January 12, 2012 posted by Paul Greco

Top 11 Reasons to Punt Saves in Fantasy Baseball

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Fear The Beard

Digging for a good closer is like trying to find a good deal on Craigslist. Sure, you might end up with an Xbox 360, two brand new controllers and eight games, but you had to meet some random sketchy guy at a 7-Eleven and pay him in cash and cartons of Pall Malls.  Is it really worth it?

Yes, I’ll admit it. I punt saves. I’m a save-punter. And here are some good reasons why, 11 of them actually.

1. Be a lion, not a lamb. Fellow owners can sense when you are desperate to improve your closer situation. Sure, you drafted a few guys, but nobody in the top 15 at the position. You’re in a position of weakness, and others will sense this. They’ll often dangle a closer at you, and you’ll talk yourself into a trade that really only improves your saves totals.

2. Be dead last in the category. Don’t waste two, sometimes three, marginal roster spots to finish just a couple spots higher. Plus, if you are in a 5X5 league, it’s kind of cool to see if you could actually get a zero in one of the counting categories. It’s harder than you think.

3. You can get some of the best middle relievers in baseball with little or no competition. While everyone else is adding marginal talent in the later rounds, you can round out your team with elite middle relievers.

4. Some of the great minds of fantasy baseball will tell you not to overpay for saves. Take their advice one step further. Don’t pay at all. Build a better foundation with high-quality starting pitching (high strikeouts, solid ERA, low WHIP). Don’t focus too much on wins. Those will come.

5. Stat-stuffing middle relievers often become closers anyway. They’re already giving you great WHIP, strikeouts, a low ERA and the occasional win. And when the incumbent closer blows up mid-season, they’re usually the guy.

6. Closers by committee are the Denver Broncos’ backfield of fantasy baseball. Except that there are usually a half a dozen of them at any point in the season. Ugh.

7. It just takes too much time for just one category. The mind can only concentrate on so many things at once. Martial your mental resources toward other important things, like Eric Karabell’s resemblance to a young John Clayton. It’s been said that people who lose one of their senses often experience a heightened degree of perception in their remaining ones. The same is true for fantasy baseball. By eliminating saves, you are clearing more mental space to focus on other categories. Don’t underestimate this; your fellow league mates watch two hours of Baseball Tonight every night just to figure out who can help them finish in the middle of the pack in saves.

8. You can still change your mind – If June comes around, and you decide you want to switch gears, you can trade some of the starting pitching and offensive talent you’ve drafted for closers.

9. In a 12-team league, if you finish in last place in saves, are you really conceding that much? For example, if you project that you would have finished seventh in that category, that’s a difference of six points. A few extra wins, a couple more runs and home runs, and you’ve well on your way to making up the other points in some of the other categories.

10. Most of your pitching categories are dominated by starting pitchers anyway. Though a few of the elite closers provide value in all pitching categories, these players are few and far between. More importantly, often vary wildly from season to season.

11. Don’t end up like me. Make a decision and stick with it.

So remember, there is no magical formula for winning your fantasy league. Be experimental. Think outside of the box. We’re counting on you. For only you can save the day.

Paul finished the 2011-2012 Fantasy Football season as the #1 Weekly Rankings & Projections winner of the 411Fantasy Expert Challenge. He also finished 2nd in the Expert Draft Accuracy Challenge in 2011. Top 10 Finisher in the FSWA Fantasy Football Draft Projections. Paul is also apart of baseballs elite as a member of Tout Wars. You can follow me on Twitter @PaulGreco

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