The Z Files: Pitching In to Get an Edge

The Z Files: Pitching In to Get an Edge

This article is part of our The Z Files series.

In recent weeks, the notion of not drafting a player, but rather a roster spot has been discussed. Last time out, some hitters in a position to take advantage of this were discussed. Today, the focus will be on those delivering pitches for a living.

The topic of drafting roster spots first came up when revealing the flaws of valuation. Rich Hill and Domingo German, among others, are unduly penalized via conventional valuation. The fewer starts they are expected to make are lumped together with everyone. However, since they'll accrue fewer strikeouts and likely wins, along with having their ratios exert less of an effect, the projected earnings are less than similar hurlers expected to pitch the whole season. The key is, on a per-start basis, they're better than many starters ranked higher. The higher-ranked starters get more "value" from whiffs and wins, enough to overcome the drag on their ratios compared to better pitchers. As such, pitchers like Hill and German should be drafted ahead of their rank generated from sorting on expected earnings.

In formats where streaming is viable, there's another class of pitchers unfairly penalized by forcing all their efforts into the little black box. Streaming pitching entails activating arms for favorable matchups, yet the undesirable contests get factored into rankings based on conventional valuation. Chalk this to another flaw with valuation, discussed a couple weeks ago.

Another shortcoming of conventional valuation with respect to streaming pitchers is unlike batters, pitchers can have two-start weeks, affecting

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Todd Zola
Todd has been writing about fantasy baseball since 1997. He won NL Tout Wars and Mixed LABR in 2016 as well as a multi-time league winner in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. Todd is now setting his sights even higher: The Rotowire Staff League. Lord Zola, as he's known in the industry, won the 2013 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Article of the Year award and was named the 2017 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year. Todd is a five-time FSWA awards finalist.
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