Razzball Commenter League drafts are going off in full force!  It’s officially DRAFT SZN.  Don’t let the chance to play with your favorite writers and commenters in free leagues for an overall top prize pass you by!  Almost every spot is taken in our first round of drafts, but we’ve added more!  Based on comments from you all we’ve added another draft for our European friends and a few more money leagues.  With the drafting of leagues comes the return of the RCL ADP spreadsheet!  Now we can really dive into the data and over-analyze to our hearts content.  From the spreadsheet you can see all the RCL ADP data, the ADP over time as well as a breakdown of round 1 data.  Ronald Acuna is dominating the number one draft pick so far (10 of 11 leagues) and 15 different players have made a first round appearance.  Granted, we only have 11 leagues worth of data to comb through, but it’s a start.  Go sign up for a league drafting in the next couple weeks and contribute to our data pool.  The more data, the better I always say.  It’s so easy to sign-up, it’s really just one click!  Use it as a mock draft that is actually useful.  We drafted the Writer’s League this weekend and will be covering it in the coming weeks.  Today, we’ll be going over how to approach your pitching in the RCL format, hopefully to get you prepped for the first draft of the year.

The subject of RCL pitching has been covered many times before, quite Brucely, much more succinctly than I could cover it.  Oaktown Steve started the streaming phenomenon way back in the year 2010.  From that, Rudy felt he could improve the process and thus birthed the Stream-O-Nator!  The world hasn’t been the same since.  Finally, Rudy covered the importance of maximizing IP and how to value our streamers here.  That should be enough clickbait and reading to get you off to sleep tonight where visions of ERA, WHIP and K/9 (or K%) will dance in your head.  If you’re feeling lazy though, I’ll give you the cliffsnotes version with a couple of my own notes.

First off, let’s go over the draft.  I wouldn’t leave an RCL draft with any more than 5 starting pitchers and 3-4 is preferred.  With the moves limit, I tend to lean more towards 4.  I suggest embracing streaming pitchers as much as you are comfortable with.  The moves limit shouldn’t be a factor while streaming a couple pitchers per week.  Where you choose to draft your 3-4 pitchers is very important as well.  I’m not here to suggest that if you draft a pitcher in the first round, you’ll lose the league, but you’re not doing yourself any favors.  I typically target rounds 4-6 for my first and sometimes second SP.  

An IP limit in the RCLs basically turns the strikeout category into K/9.  That makes those high-K/9 starters even more valuable as a base to build around.  I am fully aware of my streaming (in)abilities and I know that streaming will have an effect on my ratios, nailing down two SPs that will help those ratios is a must.  Doing so without leaving your offense inept is the real challenge.  The latest I would wait to grab my first starter would be round 8 or 9.  After that, you’re playing with fire.  Even then, you’re going to have to hit on the starters you do roster, and have them turn in solid seasons.

If you’re not into grabbing two starters in the 4-6 round range, then the 6th-7th is a prime spot for an elite relief pitcher to help those ratios and strikeout rate.  Josh Hader will likely go just before this spot, his elite K-rate is a huge asset.  This range is where Aroldis Chapman, Liam Hendricks and Raisel Iglesias will likely fall.  Kenley Jansen and Craig Kimbrel are two who have been slipping, but could payoff, I’ll be looking here if I miss on Hader/Chapman.

The back end of the draft is all about relief pitchers and speculative saves.  This is especially true with early drafts, happening now, while jobs are in flux (SF, MIA, COL [eww]).  If you can steal a closer before the season even starts, that’s gravy, and everyone loves gravy.

Essentially, if you can come out of the draft with some rough semblance of the 66/20/14 split (Hitters/Starters/Relievers) that Rudy recommends, you’ll be doing well.  My drafts tend to be a little more towards 70/15/15 or even 66/14/20.  As long as you recognize what you’ve got and have a plan, you’re much better off than most.

Once the season has started, your ability to maximize your roster spots becomes directly tied to your success.  With only 3 bench spots, it is imperative to use them to their fullest.  Those three bench spots are your “swing” spots and can be used however is needed, depending on the day.  Don’t think of your team as having only 3 bench spots, think of the waiver wire as your rolling bench.  

I almost always try to have a full hitting roster out there.  By default this means my three bench spots are almost always hitters, however if there’s a day when all my hitters are playing, I use those bench spots to swap in some relief pitchers.  In an ideal world you’ll have 8 RPs and a starter going almost everyday.  With relief pitchers I’m almost always looking for good ratios and K/9 studs.  That extra boost in K/9 will be huge in deciding the strikeout category in leagues.

When the time comes (at the end of the season), you need to know your loopholes.  There was always a heated discussion over the 188 GS with ESPN and the same is true with FanTrax but with IP.  With FanTrax the loophole remains that ANY pitching stats accumulated on the day you go over 1400 IP will count.  This is the same way Yahoo!’s IP limit works, for those familiar.  Ideally you’d have a day where you finish with 1399.6 IP and then stack your lineup for the day you go over, trying to eek out every extra strikeout and/or win you can.  Of course, pulling the trigger on this massive stat grab can have negative effects as well, so if you’re in a tight battle for ERA and/or WHIP, it may not be the best choice.

All of your pitching freezes once you hit 1400 IP so your final pitching numbers are your final numbers.  That means it is very important to keep tabs on your leaguemates and know who might need one category or another down the stretch.  Paying attention to these things can mean the difference in catching a team or two in a category and winning or losing a league.  You don’t need to win Saves by more than one save to get those twelve precious category points.

All of the decisions ultimately come down to where the most points can be gained.  It’s up to you to recognize your team needs and how they relate to the rest of the league.  If you’re running away with the pitching categories, cut back on your RPs and stream the heck out of SAGNOF delights and/or some all or nothing power plays.  If the opposite is true, keep those empty pitching slots filled with the nastiest middle relievers you can get your paws on.  

Now you have a pretty good idea of what you should be doing, go test out a draft strategy.  The RCLs are a great place to test out an extreme strategy and see what happens.  Go big or go home.  Speaking of going big, one of our legacy leagues, typically one of the most competitive leagues every year, Night of the Living Zombinos is looking for a couple managers this year.  This is a $100 buy-in league.  If you’re interested, drop a note in the comments and I’ll put you in touch with the commish!

TO JOIN A LEAGUE

Click the LINK in the ‘League Link’ column (see below grid) for the time you want and voila, you’re in.  If you’re not signed up at Fantrax, you need to do that too (it’s free).  Damn, that’s too easy.  Oh, I guess I should also mention make sure you’re joining a league for free or for money, depending on your preference.  That’s it!  You can join as many leagues as you like.  If you accidentally join a league, you can quit a league by going to OTHER –> All Options –> Quit League (located at the bottom).  Now go join some leagues!


Want to be my Twitter pal?  That’s kinda creepy, but you can follow me here: @MattTruss

 
  1. Matty says:
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    Hey Truss-
    I asked this at the bottom of Grey’s post, and he told me this was the place for it.
    Have you heard anything about an appetite for a midweek midday (east coast time) draft?
    I’m assuming there are others who blow off work as much as I do, and a draft when I should be working would be pretty productive.
    If not, no worries, I’ll try to carve out a weekend or evening time to try to best my last year finish.
    Thanks for all your hard work on these. Looking forward to the updates (doubly so if my team or a leaguemate makes it into the update).

    • MattTruss

      MattTruss says:
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      I haven’t had anyone else mention it, but we can try one out and see what happens I suppose. I would just worry about it not filling, but maybe the Europeans would step up too. What time you thinking?

      • VinWins

        VinWins says:
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        You know I like it, Truss! Maybe 1 on the last Sunday at 7 AM, too!

        • Matty says:
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          In a perfect world- sometime between noon and four Monday through Friday. But beggars can’t be choosers.
          There is less rosterbating to be done with the games not having started yet, so it’s a perfect opportunity to draft while working.

  2. VinWins

    VinWins says:
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    My pitching will no doubt be a problem. I just don’t like drafting them.

    In the first 12 drafts, 6.25% of the teams drafted 3 SPs.
    23.6% drafted 2.
    About 28% drafted 1.
    Just over 42% did not draft a starter in the first 3 rounds.

    I think The Writers League was the only one a catcher went in the first 3 rounds.

    • MattTruss

      MattTruss says:
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      HAHA, that would be Blair drafting his team of guys he hates!

    • VinWins

      VinWins says:
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      That’s in the first 3 rounds! Kind of an important clarifier.

  3. OaktownSteve says:
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    Appreciate the shout out. Got Magoo to co-manage with me this year. Really looking forward to it.

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Yo, Oaktown, I’m asking the head of NFBC about Ohtani

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        It’s what I thought it was

        • OaktownSteve says:
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          Thanks G

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            No problem — sorry for originally typing your name as Okratown

            • OaktownSteve says:
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              I love okra

              • Grey

                Grey says:
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                Oaktown taking rare L — okra is bad

    • MattTruss

      MattTruss says:
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      Whoa, dynamic duo!

  4. VinWins

    VinWins says:
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    Must have been nice for someone with the 6th pick to get Tatis.

  5. FrankGrimes says:
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    come kick Grimeys ass on Sun the 28th ha!

  6. Bamabterry says:
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    My FCL pitching strategy past two years. Show up in rd 8 if the draft with 6 sp… still end up streaming to compete. Not this year Matt!!!!!! See you at 8. #neveragaintoo

  7. Vegans says:
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    Great stuff as usual, Matt! Also, it was fun to read the links to the older posts. In addition to usual expertise from Grey/Rudy/OTS, there was some terrific information & insights from some of the commenters of the past. Really enjoyed it. Thanks to everyone.

    • MattTruss

      MattTruss says:
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      Awesome! There are some gems in the archives!

  8. Son

    Son says:
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    Thanks for the wisdom, Truss.

Comments are closed.