Fantasy baseball advice to draft a great NL Only pitching staff? My model is 5 Starting Pitchers, 3 Strong Middle Relievers and a proven closer (a challenge in the NL for sure).
Five Starting Pitchers will be our staff and there are two ways we can go about doing this. You can go the route of two dominant starters and three average or what I refer to as push starters (again push starters get you league medium in ERA and WHIP but add to your Wins and K's) or one dominant starter, one very good starter, one middle tier starter and two push starters.
The two dominant starter route is a good choice as long as the dominant starters perform to the back of their baseball card and do not fall off due to injury or poor performance or both. Last year no one was more than a given than Doc Halladay and he missed a quarter of the season with a 4.48 ERA. But as long as your dominant starters live up to their pedigree, of your three push starters one could over perform a little bit, and the other 2 can be serviceable...... you will have strong numbers from that starting 5.
The advantage of going with the second format of 1 dominant starter, 1 very good starter, one middle tier starter and two push starters is you have more depth. I believe either format is a winning one.
In a perfect world we would love to have two closers but in an NL only league unless you found a cheap closer last year that's very hard to do unless you going to spend a lot of money. Also with the Astros now in the AL it's a little bit harder to have two closers in an NL only league. We want our closer to be reliable in terms of performance and health especially if we only have one. Also, in an NL only league we have to make sure our closer is not going to be trade bait during the season. Ideally we want someone who is a K per inning pitcher with strong numbers in the percentage categories.
The Middle Men:
Per my last article on middle relievers, you see why I am a believer in some strong middle men as we can get a good amount of wins, a few saves, a bunch of K's and strong numbers in ERA and Ratio.
The Big Picture:
Our staff will get strong percentage numbers from our dominant to middle tier starters, our closer and our middle men. If we have 2 or 3 push starters they will not hurt our percentage categories and add W's and K's. So the top of our staff will drive the percentage categories and everyone will contribute to the Wins and K's.
Taxi Squad - Reserves:
Most leagues have a straight draft after the auction for a 5 man taxi squad also known as the reserves. We are going to use this part of the draft as an insurance policy for our pitching staff. We are going to use one slot on a push starter who lasted to the reserves as well as one middle reliever who lasted as well. When one of our push starters or middle relievers struggles or gets injured we could have a backup plan stashed on our reserves. If everyone pitches well then we have depth to make a trade to help our team in another area.
In my opinion, putting together a staff is tough but I believe this model to work well in NL only leagues.
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NL King - C.Lizza