Fantasy Baseball Tumbling Dice: How much pitching is too much?

by Lawr Michaels, MastersBall.com on June 19, 2012 @ 09:08:37 PDT

 


 

Just over the past week, Josh Beckett, Ryan Dempster, Brandon Beachy and Brandon Morrow joined the likes of Roy Halladay, Derek Holland and Kyle Drabek on the DL.

Not that every year does not seem to smack us, seeming like the most injury riddled season ever. For, fantasy owners, as we know, have short memories.

But, in fairness, I wonder these days just how much pitching is really enough?

A case in point is my Scoresheet team, where I froze the injured Halladay, along with Clayton Kershaw and Shaun Marcum.

I drafted Alexi Ogando (now injured) and Francisco Liriano (based upon his strong spring, but who, at this point, may as well be injured) to fill out my rotation. I also grabbed Luke Hochevar, Nathan Eovaldi, Anthony Swarzak, and Eric Surkamp all as draft insurance in case I needed help with my starting rotation. And, as noted in this space, that plan was not working, so I wound up swapping Mike Moustakas for Barry Zito and Mark Buehrle around a month ago.

Then during the league expansion drafts, I have selected David Phelps (now sent down to stretch his arm out and hopefully return to Yankee Stadium as a starter) and Nathan Adcock, so all of these safety valve selections have had a chance to start games for their teams this year.

That makes no fewer than ten slots I have spent just on starting pitching for the team this season, and still I am having a tough time picking five guys to represent my team in the rotation of head-to-head games this week.

How about my AL Tout Wars team, where I bought C.C. Sabathia, Brandon McCarthy, and Justin Masterson, along with Hochevar, Derek Holland, and Jeff Niemann? And, though I did trade Masterson (for Carlos Pena, but I also swapped Jose Valverde for Roy Oswalt in an attempt to hedge my pitching bets), with injuries to Holland, Niemann, and McCarthy, I have been scrambling to the likes of Travis Blackley to try and keep my pitching somewhat afloat 'til the cavalry returns.

In other words, I can hope that by the All-Star break, my rotation will be Sabathia, McCarthy, Holland, Niemann, Oswalt and Hochevar. The key word being hope. Which is a slender reed on which to hang a season.

It is worse in the League of Alternative Baseball Reality (LABR), where my NL squad has already reclaimed the salaries of Cory Luebke and Brian Wilson, and where I still sit and watch Tim Stauffer on the DL. Again, this is in a format where I tried to be proactive, thinking you cannot have too many arms, and as a result went into Opening Day with seven starting pitchers of my nine on the roster (Matt Cain, Shaun Marcum, Jake Westbrook, Josh Collmenter, and Ryan Vogelsong, along with Luebke and Stauffer).

Since, I dropped Collmenter due to ineffectiveness, however that reduces the present starting rotation total to just four: not enough to stay competitive in any of the Fantasy counting stats, and a number that makes me nervous in a competition that has a 1000 inning baseline for stat qualifications.

In fact, only the reserve list selections of Ernesto Frieri and Nathan Eovaldi have kept me treading H2O. Well, that and the hope (there is that word again) that Stauffer might actually come back and do something.

San Diego Padres SP Cory Luebke
Big investment, big blow

The final case in point? In the NFBC Slow Draft League in which I play, I presently have six arms on the Disabled List, and though some are the common to my above teams - like Niemann and Ogando - there I have been clobbered with Daniel Hudson and Henry Rodriguez having also played yo-yo with the DL (note that is a draft and keep format, so no waiver players at all for the duration of the season).

I can only imagine that the bulk of you out there have been similarly hit by injuries - for I don't even want to talk about ineffectiveness (my sympathies to you if you spent a chunk on Tim Lincecum), which seems just as rampant - and to you I can only beg the question, "how much pitching is enough?"

There are, as we know, so many different strategies on how to build a team, especially in throw-back leagues, but is there any defense at all against the sort of pitching rotation holocaust that seems to have destroyed so many staffs this year?

For, it is hard to simply draft on the cheap, and hope you can build a team with the likes of Eovaldi and Drew Hutchison (who himself is now on the DL), but, neither does it help to pick seemingly solid up-and-comers like Luebke and Danny Duffy, any more than a stalwart like Halladay.

I wish I knew the answer, but I don't. But, I do understand when big league GMs and managers comment that you can never have enough pitching.

Or, as Tom Petty would say, "Too Much Ain't Enough."

Hey, now you can get me on Twitter @lawrmichaels!

You can also subscribe now to the Mastersball Platinum Package, and get the edge that has led to three Tout Wars titles, eight NFBC crowns, two Scoresheet Championship teams, a KFFL title, and a Fantasy Pro 911 title over the last three years.

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About Lawr Michaels, MastersBall.com

Lawr Michaels has been a player in the fantasy baseball industry since he began writing for John Benson in 1993. He has written for STATS, Inc, was the first fantasy columnist for CBS Sportsline, and has appeared in numerous journals and on websites. In 1996, he founded CREATiVESPORTS, a staple for serious fantasy players, which he merged into Mastersball in 2010.

Over the years, Lawr has participated in a wide variety of playing formats and won numerous titles, including AL Tout Wars crowns in 2001 and 2009. Along with his Mastersball duties, Lawr works for MLB.com as a statistician.

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