup Ratings: All players now have 5-star ratings and a detailed note from the experts at Inside Edge, a leading professional scouting service. View these ratings on your team page Research tab, or in the News & Expert Advice section.

I checked the "5-Star Rating" for my players, and found it very arbitrary. I tried to find the "detailed note" to see what their ratings were based on and couldn't find them. Right now I don't think the rating system should be taken into account.

Update 2: This has nothing to do with the Yahoo update above, but this is just a note I forgot to include in the article. It has been proven, although I don't have the exact percentages and such, it was proven that players coming off a bad game or start have a higher chance of doing bad their next game or start. This means that if one of your pitchers has had a 9 Era over their past 2 starts, do not think they "are due" for a good game. Players are naturally streaky, so ride out those hot streaks and try to limit their cold ones. No player is ever due for anything, just keep that in mind.

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