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5 Tips for Getting Baseball Pitching Help Through Injuries

5 Tips for Getting Baseball Pitching Help Through Injuries

In recent weeks I’ve lost Shawn Marcum, Adam Wainwright and JJ Putz, all on one roster. I’m only running with 2 starting pitchers there right now and the rest of my staff is on the DL or the minor leagues.

If you can stomach the anxiety and work through injuries, take solace in the fact that losing a starting pitcher may not be as bad as it seems. With a bit of investigative analysis and probably a bit of luck, here are a handful of tips to keep in mind when looking for mid-season help with your fantasy pitching roster.

Look for Strikeouts

I look for solid strikeout numbers first because (in my mind) that means that a pitcher has a better ability to take care of themselves on the mound. Generally, I would take a guy with a 4.00+ ERA and higher strikeouts than the guy with a 3.50 ERA and poor strikeout numbers (think Jonathan Sanchez versus Aaron Cook) Just be wary of the pitcher who fans a lot of guys but walks the same amount as well.

So Pay Attention to K’s per BB Ratios

If a guy walks just as many batters as he K’s, it’s usually a recipe for ERA disaster. because in many cases, strikeout pitchers will tend to give up the home run as well. You really don’t want them giving up that home run with 2 other guys on base and walks make that chance more likely (Daniel Cabrera anyone?).

Low WHIP Before ERA

Lastly on walks, if a guy can keep his walk rates low there’s less chance his stats get screwed by timely hitting (Greg Maddux or Cliff Lee come to mind). All 3 of these trends (K’s, K/BB Ratios and low walks/hits per innings pitched) can usually lead to reasonable success in the long run for any pitcher.

Stream Starting Pitching

Sometimes there are no statistically attractive pitchers to choose from. In that case, if you have the roster capacity, consider playing match-ups and swapping pitchers in and out of the lineup to take advantage of match-ups.

Some of the things you want to look for when streaming starting pitching:

  • What’s the pitcher’s season record/stat-line in the park he’s pitching in and home/away?
  • How does the team the pitcher is going against hit against him and his team?
  • How potent is the opposing lineup in general?
  • Are there favorable/unfavorable left/right-hand match-ups to take advantage of?
  • Just make sure your league does not include maximum roster change settings.

Consider Relief Instead of Starts

While relief pitchers may not get you wins, they can help with strikeouts, ERA and WHIP. Solid relief pitchers with a high K/IP and K/BB ratios can be just as valuable in the long run.

At least in Yahoo leagues, if you can get relief pitchers who are eligible at both the SP and RP slots, it’s feasible to field a 6-7 man pitching staff with relievers instead of starters. Consider the current stat-lines for guys like Hong-Chih Kuo and Taylor Buchholz (eligible as SP/RP’s in Yahoo leagues).

In the end, there will always be a decent amount of quality relievers – outside of closers – who will outperform marginal starting pitchers.

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