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Thread: Strategy: Punting Saves

  1. #1
    Administrator revo's Avatar
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    Strategy: Punting Saves

    Obviously punting saves is nothing new, but I figured I'd let the pen know of how this in-season strategy shift worked out so far for me, and discuss how it's best to employ along with tips from others.

    In my 16-team redraft, I typically go in with a strategy to get one set closer and then draft a lower-end 2nd closer. This year, I took Will Smith and when the 9th round rolled around, Craig Kimbrel was too hard to pass up. But as we all know, rather than missing a month like many of us expected, he missed almost 2 1/2 months. During this time, my Will Smith did the best he could, and I was unable to find anything besides Steve Cishek and Ian Kennedy on the WW. To compound that, I dropped Kennedy after holding him for two months and he got me just 2 saves -- and then, of course, he became a save machine just after I dumped him. My bad.

    The rest of my offense struggled with severe underproduction and I compounded it by getting "discounts" on injured players in the draft -- Polanco, Upton, Sano. Only Sano has worked out from that trio. My team hit rock-bottom the week of June 10th, dropping to 15th place with a paltry 39.5 points, literally the worst my team has ever been at any time in over 20 years in this league. My offense was very bad. My SPs had no Ks or Wins. I had just the one closer and was 2nd to last in saves. Since I was running out of options to save my season, I decided that even though Kimbrel had just signed, saves would have to go. I traded:

    Jun 3 - Yandy Diaz for Kyle Gibson -- getting on the Twins bandwagon
    Jun 6 - Will Smith (and the inept Travis Shaw) for German Marquez -- there goes Smith but I got a supposed much-needed K machine
    Jun 9 - Miles Mikolas & Ronald Guzman for Michael Chavis & Harold Ramirez -- solved my 2B problem caused by Travis Shaw, and eliminated a net negative in Mikolas
    Jun 12 - Craig Kimbrel for Max Kepler -- there goes my closers, but Kepler re-invigorated my offense

    At this point, I also didn't need some better starting pitchers, since I would stream starters (we have twice-weekly lineup changes) and I was doing a solid job of picking up starting pitchers off waivers, such as Jordan Yamamoto, Mike Leake, Zach Plesac, Lamet, Dylan Cease & Jason Vargas. So I could move some SPs for more offense and traded:

    Jun 23 - Chris Paddack & an injured Gregory Polanco for CJ Cron - hasn't worked out yet, but I'm confident he'll be a contributor
    Jul 5 - German Marquez for Eloy Jimenez - avoided some Marquez disasters, and Eloy has been OK when healthy
    Jul 18 - Khris Davis & Dinelson Lamet for Nelson Cruz & Daniel Ponce de Leon -- literally the best trade I've made in years (sorry Hammer)

    Today, my team is in 9th place and has 80 pts, a gain of 41 pts, and another 15 pts is within arm's reach. We have 6 money spots, so believe it or not, this team is suddenly in contention for a 5th or 6th place finish. If I had any speed, I might even be in better shape than this.

    So what did I learn from this? If you do an in-season save punt, you can trade your closing options to gain points in wins and Ks, and if you luck out, you can stay steady in ratios (in fact, I've even moved up a bit there). Then once you have the SPs you need, you can trade off some of them to shore up any offensive holes (or you can build a huge lead in Wins & Ks and then trade off the better SPs to land a slew of closers to gain some points in saves).

    If you commit to a saves punt from Day 1, as long as you do a good job of patrolling the waiver wire for solid pitchers, you should be able to finish top 5 in every hitting category, top 2 in Wins and Ks, and hopefully mid-pack in WHIP & ERA. In my 16-team format, that's a Top 5 team. To win, you'd have to keep on top of your ratios, but I think this is doable.

  2. #2
    my shorter version:

    there is nothing more brutal than seeing an owner with one good closer and almost nothing else finish with 40 SV and about 4 SV points. why bother?

    our current SV standings are 71 and 65 - too many, but these are the top 2 teams and I guess they each covet the "2-point swing"

    then seven teams between 24 and 36, then 19, 10, and 5 (the latter is me, but that's for another thread).

    the "pack" should have better figured out the projections, imo, and in some cases cut bait if they could find a partner with a surplus of something they need. OR buy some SV if they have a surplus of their own.

    3 closers, 2 closers, 0 closers - I'll take 'em all over the dreaded 1 closer.
    36th yr in same 12-team NL 5x5
    awful keeper list but August rampage somehow has me within inches of 3rd place
    won in 2017 15 07 05 04 02 93 90 84

    SP Scherzer 44-IL, Keuchel LD, CSmith 1, Marquez, Samardzija 1, Leake, AWood
    RP Stanek 8, Strickland 1
    C Realmuto 13, C Posey 12, 1B Votto 27, 3B TFrazier 2, 13 Belt 10, 2B KMarte LD, SS DeJong LD, 2S BCrawford 9
    OF Harper LD, Eaton LD, CDickerson 17, Dyson 8, Cooper, UT Beaty
    IL: SP Cueto 1, SP Mahle, OF Bruce LD
    minors: OF RDavis

  3. #3
    Administrator revo's Avatar
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    Yep, the "one closer" is the most dreaded option by far.

  4. #4
    Journeyman madducks's Avatar
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    But, there is so much volatility at the position, that one can always hold out hope for picking up that one additional closer that is needed from the scrap heap. I'm in good shape this year, but i have been in that one closer predicament during years past. Then too, i guess it depends on how many middle relievers are rostered in your league. I don't play in leagues with holds. So, there are usually plenty of middle relievers available as free agents.

    And in some keeper leagues, cheap top closers are like gold. So, you hate to give them up in a trade or you will have to overpay at next years draft or auction.

  5. #5
    Administrator revo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by madducks View Post
    But, there is so much volatility at the position, that one can always hold out hope for picking up that one additional closer that is needed from the scrap heap. I'm in good shape this year, but i have been in that one closer predicament during years past. Then too, i guess it depends on how many middle relievers are rostered in your league. I don't play in leagues with holds. So, there are usually plenty of middle relievers available as free agents.

    And in some keeper leagues, cheap top closers are like gold. So, you hate to give them up in a trade or you will have to overpay at next years draft or auction.
    I agree with that, although signing closers to extensions could be disastrous.

  6. #6
    Journeyman madducks's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by revo View Post
    I agree with that, although signing closers to extensions could be disastrous.
    My keeper league only has 1-year extensions (3 maximum). But, yeah a long term extension would be risky on a closer.

  7. #7
    yeah, I am mainly talking about midseason evaluations.

    almost all closers can be volatile, but a lot of points are close to set in stone by that point. adding one closer can likely give you 3-4 points, or dumping your only one can gain you the same if you can find the right dance partner.
    36th yr in same 12-team NL 5x5
    awful keeper list but August rampage somehow has me within inches of 3rd place
    won in 2017 15 07 05 04 02 93 90 84

    SP Scherzer 44-IL, Keuchel LD, CSmith 1, Marquez, Samardzija 1, Leake, AWood
    RP Stanek 8, Strickland 1
    C Realmuto 13, C Posey 12, 1B Votto 27, 3B TFrazier 2, 13 Belt 10, 2B KMarte LD, SS DeJong LD, 2S BCrawford 9
    OF Harper LD, Eaton LD, CDickerson 17, Dyson 8, Cooper, UT Beaty
    IL: SP Cueto 1, SP Mahle, OF Bruce LD
    minors: OF RDavis

  8. #8
    Journeyman madducks's Avatar
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    Yeah, if i had twice as many saves as 10 of 12 teams, i would have dealt a closer or two at the deadline.

  9. #9
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    Last year I drafted closers early and they stunk. This year I missed the wave and got Giles and Colome, picked up Holland, then picked up Kennedy when Giles was hurt. All 4 survived the trade deadline, and I flipped Holland+ for Chapman+.

    The FOS | MTARBL Champions 01/05/17 | Runner up 13-15
    12 Team AL 5x5
    IF Severino 1 Fedorowicz 1 Lowe 5 Odor 16 Lemahieu 11 Bichette 6 Biggio 2 RNunez 3 NLowe 5
    OF Alvarez 1 Hicks 15 Mazara 21 Calhoun 9 Piscotty 14* YSanchez 10*
    German 2 Chirinos 1 Pineda 10 Keller 1* Porcello 16 Brooks 5R Barria 5R Rogers 1 Bedrosian 2
    B Harrison 2 Mercer 1 Puello 5 A.Kirilloff 1 Heaney 4 McKay 2 Soria 2 Biagini 1
    * = keeper R = reserve

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