Baseball Draft Kit: The Arms Race
Baseball Draft Kit: The Arms Race

This article is part of our Baseball Draft Kit series.

Contrary to popular belief, 'Moneyball' was not about how valuable on-base percentage is, but rather how it was underpriced by the market. Obviously, it took more than Scott Hatteberg, but acquiring useful assets at a cost below the value of their actual contributions helped pay for the other necessary parts. Fantasy baseball's Moneyball equivalent is the high-strikeout middle reliever. This season, more than ever, dominant setup men might be populating championship rosters, even in mixed formats.

Many leagues have adopted holds to add relevancy to setup men. This is unnecessary as there are already far more undrafted middle relievers ultimately proving to be assets. You can count the number of middle relievers not thought to be in the mix for saves drafted onto an active roster spot in 15-team mixed leagues on one hand. Admittedly, some drafted as speculative closers double as useful middle relievers regardless of role, but there is still a huge inefficiency.

The following data is for 15-team mixed leagues, but the pattern transcends all leagues using standard 5x5 rotisserie scoring. The table shows the number of pitchers with season-ending positive value, first the number of starters, then the relievers broken down by number of saves.

YearSP26+ SV16-25 SV6-15 SV0-5 SV
2017741381228
2016771881121
201575228723

It's fair to point out that season-ending values incorporate saves, which adds to earnings. To that end, re-running values without counting saves reveals

Want to Read More?
Subscribe to RotoWire to see the full article.

We reserve some of our best content for our paid subscribers. Plus, if you choose to subscribe you can discuss this article with the author and the rest of the RotoWire community.

Get Instant Access To This Article Get Access To This Article
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only MLB Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire MLB fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
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.
The Z Files: Tips for the Final Week
The Z Files: Tips for the Final Week
Mound Musings: The 2019 Season Pitching Awards Issue
Mound Musings: The 2019 Season Pitching Awards Issue
DraftKings MLB: Thursday Picks
DraftKings MLB: Thursday Picks
Yahoo DFS Baseball: Thursday Picks
Yahoo DFS Baseball: Thursday Picks