Friday, March 6, 2009

Using Middle Relievers in Yahoo Leagues

As a follow up to the discussion about my Yahoo league, DT asked:

"Can you expand on this concept: 'and rotating middle relievers with good match-ups into my roster' Is this something you widely employ in roto leagues? What are some of the tips to employing it successfully? You don't draft any middle relievers, so are you just streaming? How much do you focus on their opponent? Since you would have to be picking up guys today for the game tomorrow, do you often get screwed by the guy then pitching today, making it less likely he will then pitch tomorrow? How much success have you had with this vs actually drafting good SPs? How reliant are you on subsequently picking up some good SPs for the long haul?"

I actually wrote an article at The Hardball Times this morning about Yahoo leagues where I discuss this in some detail, but here are the answers to DT's specific questions...

I employ it widely in leagues with similar format to Yahoo. Daily transactions are crucial. If rosters are very deep, it can still be useful, but probably needs to be implemented differently (with more MRs and more starting pitchers on the roster).

Here, I'll just be streaming middle relievers, so the strategy becomes tougher when a few other people in the same league are doing the same thing.

I focus a LOT on situational factors like opponents, parks, home field advantage, and more.

Most managers don't hesitate to use relievers two days in a row, so just avoid using someone who has already pitched back to back days and might have to go three days in a row.

The last time I made any effort in Yahoo leagues was 2004. I entered seven, used this strategy, and won all seven. I suspect that I couldn't have done this by simply drafting good starting pitchers and using them all season.

I'm not at all reliant on picking up good starting pitchers for the long haul. In fact, the key to using this strategy successfully is to recognize that only your best players are on your team for the 'long haul'. You're going to be dropping some pretty good players, and you need to be able to deal with the mental anguish of your opponents picking them up and getting good performance from some of them.

P.S. On a separate note...I'm still giving 4,000 player points ($4) at Draftbug and we've got a live draft basketball freeroll scheduled for tonight. Registration is free and takes less than a minute.


Anonymous said...

This was a great addition to the THT piece. Please forgive my questions over there, this was excellent.


CovetedNOPrizeWinnerWithOakLeafCluster said...

The advice on middle relievers is good, assuming people don't throw away their brains. 100 IP is a high number for a relief pitcher and 1250 IP is the standard Yahoo innings limit. So, to pitch as many innings as your competition, you want starting pitchers on your team, though, as you well understand, it only takes one roster spot to start a pitcher every day.

The essence of your advice is to play pitchers with high K/IP and low WHIP, and then point out that middle relievers with these stats are always there for the taking.

Anonymous said...

Of course, if several players in the league are doing this, the strategy becomes less likely to succeed. This really is no more than a variant of LIMA.

Alex said...

Anonymous #2 - It's like LIMA for leagues with daily transactions.

Guy with long name - Yes, exactly...except I'm also saying that you need to take the context of each game into account...park, opponent, home/away, etc.