Recently, we offered up five hitters that we believe offer more value in points leagues over traditional 5×5 roto leagues.
The key statistic that gave these hitters their added value was their ability to avoid striking out at an above average rate at their position, since strikeouts count as negative points in most Points leagues. Similarly, when looking at pitchers in Points leagues, there are a couple of important factors to key on when drafting your roster.
Unlike in 5×5 Roto leagues where you are trying to win or place as high as you can across all pitching categories, with Points leagues, you don’t need to try and balance out Wins, Strikeouts, ERA, WHIP and Saves. If you want to own a Fantasy pitching roster that is made up of predominately relievers or predominately starters, it really doesn’t matter. It’s just the total accumulation of points that matters.
In many points leagues a Win is valued as much as a Save, therefore, top closers who can earn 3-4 Saves in a week are very valuable. Where starting pitchers make up ground is the fact that pitchers are rewarded with points for every 1/3 of an inning pitched. Therefore, starting pitchers, who can routinely pitch deeper into games, offer more value in Points leagues, even if wins are harder to come by for that particular player.
One category that can have less significance in a Points format is WHIP. While walks and hits can hurt the production of a pitcher in any format, if a pitcher is still dominant with wins, strikeouts and innings pitched, walks and hits don’t hurt their overall value like they do in Roto leagues. This fact is most evident when evaluating the closer position. It doesn’t always matter how many batters a closer has to face to get a save, as long as they earn the save in the end.
Here are five Pitchers we feel have more value in a Points league format.
Five Fantasy Baseball Pitchers Better in Points Leagues
Santiago Casilla, San Francisco Giants
I owned Casilla in one of my points leagues, but 2015 wasn’t a pretty year you look at his WHIP (1.28). I went as far as to pick up Sergio Romo, expecting Casilla would lose the closer job by mid-season, but he didn’t. Instead, he routinely came in to start the ninth inning and consistently put men on base, but usually found a way to earn the save more often than not.
With a WHIP of nearly 1.3, his value is lowered in roto leagues, but in points leagues where getting the save can negate the points you lose for giving up hits and walks, he can still be a real contributor for his owners.
Shelby Miller, Atlanta Braves
Miller has had an up and down start to his career. Last year he put together a stretch where he went 24 starts between wins, which isn’t good for any pitcher, Fantasy or otherwise. While he was 40th in MLB in WHIP among pitchers, he was 30th in strikeouts and 14th in ERA. This tells us that he should have ended up with a better record in 2015 than his paltry 6-17 record.
While a higher than preferred WHIP will hurt you more in standard 5×5 roto leagues, if Miller can continue to improve and turn some of those loses into wins, he has the opportunity to be a stronger contributor in points league formats.
Jon Lester, Chicago Cubs
Wins and losses are often the harder stat to accurately predict for a starting pitcher since it depends on so many factors out of a pitchers control. How strong is his team’s offense, how good is his team’s bullpen at protecting leads? On the other hand, predicting inning totals for a pitcher is much more reliable.
One pitcher you can count on to pitch over 200 innings year in and year out is John Lester, having done so in eight of the last nine seasons. The one year he didn’t eclipse the 200 inning mark was 2011, but he still pitched over 190 innings.
Having owned a 13-12 record in 2015 should keep his draft value suppressed a bit this spring. In points leagues, if you have the opportunity to draft him, don’t worry so much about his win potential and draft him for the innings workhorse that he is.
Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays
Like Lester, a high win total is not guaranteed this season for Archer as long as he continues to pitch in Tampa. But like Lester, the Rays will be leaning on their stud to log over 200 innings in 2016 – having averaged 203 innings over the past two seasons.
While he is being drafted as the 15th or 16th pitcher off the board in many roto leagues, he is the eighth ranked starting pitcher on FantasyPros in a points league format. This is due in large part to the number of innings pitched he will provide his owner.
Tyson Ross, San Diego Padres
Here is another example of a quality pitcher who’s high WHIP (fueled by 84 walks in 2015) hurts his value in most roto formats. Since he also has the ability to average more than a strikeout per inning, he has the ability to avoid giving up runs when he puts runners on base. Proven by the fact he has averaged over 190 innings in each of the last two seasons, he can be more easily rostered in points leagues.
His ADP is about 5-10 slots higher in points leagues, so if he drops in your draft, he offers the opportunity to exceed his value because of his innings pitched and high strikeout potential.
When it comes to the waiver wire mid-season, your best bet for success is to target closer handcuffs or closers in-waiting. By season’s end, there will be at least five relief pitchers who have taken over as their teams closer.
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