My last article highlighted the offense of my NL-Only team, and this article is devoted to my pitching staff.
Like my hitting, I had a strategy and a budget for my pitching staff heading into the auction. We roster five starting pitchers, three relief pitchers, and two pitchers for a total of 10 arms, so one more pitcher than a normal NFBC roster with a few more restrictions. Having kept Madison Bumgarner and Brandon Beachy, I felt my staff was strong, but lacked an ace, but I was okay with that.
My plan was to draft two more upper tier, but not elite, starting pitchers for a total of $40, spend $25 dollars on two closers – a secure 9th inning guy and a suspect one – and have $6 to spend on the final four pitching spots, but you know what they say about best laid plans…
Earlier in the draft Roy Halladay went for $32 and Cliff Lee went for $28. At this time I was thinking this is great, I should be able to get two of the next tier guys for about $20 a piece just as I wanted but that ended up not happening. Pitchers I was targeting in that tier went for only three or four dollars less than Halladay – and some went for more. I ended up with Matt Garza at $26, and he was the only pitcher from that tier that I successfully brought aboard on draft night – here are the rest.
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I am happy with Garza, but I would have been much happier with Cliff Lee at $28. My strategy got off track when I picked up Shaun Marcum for $9. Bidding stalled at $6, and I remember thinking that I can’t let him go that cheap. Seven turned into nine, hoping the other guy would go ten, but he didn’t.
Closer costs were ridiculous this year compared to past years. There were only two “lock” closers that went for less than $20 – Carlos Marmol at $15 and Huston Street at $17, both are injury risks in my opinion. It all started with a $24 Jonathan Papelbon and then everyone suddenly wanted to pay for saves. I am happy with my two guys, Javy Guerra and Sean Marshall, and truly think that Marshall could end up a top three closer in the National League at the end of 2012. I will be aggressive on the waiver wire to add saves because Guerra will definitely not be a top three closer at season’s end.
The rest of my guys I am perfectly fine with considering I didn’t have to have a load of strikeouts from them because my three best starting pitchers should all contribute 180-plus a piece, and they all came at a minimal investment. I mentioned R.A. Dickey in a previous article as a guy I’d go an extra buck on, and I did. Andrew Cashner is an injured Huston Street away from being a closer, and should add his fair share of strikeouts. Juan Nicasio may be my “Brandon Beachy” of 2012 – cheap, tremendous upside, and knows how to strike guys out. Chris Volstad rounds out the staff, and I also mentioned him in my extra buck article.
Our league’s first transaction period is this Sunday and I don’t plan on making any moves, pending injuries, at this time. But don’t worry, I won’t leave you in the dark for too long. Some league mates and I took part in a little exercise after the draft that I think will turn into a tradition for us, and next time I will shed some light on that, and another tradition, that you and your league mates may want to consider in the future.
Written by Nate Springfield exclusively for TheFantasyFix.com. Check back weekly for Nate's NL-Only expertise, and follow him on his journey for a title of the State House League in 2012.
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