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Fantasy Baseball Strategy: Streaming Pitchers

If you want to really get under the skin of fantasy baseball managers, start talking about streaming pitchers.  You will get as many opinions as the Twins have had injuries this year.

Jon Garland

Streaming Jon Garland makes sense.

For those of you new to fantasy baseball, the act of streaming pitchers involves adding and removing pitchers based on when they pitch, in an effort to maximize statistics.  Anti-streamers will argue that streaming pitchers takes away from the integrity of the game which it most certainly does.  But, that problem can be easily solved simply by adding rules to the league to prevent the streaming of pitchers.  This is usually done in daily leagues by limiting the number of roster moves that a team can make in a season.

Those who are not opposed to streaming pitchers will argue that the whole idea of fantasy baseball is to maximize points and who can argue with that?  If a manager takes the time and effort to jockey pitchers in and out daily, why shouldn’t they benefit? The owner probably drafted his team with streaming in mind so if there is no rule limiting it, should that manager be penalized for drafting his pitchers with fully anticipating to be streaming pitchers?  Again, if the league is opposed to streaming pitchers, then make a rule against it, but make the rule prior to the start of the season please.

Even eHow has written an article on both How to Stream Pitchers in fantasy baseball and How to Prevent Streaming Pitchers in fantasy baseball.

Many of our readers have already weighed in on pitcher streaming.  Some are opposed and some think it’s fine while others call it poor sportsmanship and abusing a loophole in the rules.

I came here to post about this article and I see that “new reader” already said what I was going to say.You are mad because the other guy was a much better manager than the others in the league.He managed within the rules that were established and probably drafted his team according to those rules.There is nothing in fantasy baseball that says you shouldn’t try to score as many points as possible.its not like in real baseball where you are doing something dishoneest if you try to look back and steal the catchers singals

— Spartans Rule

It’s not managing better, it’s abusing a loophole in the rules. Swapping pitchers based on matchups/changes in ability/etc is legitimate. Mass swapping pitchers every day so you have over 200 innings pitched per week is poor sportsmanship. It’s not rewarding skill but mere volume.

— Steve

Streaming pitchers works best in a league with less categories such as a 4 x 4 or a 5 x 5 league.  If you play in a league with a dozen statistical categories, it may not help you as much.  It’s also a better strategy if you play in a head to head league rather than a rotisserie format.

Normally, a manager that intends to stream pitchers plans to draft heavily on offense and dominate those categories.  Then, he’ll pick up a bunch of middling pitchers and stream them in and out in an attempt to do well in the quantity pitching statistics such as wins, saves (if he was still able to draft any closers), and strikeouts while foregoing the quality statistics such as ERA and WHIP.

Streaming pitchers is not to be confused with “two-start pitchers” in weekly leagues.  Fantasy Baseball Dugout takes great efforts to analyze two start pitchers each week.  A two-start pitcher is one who will pitch early in the week on a Monday or Tuesday and then have another chance to start at the end of the week.  Two starts gives the manager a chance for two wins.  Hence, a so-so pitcher may be a better option that week if the match-ups favor using him.  I have never heard any manager complain about the strategy of using two-start pitchers as being unethical, but in a way, it’s somewhat the same as streaming as it involves making roster changes solely based on quantity potential rather than quality.

Too often, managers opt for a two-start pitcher, however, without examining the matchups for that particular week.  Having a two-start pitcher with two tough matchups is not superior to a one-start pitcher with one good matchup.  Too often, managers concentrate too much on the quantity statistics rather than the quality statistics.  That being said, if you get two quality starts, that’s better than just one.


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