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Copyright © 2001
When you need wins
by Frank Noto
With six weeks left to the season, wins are a closely contested category in most Rotisserie leagues. How do you pick up wins without killing your team in the other categories? While forecasting Ws over a short period is always a crapshoot, look for opportunities as well as talent.
Starters on contending teams are the most obvious source - not only because their teams have plenty of wins to share but also because they will seldom be allowed to pitch badly enough to hurt your other numbers.
Mediocre starters on poor teams may have fewer opportunities than "vultures" - who pick up late-inning wins on teams with comeback ability - so don't exhaust your search until you've scanned the bullpens of teams with good offenses.
If these types of pitchers are not available, go for the best available talent instead. But don't be fooled by pitchers who have recently recorded good ERAs; focus instead on base performance indicators, including dominance (6.0 K/9 or better for starters) and command (at least 2.0 K/BB).
Rookies coming up from the minors are another potential source of wins. While astute fantasy leaguers normally avoid newly-promoted young pitchers on the assumption that they will struggle on their second trip around the league, that's a lesser concern with a late promotion. Many first-timers will have an advantage in their first few starts until the scouting reports make their rounds, which in this case would be after you've already reaped their benefits. Again, start by looking for talent.
A final, less certain strategy is to play to the schedule. Look for pitchers on teams that will be facing weaker foes. If you are in a league that has liberal reserve list rules, stockpile arms on reserve, and activate the best group each week based on the schedule.
What not to do...
Don't pick up pitchers with decent ERAs but soft support stats.
Do not pick up pitchers that have thrown a exorbitant number of innings, especially if this is the first year they have carried this level of workload, or if this is a large jump in workload from the previous year.
Don't think you can get lucky with anyone on the Rockies.