Written by Bryan Roth
Published: 11 April 2007
Q: I’m in a very deep mixed league with 16 teams and 25-man rosters. We already drafted, but what kind of strategy should I take to have the best team?
A: My personal strategy is always to have as much pitching as possible, regardless of how many men are on the roster. In every league I’ve played in, I’ve typically kept only two bench batters and filled all my other bench spots with pitchers. This works for a couple of reasons: (1) you need pitchers more than hitters. You only use starters once every five days while hitters are available basically every day. I know that in roto leagues people want a position filled every day and it’s especially important in head-to-head leagues, but one guy missing one game isn’t going to cost you the league. (2) People always want pitching. Aside from steals, it’s the most tradable commodity in fantasy baseball. That being said, a league with that many teams and that many players probably has left someone’s pitching well dry. If you have the players on your team or on waivers to fill out a large pitching staff, see if anyone is interested in trading.
Q: Is it worthwhile to pick up guys like David Riske or Jorge Julio for saves even when they probably won’t keep the job?
A: Saves are saves and that’s all you need to know. Whether it’s one or 30, every one helps. Plus, there are always at least one to five closer carousels every year. When people go crazy for saves in the draft, it just means there will be more waiver wire fodder for you to pick up. Always take a chance on a closer, even if it’ll be for a week.
Q: Who’s the better bet for a bust-out season: Daniel Cabrera or Ervin Santana?
A: I love Cabrera. Let me just say that first. Both these guys are good picks, but Cabrera has the biggest chance for a huge season. Santana has been good, but he doesn’t have as much upside. In real life, I see Cabrera with the upside of a number two pitcher, while Santana really feels like a three. Both will always be solid pitchers, but Cabrera’s strikeout potential makes him better in reality and fantasy. The only knock has been his walks, which really seems to be under control. If you got a chance to catch his performance against the Tigers this week (5 Ks, 0 BBs), then you get an idea.
Q: Who will have more saves this year, Akinori Otsuka or Eric Gagne?
A: Considering Otsuka is getting a head start, I think Gagne will only slightly edge him out. Texas will be very cautious with using Gagne this year, especially when he gets back to the majors at the end of the week. He’s looked fine in minor league rehab assignments and threw back-to-back games for the first time in a couple years this week, too. Otsuka will still be the closer when Gagne returns to the Rangers for at least a few games, but everyone from Jon Daniels down has made it clear Gagne is their man.
Q: Who’s one hitter you’re high on this year?
A: Much like Cabrera, I’ve got a man crush on Nick Swisher for 2007. His eye has always been good, but through the first week of this season he’s walked more than he’s struck out. He also made it clear that he put on 20 pounds of muscle this off-season. Coupling the addition of power and perhaps a better eye, there’s no reason Swisher can’t approach 40-45 homers after hitting 35 in 2006. His batting average will always be low, but he’s no Adam Dunn.