ERA, Ratio and batting average all have one thing in common..... these three categories, unlike the other seven categories (assuming you are in a 5 X 5 roto league), can move you up or down the standings daily. What I mean by that is one day your team ERA can be 3.75 and the next day it can be 3.83. Think about that for a second. You can have a bad stretch and it can really hurt in that category. So with that in mind everyone must be aware of this fact in putting together your team.
In regards to these three categories you do not want to fall way behind in the 1st half of the season because it is so hard to make up ground in these specific categories. For instance in the league I am in I would say in a 12 team league a .270 team batting average would probably put you around 5th or 6th place (7-8 Points for that category). Now let's say your team has a terrible batting average for the 1st half and it's at .250. That means to hit the .270 average for the year your team has to hit .290 in the 2nd half which is an incredible average. Keeping this in mind you have to be careful on getting low average players on your team. Now batting average you have more wiggle room that ERA & Ratio because you have 14 hitters as oppose to 9 pitchers and the hitters can get AB's every day, where as the pitchers the starters only start once every 5 days and the bullpen guys at best will pitch 4 innings a week.
But getting back to batting average you must pick your spots regarding guys that are not good average guys but can help your team in the other categories. So guys like Mike Cameron, Ian Stewart, Adam Dunn, Kyle Blanks or Mark Reynolds who potential can hurt your average you must not load up on these kind of players even though they can help you in the other categories. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying these guys should not be on your team but at most you should have 2 of these guys as part of your team and ideally if you do have a couple of guys like this on your team you need to have a couple of high batting average starters to help offset these low average starters.
Finally regarding batting average, under no circumstances regarding role players on your team (your middle infielder, or your corner, 2nd catcher, 5th OF) do not take a guy who is a bad batting average player. So even if your 2nd catcher is a starter but hits .240 (like a Nick Hundley) your team would be 100 times better off having a guy like Ronny Paulino who is a backup but will hit between .270 - .280. No bad batting averages from role players.
ERA & Ratio:
Like I stated above with Batting Average, you have the same problems with ERA and Ratio but these pitching categories are more difficult because you get a lot less opportunities with IP than AB's to help reduce your ERA & Ratio. Again, these are not every day players and only 9 pitchers instead of 14 hitters. Okay, so regarding the pitching under no circumstances do you draft a pitcher who is a career 4.50 ERA or worst and or a guy who is a career 1.40 Ratio or worst. The only exception can be a guy who is a closer and can get you a lot of saves (think Brain Wilson in 2008 where he had a bad ERA & Ratio but 41 saves). At least in that case you only have 60 to 70 innings of bad era & ratio numbers. So when rounding out your staff regarding your extra starters and middle relievers stay away from these guys. Bad ERA & Ratio numbers are so hard to make up. Take a few less wins or fewer strikeouts to preserve your ERA & Ratio.
Everyone needs to respect these categories because they are very volatile and it's so hard to make up ground when you fall way behind the pack.
Will have another article next week. Everyone have a great week.
NL King - C.Lizza