I am relatively new to the game of fantasy baseball. My cousin is helping me understand the game better and has invited me to be in a fantasy league with him. It’s a head to head league and when we were going over strategy, he keeps telling me that we shouldn’t value starting pitchers a lot. There are just as many pitching categories as hitting categories, so why doesn’t he think pitchers are valuable?
Emily, Colorado Springs, Colorado
Emily, great question!
The age old argument against pitchers winning the real life MVP is that they only contribute every 4-5 games as a starter and only 4-5 innings a week as a closer. The same can go into valuing pitchers for fantasy baseball. This is particularly important in a head to head type format.
If Tim Lincecum is only gonna pitch for you once or twice in a week, and in that same round you can draft a guy like Andrew McCutchen who will play 5-6 games in a week, than the smart money is that the hitter will consistently give you more production.
Of course, you do have to roster some pitchers and so many people use the strategy named LIMA, which stands for low investment mound aces. Guys like Tim Hudson, Chris Carpenter, Doug Fister and Carl Pavano will do just fine for fantasy purposes and they can be had late in the draft. Stream in a high strikeout pitcher in a favorable match up each week, plus be the first to jump on rising young arms such as Vance Worley or Michael Pineda, and you will be competitive in pitching and way ahead of the game in offense because you used your top picks for hitters, while waiting on pitchers.
Another HUGE reason that I prefer batters to pitchers is that your best batters will impact all of your categories each week (hopefully). Whereas in traditional 5×5 leagues only a relief pitcher really has the opportunity to give you a stat in all 5 pitching categories. Even Roy Halladay won’t pick you up a save!
Now some people will take this too far and reach for a bat when there are still pretty awesome pitchers on the board a round or 2 later than they should be. If you can score a guy like Dan Haren in Round 5, DO IT!
I hope this is helpful and keep the questions coming!