RCL draft season is still creeping along.  We are up to seven drafts now with another one that went off late last night.  We’ll be getting into the thick of it here shortly but while we wait for draft-mania to start, let’s look at some more RCL strategy.  

This week I wanted to briefly go over some notes on pitching in the RCLs.  I say briefly because this subject has been covered many times before, quite brucely, much more succinctly than I could cover it.  I’ll tell you young Razzballers a story, about where it all got started, way back in a time known as ten after twenty.  There was a man that went by the name Oaktown Steve.  If there were a Hall of Fame for commenters, Steve would be first ballot.  Occasionally, the Steve from Oaktown still pops in with a comment or two but gentlemen and six ladies, OTS was all over this streaming phenomenon; the pioneer of the movement if you will. Next came Simply Fred.  Fred was onto the streaming movement along with a handful of others and this is where the revolution really picked up steam.  Rudy felt he could improve the process and the Stream-O-Nator was born!  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 will dance in your head.  If you’re feeling lazy though, I’ll give you the cliffs-notes 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.  I am a stream-aholic so I tend to leave a draft with no more than 3 and sometimes 2 starting pitchers depending on how the draft fell.  Where you take those pitchers is almost equally important as how many you draft.  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.  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 ala Rick Porcello last year.

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.  This is where Edwin Diaz is falling this year and I’m all over that.  The potential suspension of Jeurys Familia has forced him down to just below this range and if you can swing a missing bench spot for month or so, that could turn a nice profit down the stretch.

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 (PHI, CIN, OAK).  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.  I recommend turning on the K/9 stat when cruising the waiver wire.  ESPN allows you to customize the stats you see and sorting by K/9 is a great way to unearth some gems.  I also like to look for relievers that are getting stretched out to start as they might provide 3-4 “free” innings.  It’s always a bit of a guessing game when it comes to relief pitcher use, but generally don’t pick up a guy that has thrown back to back days and if a guy you’re holding does throw back to back days, you can relieve him of his duties on your roster.

About once every three weeks you should grab your league’s stats and check out your K/Games Started (GS).  I mentioned above I’m always looking at K/9 when grabbing RPs, but even more important for the league is your K/GS since you only have a finite number of GS, leading the league in this number goes a long way to winning strikeouts at the end of the day.  Shoot for around 8.5 K/GS and if you’re lagging, add an extra RP here and there and boost that value up.  This number is also handy if you have someone in your league that has a large lead in Games Started.  When someone has 20 or 30 more GS than the next manager it can skew the pitching stats and make it hard to tell where you stand.  K/GS is the great equalizer and a very important stat to keep in mind when making daily roster decisions.

Finally, when the time comes, you need to know your loopholes.  There has been many a heated discussion over the 188 GS, but the fact is, it’s there for the taking and you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t grab it.  Here’s the gist.  Just like Yahoo!’s Inning Pitched limit, the Games Started limit can be pushed.  On the day you go over each of these limits, all your stats for that day count towards your total.  So, once you hit 179 Games Started you can pick your spot to load up on 9 starters and hit 188 GS and pad your pitching stats.  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 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.

DRAFT TRENDS

There was a lot of positive feedback to the RCL ADP data last week, so here we go with another round.  Last week we took a look at some of the young phenoms for this year.  Let’s flip the script this week and take a look at where some old, reliable vets are going.  We move from 4 drafts worth of data last week, to 7 drafts this week. There weren’t many drafts this past weekend, but that is to be expected so early.  Again, if you have any suggestions for players you’d like to see, let me know in the comments and I’ll get right on it.

WE DON’T NEED NO STINKIN’ NFBC ADP

We’ve got RCL ADP!  Here’s a list from our 7 league sample of some players whose ADPs I was curious about and some general notes.

PLAYER ADP HI LO DIFF
Miguel Cabrera 12.14 10 15 5
Joey Votto 27.29 21 33 12
Robinson Cano 32.14 13 42 29
Nelson Cruz 40.71 25 49 24
Ryan Braun 41.43 37 52 15
Justin Verlander 54.14 50 65 15
Adrian Beltre 61 49 77 28
Ian Kinsler 61.86 51 80 29
Hanley Ramirez 67.57 44 82 38
Matt Kemp 98.57 85 119 34
Albert Pujols 114.57 97 131 34
Felix Hernandez 130.14 94 147 53
John Lackey 141.57 125 165 40
Troy Tulowitzki 145.71 126 179 53
Adrian Gonzalez 154.43 123 184 61
Kendrys Morales 168.86 139 213 74
Jacoby Ellsbury 224.29 164 273 109

The benefit of being the keeper of the RCL stats for the second season in a row is I have all the RCL data logged for comparison purposes.  For example, I can tell you that Miggy’s ADP so far this season is about 4 spots ahead of his ADP last season (12 vs 16).  He’s about as safe as it gets and perhaps RCLers are paying up a bit for that safety factor.

As a matter of fact, a lot of these vets have a rising ADP.  Cano is up 10 spots, Cruz 4, and Braun is up 16.

Some of these jumps make sense, like Verlander who jumped 110 spots this year after seemingly regaining his Cy Young ways.

Then there are guys like Adrian Beltre who, at another year older, has seen his ADP jump 10 spots this year.  I’m not sure I follow the logic on that one.

Pujols and King Felix are the first big droppers in ADP this year.  Pujols was going around pick 55 last year and King Felix was off the board around pick 78.  After stinking it up a bit (for them) last year, they come at a discount this year.  Do you feel lucky rolling the dice on Pujols hitting 30 bombs?

Adrian Gonzalez drops 100 spots this year.  I still want no part of A-Gon, even at that price.

Jacoby Ellsbury takes the cake for drop in ADP.  Ellsbury drops 132 spots this year.  I might actually have some passing interest in Jacoby at this price tag.  I think you could do worse for a 4th or 5th OF.  Plus, there’s no commitment to hold him if he struggles.  Not like last year where he was being drafted at pick 92.

As always, here is the link to the RCL ADP sheet for your own perusal: RCL ADP SHEET

Now, go join a league and contribute to that wonderful ADP data:

TO JOIN A LEAGUE

Click the LINK in the ‘League Link’ column (see below grid) and enter the PASSWORD at ESPN. Emails are there for some leagues, but you shouldn’t need to email anyone.  You can join as many leagues as you like.

TO START A LEAGUE

Please create a league in ESPN based on the league rules reference above. Step by step: Hit Create. Then Create ESPN Custom (middle option), Name League, Change to 12 Teams, Restriction Type: None, Open to All Users, Access: change to Private, create Password, leave as Roto and Snake, Make Draft Date and Time, Create. From Default settings all you have to do is change to TWO DL SLOTS and 180 Starts by pitchers. So, you go to ROSTERS and Click “Edit Roster Settings.” There, change to 2 DL Slots and 180 Starts (the counter will change to 20.0 per slot). Then SUBMIT Roster Settings. Finally, Create Your League! (Important Note: Make sure league is viewable to public but requiring a password to avoid non-Razzballers joining.) When that’s finished, click here. You will be permissioned shortly so you can add your league info to the Google Doc (the below grid cannot be edited from this page). On that Google Doc, you will need to enter your name, league link, password and please UPDATE the number of openings as your league fills up. That’s it. Oh, and don’t use your bank account password. (Here’s a video Jay made to help some noobs.  Is noobs spelled with zeroes or oh’s?  Hmm, that might make me a noob at spelling noob.)  You can start as many leagues as you like.  If you start less than ten leagues, again someone could mock you.

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

 
  1. MattH says:
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    Nice write up, Truss. Although it’s only 7 leagues drafted that Trumbo ADP looks interesting. Hamilton way higher than Grey’s ranking too.

    • MattTruss

      MattTruss says:
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      Thanks man! Maybe I’ll bust out an RCL ADP vs. Grey in a later article.

  2. FBV says:
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    Would love to see where the top 15 SB leaders from last year are being drafted. Remember 6 of the 15 had less than 412 ABs. Great article!!

    • MattTruss

      MattTruss says:
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      Will do!

  3. nick the dick says:
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    Me. You. Rio. Let’s. Fucking. Go.

    • MattTruss

      MattTruss says:
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      Let’s do this!

  4. Cram It says:
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    You guys drafting 2 or 3 SP’s are nuts. So you’re drafting 7 or 8 RP’s then? I’d much rather draft a couple of SP’s to see if they pan out, than a potential closer who not only doesn’t get saves, but isn’t awesome for ratios and you end up dropping. On top of that, streaming SP’s from day 1 sounds like a sure-fire way to put your pitching #’s in a big hole the first month.

    That said, I might actually try that strategy this year. Ha.

    • MattTruss

      MattTruss says:
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      HA! There’s more than one way to go about it for sure. I tend to take it easy streaming from day 1 and make up those streams later in the year when there is more data to go on.

    • AL KOHOLIC says:
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      @Cram It: it can back fire especially early in the year and raelly make it tough to comeback from on ratios,but the guys mentioned above and Matt himself are really good at it

  5. Simply Fred

    simply fred says:
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    Nice shout out! Looks like our trains will be colliding on draft day… :-)

    • AL KOHOLIC says:
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      @simply fred: we will be coming for you Fred my inability on streaming hurts my chances but we shall see,,you have a good co-manager also wish I could get Evan to enjoy it but I don’t see him enough being 2 hours away to get him into it

      • Simply Fred

        simply fred says:
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        @AL KOHOLIC: Just start him out asking about drafting his favorite player/players. He doesn’t have to make every call…though it would likely improve your game. :-)
        We feel the heat!

        • AL KOHOLIC says:
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          @simply fred: i think i will do that

  6. AL KOHOLIC says:
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    great job Matt im hoping to rebound this year I just never have been a big streamer

    • MattTruss

      MattTruss says:
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      Thanks Al! You’ve won the thing your way, I wouldn’t change!

  7. The Great Knoche says:
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    Should I be concerned if one of the leagues I created isn’t showing on any of the spreadsheets anymore?

    • Wallpaper Paterson says:
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      @The Great Knoche: no. it usually means the league has filled.

      • The Great Knoche says:
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        @Wallpaper Paterson: Yup, but Not on Filled Leagues sheet either.

    • MattTruss

      MattTruss says:
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      I’ll dig into it

    • MattTruss

      MattTruss says:
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      Can you link the league? I see three you created, all on the filled sheet. #19,38 and 60. Is there another?

  8. The great Knoche says:
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    Lol, yesterday one too few today one too many. I created 2. Think league 60 is a duplicate.

    • MattTruss

      MattTruss says:
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      Alright, thanks. I think it’s all cleaned up now

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Sorry, what do you mean?

    • Grey

      Grey says:
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      Oh, is this a Matt Truss question?

      • The Great Knoche says:
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        @Grey: Yes it was. Go back to your page. Thanks, Truss!

        • Grey

          Grey says:
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          HA, *head down, kicks rocks*

Comments are closed.