unread for August 2nd 2006

Hey Guys My name is Chris I’m from Virginia. I’m a rookie to fantasy. Could you explain Pitch or Ditch a little better. I have one open spot do I pick up a pitcher every day and hope for the best. 12 team 5×5 mixed. I do have an innings limit 1250.

Cory:

Hi Chris, the "pitch or ditch" strategy is based on a bigger approach towards drafting and roster management:

First, don’t overpay for starting pitchers during the draft, because they are much less reliable and consistent than hitters. Load up on a big offense in the early rounds, get a strong bullpen, and look for less costly pitchers, with good upside, in the middle and later rounds. To identify such pitchers we refer to the so-called "list of 12," which is based on the notion that pitchers need 500 or so innings at the Major League level before they gain the consistency and experience to take a big step forward. This year’s list of 12 (which was actually 18!) included Brandon Webb, Jeremy Bonderman, Brett Myers, Aaron Harang, Bronson Arroyo and Gil Meche (check out his recent stats!). Of course, it also included Carlos Silva, Oliver Perez, Shawn Chacon and Josh Towers, so it’s not a perfect system, but it’s a good starting point.

Then during the season, pick up free agent starting pitchers when they are in favorable matchups: home against the Royals, against a team that struggles against lefties or righties, when they are coming off a recent string of hot starts, etc. We call this "pitch or ditch" because you may pick up a guy in one matchup but not another, and the intention is to only keep the pitcher for one start and then cut him to pick up someone else.

This approach enables you to max out your innings, which ensures relatively strong finishes in wins and K’s, and also enables you to find more starting pitching bargains as the season progresses. Chris Capuano was last year’s pitch or ditch gem, and a guy like Erik Bedard could be had for free this year.

Add it all up and this strategy is designed to allow a roster that will finish at or near the top in every offensive category, as well as saves and strikeouts, while finishing at least in the middle of the pack in ERA and WHIP. Add it all up and that should be enough to win most mixed leagues. :-)

Good luck!

For more fantasy insight catch us weekdays at 11 a.m. ET on the MLB.com Fantasy 411. For more info go to www.mlbradio.net.

For even more fantasy info check out our good friend Jeffrey Ma and company over at www.protrade.com.

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