When it's time to gamble with your pitching staff

by BaseballHQ.com on August 9, 2010 @ 17:00:00 PDT


If your team is destined to finish fifth or sixth unless something changes on the pitching side, here are some options:

Drop the worst one or two pitchers on your staff; these are the guys who never have found a good groove, those who continue to put up sub five-inning outings with lots of crooked numbers to the right of the IP column

For replacements, gamble. This is not the most comfortable way to play the game, but you're down to the final quarter of the season. You know what a football team down by two touchdowns entering the final period must do.

If any veteran starting pitchers on contending teams are available, go that way. These guys may face some watered-down lineups in the final month and represent the best bets to get into that elusive groove.

Avoid veterans on teams that are - or will soon be - out of the playoff picture. These folks are likely to be replaced by prospects in September.

Consider still-young starters who have had the opportunity to get knocked around a few times and may have learned some lessons.

Don't forget middle and setup relievers, especially on contending teams that have problems in the starting rotation. These pitchers are not likely to be given the chance to hurt you - if they struggle, they won't get to pitch much - and, with a hot streak, are capable of a couple of wins and 15-20 innings of helpful statistics.

While astute fantasy leaguers normally avoid newly-promoted young pitchers on the assumption that they will struggle on their second trip around the league, that's a lesser concern with a late promotion. Targeting good skills pitching prospects for a few September starts can net you a short-term lift from even those arms that may not have much long-term potential.

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