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Subject: Draft Question
Date: Mon, 16 Mar 98 15:30:25 CST
To: roto@baseballprospectus.com

    Keith,

    In a 4x4 NL only draft with 10 teams and 9 active pitchers. Does it make
    sense to draft only a few starters and many good relievers, like setup men.
    After the closers are gone and the stud SP, to me getting several good RP
    helps my ERA and WHIP, may get some wins and saves, but only sacrifices
    some wins. After the stud SP are gone, most SP will put up higher ERA and
    WHIP. Would a 4 SP 5 RP be a good strategy especially if I can draft a
    solid stud like Maddux or Schilling? We have a maximum of 181 starts
    and 900 inning minimum.

    Thanks

    Major Rotogeek
    US Army


Dear Major Major:

That’s usually my strategy as well: Three good starters, one gamble
starter, one closer, and four $1-2 relievers who are likely to turn
into closers or starters by the end of the season – and who can
provide you with a nice $1 keeper the next season for your rotation.
Butch Henry was one last year, as was Felix Heredia. Mark Hutton,
Ricardo Rincon, and Bill Simas all come to mind this year.

Three solid starters who cost as much as five less-solid starters will
likely give you a lower ERA and Ratio out of your rotation, and the
$1-2 relievers who fill the gap generally don’t pitch enough innings
or pitch poorly enough to drive your numbers back up to the stratosphere.
In the tightest leagues, you can usually get a $1 lefty setup guy whose
30-40 innings a year won’t hurt you, but most leagues see reliable
middle relievers with no chance at saves go for $1-$2.

The “gamble starter” is for the most risk-loving roto owners. Jeff
Suppan, a gamble starter I have at $2 in LABR this year (where you
might argue my entire rotation comprises gamble starters), has a
pretty high upside, but also might just post another 5.50 ERA if
he doesn’t take a step forward. If you take one of those guys, but
hedge that bet with three relatively solid starters in front of him,
you won’t suffer this year if he blows up, but you’ll get a nice
keeper for next year if he shines.

-Keith Law
Baseball Prospectus Fantasy Editor

You can send email to Keith at
roto@baseballprospectus.com.