Paying up for Pitching in MLB DFS

When it comes to daily MLB roster construction there are often two schools of thought. Paying up for pitching, or paying up for top tier bats.

I have always leaned towards pitching due to the variance hitters carry with them. That is not to say that pitchers can’t have a bad start or lack command during an outing but in the long term pitching is going to be much more consistent than hitting. We can always find a cheaper bat or two to make a quality pitcher work, we can’t always make up the loss of points that can come from selecting a less than optimal arm throwing on the slate.

Embracing variance through structure can be hard to translate into more wins than losses when it comes to daily fantasy baseball. One easy to find structure is on any given slate looking to lock top pitching options. Now obviously with a five man rotation we will run into nights where we have to dive in deeper than just plugging in Clayton Kershaw and moving along with our lives. However more times than not, locking in a top option for the night has become very plus EV over the years, especially in cash games where we need the safety net pitchers provide.

The biggest reasons paying up for pitching pays off over time is simply, controlled variables. I know going into any given night ball clubs want there starter to throw anywhere from 90 to 100 pitches, sometimes more depending on the situation. We can accurately project the amount of innings that will be thrown, strikeout opportunities, and win probability on any given night.  Pitchers simply have more opportunities to score fantasy points than hitters, who only average, at most, close to 4 at bats per game.  In theory being able to project how a pitcher will perform provides a safer floor than a hitter will ever be able to provide for us. I know for a fact the Pirates are going to let Garrit Cole throw 95 pitches and at least get to the sixth inning, this is a really safe floor use it to your advantage.

Now opening day can be hard, we don’t have a full array of 2017 stats. This leaves us to rely on numbers from 2016 and spring training. However once numbers start to stabilize after a few starts our projections become more accurate and our advantage becomes bigger against our competition that will refuse to pay up for pitching over the course of the season. The opportunity workhorse pitchers have to rack up points is silly, you are crazy if you don’t take advantage of the safer floors and learn to attack hitters in optimal spots instead of plugging three 5K outfielders in your lineup hoping for double dong nights. Develop a plan for paying up for pitching in 2017, embrace the daily variables in your structured plan, and you will come out on top this year playing daily MLB.

About Adam Funk

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