Flyman75

2019 Fantasy Strategy Thread

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If this belongs in another thread, please feel free to move it, mods. I looked and didn't see just a "strategy" thread other than one started in 2017. I saw draft strategy threads. So I thought I'd just start this one. 

[Ed. note: If a thread doesn't exist, you can always create one.  Let's use this as the 2019 catch-all Fantasy Strategy thread.]

Anyhoo...we all know that Tampa employed the opener strategy last year, and now it appears that Baltimore is thinking about doing the same. I guess my question is twofold. Is this something you believe will proliferate across MLB and become a widespread strategy by MLB teams? If so, how do we as fantasy owners begin to adjust to this and adjust to the affect it will have on the game?

I guess threefold question...does this even matter in the fantasy realm? Except for in extremely deep leagues, it seems that the SPs who are being replaced by openers are probably not guys who will typically be owned by teams with the typical fantasy pitching staff. 

I just thought I'd get a discussion going on it. It doesn't seem like it's going to go away anytime soon, so how do we as fantasy players adjust to it (or do we)? 

 

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Like I said when I posted about Baltimore's announcement, it screws up QS as a stat in deeper leagues.  If the Opener thing grows it could intrude eventually into the high grade pitchers as well as it becomes the norm.  This is the thin edge of the wedge. 

Just as the "closer" is starting to wane in MLB (firemen and match-ups growing - Cincy the latest to go there about a week ago); the "opener" is starting to wax.

Edited by The Big Bat Theory
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Last year Ryan Yarbrough won 16 games. Only 2 of his wins were starts and he only threw 5+ IP in 7 of them. That’s where the potential adjustment is - guys who follow openers could be real valuable at a time when starters are throwing the needed 5 IP for a win less and less.

Now Yarbrough isn’t real exciting, and Orioles followers wouldn’t be either. But if a team like the Astros started doing it and brought in McHugh, Peacock, James etc. for 3-4 innings after an opener, now we’re getting somewhere.

Of course league settings would have a big impact on how useful those guys could be. If you have weekly lineups you might prefer a traditional SP who will log more innings. And if your league has SP/RP distinctions that gets tricky as well. I guess it kills QS too, but I hate that category anyway.

I don’t think this is something you can really plan for in the draft just yet because there’s not enough teams doing it, but I am definitely going to keep an eye out for potential wire gems that follow openers.

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Is this something you believe will proliferate across MLB and become a widespread strategy by MLB teams?

- I don't believe so, at least not at this point. If TB goes out and sets the world on fire (becomes a playoff/WS contender) I assume more teams will follow. I think TB did this in part because it fit their roster/situation. But what if TB had 5 guys they felt could go 5+ innings of solid work (if they had some decent SP's)? Think they'd still be trying the opener strategy? Is it a coincidence that 2 of the worst teams are trying this (TB and BAL)?

 

If so, how do we as fantasy owners begin to adjust to this and adjust to the affect it will have on the game?...does this even matter in the fantasy realm?

- The beginning (like now) is to stay away from those teams SP's (in standard, and roto). Otherwise, target guys like you always would (good ERA/WHIP/K ratios, hope for wins).  And if it catches on and spreads, yes it will have a big impact to fantasy.

 

If we're talking standard 5x5 for example. I'd think the top tier SP's will become super valuable. Trying to pile up K's and Wins isn't conducive to the opener scenario.

 

If lots of teams started doing the "opener", would the good SP's on teams that aren't doing the opener cost a ton? Assume they'll be the K, W, QS leaders (and potentially ERA/WHIP as well - they become almost like the coveted 5 cat hitters).

 

If it really catches on and the majority of teams do it, I think fantasy will have to evolve with it. Do away with SP and RP position and it becomes only P position for all pitchers. Do away with wins and QS cats. QS become rare and wins become a total crap shoot. Maybe create new cats? It's a huge fantasy impact if it spreads through the whole league. Or maybe there will be a role for pitchers that come in after the opener and they will start logging 5+ innings you can count on. Depends on if it's just a bunch of pitchers logging <5 innings, and how can you anticipate who will get wins?

 

Of course totally depends on league format. And depends how many clubs implement the opener. For now I'm not reacting to it in my fantasy plans.

 

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Looking at the math - lets take a standard 5x5 Season Long Roto 12-team league.   Assuming traditional 9 active pitchers, my guess is its probably on average 7 starters per team, so that is 84 starters.  Traditionally there are 150 rotation spots in the bigs, 5-man rotation with 30 teams.    So assuming this is used by a few teams and maybe the backside of their rotations, I think at most you might have 15 "openers"?   Really does not impact the fantasy game in standard sized leagues as the guys being opened for were likely waiver wire fodder. 

* I think deeper mixed and "only" leagues - especially ones with a QS component get impacted. 

* I think you might get a few beneficiaries like a Yarborough and his 16 wins.  

 

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1 hour ago, The Big Bat Theory said:

Like I said when I posted about Baltimore's announcement, it screws up QS as a stat in deeper leagues.  If the Opener thing grows it could intrude eventually into the high grade pitchers as well as it becomes the norm.  This is the thin edge of the wedge. 

 

Why?  Isnt a QS considered 6 innings pitched with 3 or less earned runs allowed?  Where does it state that the first inning has to be involved?  Unless the term "starting" pitcher is only used for the pitcher in the 1st AB.  If thats the case, then I see a different type of stat like QA Quality Appearance being utilized.  I will agree that Wins are becoming a thing of the past in fantasy baseball and its only a matter of time when they are not used at all anymore.  

 

Quality Start (QS)

Definition

A starting pitcher records a quality start when he pitches at least six innings and allows three earned runs or fewer. A starting pitcher has two jobs: to prevent runs and get outs. The quality start statistic helps to quantify which pitchers did a "quality" job in those two departments.

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Thanks.  And here I thought Quality Start meant that, a start.  Hah. 

But still with an opener and relievers and firemen and set-up guys and closers it is doubtful many pitchers will be going 6 innings anymore.  They will be lucky to get in five innings even.

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16 minutes ago, TheTruth024 said:

 

Why?  Isnt a QS considered 6 innings pitched with 3 or less earned runs allowed?  Where does it state that the first inning has to be involved?  Unless the term "starting" pitcher is only used for the pitcher in the 1st AB.  If thats the case, then I see a different type of stat like QA Quality Appearance being utilized.  I will agree that Wins are becoming a thing of the past in fantasy baseball and its only a matter of time when they are not used at all anymore.  

 

Quality Start (QS)

Definition

A starting pitcher records a quality start when he pitches at least six innings and allows three earned runs or fewer. A starting pitcher has two jobs: to prevent runs and get outs. The quality start statistic helps to quantify which pitchers did a "quality" job in those two departments.

 

I'm guessing BBT knows what a QS is :P

 

I think the assumption is most pitchers in the opener scenario are logging <5-6 innings.

.

Edited by Members_Only_76

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14 minutes ago, TheTruth024 said:

 

Why?  Isnt a QS considered 6 innings pitched with 3 or less earned runs allowed?  Where does it state that the first inning has to be involved?  Unless the term "starting" pitcher is only used for the pitcher in the 1st AB.  If thats the case, then I see a different type of stat like QA Quality Appearance being utilized.  I will agree that Wins are becoming a thing of the past in fantasy baseball and its only a matter of time when they are not used at all anymore.  

 

Quality Start (QS)

Definition

A starting pitcher records a quality start when he pitches at least six innings and allows three earned runs or fewer. A starting pitcher has two jobs: to prevent runs and get outs. The quality start statistic helps to quantify which pitchers did a "quality" job in those two departments.

Says it right there in the definition, "A starting pitcher records a quality start when..." So a pitcher doesn't get a quality start unless he starts the game. 

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I guess one impact could be in the way teams construct their staffs.From a fantasy standpoint, we may see owners targeting these guys to put in their RP slots and take advantage of some extra wins. If you can get 140-150 innings and 12-15 wins from the POR in an "opener" situation and slot him in as a RP, that theoretically could give you some extra wins, correct? And these pitchers probably wouldn't be relegated to pitching every 5th day. If they're only pitching the 2nd-5th or 2nd-6th, then it's possible they could have 40-45 such outings over the course of the year rather than just 30-32 starts. Am I off in that thinking? 

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I think its sort of already become mainstream, just not an every day use of it. At some point probably every team last year used a "bullpen game" where it had an Opener and then probably a long guy going 3 innings and then a bunch of 1 inning outings. As it effects fantasy, it probably won't for any legit starters. If having a relief pitcher with SP eligibility is of any value in your league then it has that impact. Problem is most of the teams doing it frequently are doing it with bad players. Owning Sergio Romo was not beneficial to anyone, even in leagues where the SP label is important for relievers. 

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4 minutes ago, Flyman75 said:

I guess one impact could be in the way teams construct their staffs.From a fantasy standpoint, we may see owners targeting these guys to put in their RP slots and take advantage of some extra wins. If you can get 140-150 innings and 12-15 wins from the POR in an "opener" situation and slot him in as a RP, that theoretically could give you some extra wins, correct? And these pitchers probably wouldn't be relegated to pitching every 5th day. If they're only pitching the 2nd-5th or 2nd-6th, then it's possible they could have 40-45 such outings over the course of the year rather than just 30-32 starts. Am I off in that thinking? 

 

Depends on usage but I'd highly doubt anyone is getting 40 chances after the opener. If it does happen then you aren't wrong, and there could potentially be a 20 game winner doing that. How can anyone before a draft determine who that will be though?

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10 minutes ago, Flyman75 said:

And these pitchers probably wouldn't be relegated to pitching every 5th day. If they're only pitching the 2nd-5th or 2nd-6th, then it's possible they could have 40-45 such outings over the course of the year rather than just 30-32 starts. Am I off in that thinking? 

For now I don't see that happening. As long as teams are still using some traditional starters, those guys will throw every 5th game and others will sort of have to fall into that pattern around them.

I do think in the long term, teams having no traditional starters and guys making lots of 3-4 inning appearances is possible. But we're probably at least a few years out from that.

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Ariel Cohen, Fangraphs: The Case for an Ace

Quote

Obviously, if the ace that you selected in 2018 was Madison Bumgarner, your team started in a large hole. On the other side – if you selected Trevor Bauer, you certainly had a fantastic edge on the competition. But in general – you would have been wise in 2018 to acquire elite arms when possible.

It is not a guarantee that doing so once again in 2019 will provide the optimal use of one’s assets. At the same token, passing over the chance to grab an elite batter (in favor of an elite arm) may not fully work out either.

Certainly, if you have your favorite 3rd or 4th tiered pitcher, or mid-round sleeper to target in 2019 … go for it! You may have good reason to believe that a particular mid-level arm is undervalued and will break out.

But playing the percentages has historically indicated to us that the optimal way to allocate your starting pitching budget is to align yourself close to a “stars and scrubs” methodology. We aren’t all smart enough to know who will break out; sometimes it is best to play the numbers. Optimize your starting pitching spend by purchasing one or even two elite ace starters.

 

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The use of openers will also cut down the pool of available streamers (you know, guys who actually start and are hopeful of producing a QS).

 

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52 minutes ago, TheTruth024 said:

I will agree that Wins are becoming a thing of the past in fantasy baseball and its only a matter of time when they are not used at all anymore. 

I'm not so sure about this. The opener could actually revitalize the wins category, as it's a way for pitchers to get around the 5 IP requirement. We could see lots of Yarbroughs in the future. Whether that's a good thing and a reason to keep using wins is obviously debatable.

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Isn't the benefit of the opener for teams who don't have good pitching to begin with? 

 

Team says to itself, who can we start today that can get through more than a couple innings without getting blown up the 2nd/3rd time through the lineup? No one? Ok let's use a reliever to start the game and get through the lineup once (or less, for the first 3-6 batters in the lineup) and then switch to another guy based on matchups, etc.

 

Why will this spread and truly become a thing?

 

It's cute for teams like the Rays/Orioles who don't have enough good starters.

 

Honest question, why would all teams start doing this? Or would they only do this on days they don't have a good enough SP to roll out there? If then does that throw off their rotation/usage too much to be worth it?


Or is the opener truly a winning strategy for any team regardless of who is on their staff?

 

I'm already tired of the platoons and constant lineup tinkering, now this? Ugh.

 

I don't see it, but I'm over 40 so I'm like, ancient. Get off my lawn btw.

 

I'll be the old guy in the recliner talking to my son someday...

 

"Son, in my day, we had starting pitchers, pitchers had to hit in the NL and some teams even played the same lineup/batting order more than 1 day in a row"

"yeah dad, you told me 50 times already, get over it"

.

Edited by Members_Only_76
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Another tidbit of wisdom I have learned over the years that I would like to share concerns the 2 Util spot in standard Yahoo Leagues.

In auction leagues, it is a big mistake to pay for Util.  Similarly, in draft, save it for the later rounds.  I would only pay for Util if I got a tremendous bargain on a player, say more than 15 dollars cheaper than my projected cost, other than that, no way.

You want to keep the Util spot open.  The flexibility to park any position there is Extremely valuable.  

 

 

 

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7 hours ago, KingJoffrey said:

Another tidbit of wisdom I have learned over the years that I would like to share concerns the 2 Util spot in standard Yahoo Leagues.

In auction leagues, it is a big mistake to pay for Util.  Similarly, in draft, save it for the later rounds.  I would only pay for Util if I got a tremendous bargain on a player, say more than 15 dollars cheaper than my projected cost, other than that, no way.

You want to keep the Util spot open.  The flexibility to park any position there is Extremely valuable.  

 

 

 

 

I agree completely. Also in Yahoo and ESPN where 3 OF are required to start I try not to pay for it. I experienced this the hard way (also stubborn way) with Jason Heyward in his first year as a Cub he was my first util and 3rd OF at ESPN so I was constantly passing on adding OF's throughout the year which I would have added without Heyward.

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21 hours ago, Flyman75 said:

Says it right there in the definition, "A starting pitcher records a quality start when..." So a pitcher doesn't get a quality start unless he starts the game. 

 

So a pitcher cant "start" pitching in the 2nd inning?  By letter of the definition it doesnt say it has to be "start" of the game.  Just saying.  I know what common sense states

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44 minutes ago, TheTruth024 said:

 

So a pitcher cant "start" pitching in the 2nd inning?  By letter of the definition it doesnt say it has to be "start" of the game.  Just saying.  I know what common sense states

Come on now. If you go with that line a thought, every pitcher can be a "starter" because they "start" pitching in the game at some point. Feels like Bill Clinton trying to get a definition of the word "is". 

It's just the lowest of common senses...a "game started" means the pitcher started the game. I don't understand why you think a "game started" needs to be defined any further.

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Quote

In baseball, a quality start is a statistic for a starting pitcher defined as a game in which the pitcher completes at least six innings and permits no more than three earned runs. - Wikipedia

You really have to reach to think that a Quality Start can be applied to somebody following an opener. In case there is any other confusion, Jalen Beeks, a regular second pitcher on opener days last year, had 1 "Games Started" in 2018 out of 15 "Games" per Fangraphs. That 1 "Games Started" was with the Red Sox. They most definitely need to start the game.

Edited by Hanghow
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This is being discussed a little in the closer thread right now and I thought it was better suited to bring it here to get some opinions. With the landscape of the the traditional closer drying up how are people approaching saves this year? I suspect the answers will differ but I would like to hear both H2H and Roto opinions, though I prefer to play H2H myself.  

That being said in more recent years I have waited out the first closer run and gone for 1 or, at most, 2 middle of the pack closers. Then I seek out elite K% MRs later in the draft and normally end up with about 3-4 MRs in addition to my 6-7 SPs (most of my bench is pitching in H2H). I like how the higher innings, elite K's and ratios of these guys combine for ace-like numbers and sometimes they earn the right to close, which is just a bonus. Then I'll use these forums to seek out WW saves throughout the season. 

As a result I usually have one of the better teams in terms of pitching ratios, k's and wins while also competing in saves each week. Not spending money on those closers in the first run or 2 also allows me to load up on bats while others seek the saves. The one issue I have found with this is that often times these middle tier closers are the target of trades and wind up setting up on contending teams, thus leaving me scrambling for much of the summer for saves just to stay afloat each week in that category.

After all this thought, I may take this strategy a step further and only seek MRs and then play the WW using these threads to find closers. MRs I really like this year based on their composite ADP are Seranthony, Andrew Miller, Stripling (who may start), Betances, Chad Green, Trevor May, and Brad Peacock to name a few.

What are your thoughts?

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@BostonCajun In roto I like to go for 1 solid closer but not the top tier so I don’t have to pay a lot. Then a second closer who may be a little risky or under the radar for cheap. Then a couple guys who are going to give you good/great ratios and/or in the position to get saves behind the closer. 

 

For example:

Iglesias

Givens

Minter

Robertson (Strahm might start)

 

and of course lurk in the closer thread and play the wire!

Edited by Members_Only_76
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