Holy Moly what a strange league.
In recognition of Matt Albers and Ryan Webb’s record-breaking streaks of games finished without a save, this is a 16-team “Draft and Hold” format with a unique points-scoring system.
|Games finished||10 points|
|Complete games||-20 points|
You draft five pitchers at the start of the season, and that’s it. The “Draft and Hold” format means that those five appear in the active lineup every day. So, you are aiming for relievers that will get called into finish games when there is nothing on the line.
And, you don’t want to draft players that could become closers.
My five pitchers were:
José Ruiz (CHW) : Had a decent season in 2021 with 3.05 ERA but with Craig Kimbrel and Liam Hendriks ahead of him in the pecking order for saves, it seemed like a shrewd pick. And it was, as Ruiz was tied as the top point scorer.
Austin Adams (SDP): The HBP leader from 2021 also finished 18 games without recording a save so he looked like a good draft pick but alas injury halted his 2022 season after just 2.1 innings.
Nick Wittgren (STL): Between 2018-2020, Wittgren tossed 115 innings for a sub-3.00 ERA. After a disappointing 2021, I thought he would get more mopping-up opportunities than just finishing nine games (including one costly -20 point save).
J.B. Wendelken (ARI): With Mark Melancon and Ian Kennedy on the roster, the chance of J.B. Wendelken getting saves was slim, and so it proved, but he also failed to finish many games – just six in 29 appearances.
Ryan Borucki (TOR): I’ve always liked Borucki but his 2.70 ERA and 11.3 SO/9 in 2020 seems like the exception rather than the rule. He made 32 appearances but only finished four games.
Thanks to Ruiz’s season and to none of the others getting promoted to closer, the team finished an acceptable fifth out of 16.
Obviously, there is a huge amount of luck involved in this format, but I like the research it forces ahead of the draft.
Featured image of Matt Albers by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images