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How To Gain Rotisserie Points On The Last Day Of The Season

How To Gain Rotisserie Points On The Last Day Of The Season

A common piece of preseason draft preparation advice is to know your league’s rules, to make sure you’re properly valuing players.  There are also some very important rules to keep in mind for the end of the season.  Rules a lot of fantasy managers aren’t aware of. Rules that will allow you a competitive advantage if you know them and how to apply them to your benefit.  

If you play in a rotisserie league on any of the major fantasy baseball providers (Yahoo!, ESPN, CBS), your league likely has some form of an innings pitched limit. Understanding how this limit is applied can allow you to gain an edge in the starting pitcher counting categories of wins and strikeouts.

The Rule

For each of these major websites, the innings pitched limit is applied at the end of the day on which you surpass the limit.  This means that you can actually surpass the limit established in your league rules by loading up on starting pitchers the day you expect to reach the threshold.

An Example

Assume your league has a 1,500 innings pitched limit.  During the final week of the season you sit at 1,490 innings pitched.  You then drop any pitcher not starting the next day and pick up a streaming option that does pitch.  You do this with all seven pitching spots in your line up.  The next day your seven starters pitch a combined 45 innings, strike out 38 batters, and earn four wins.

In this example, this strategy allows you to exceed the innings pitched limit by 35 innings, accumulating 25+ extra strikeouts and a few extra wins.  Depending on the standings in your league, this can most certainly allow you to gain a few additional points in the standings…  And maybe even win your league.

Applying This In Practice

This will be much easier to implement in daily transaction leagues where you can drop all your players on a given day and pick up tomorrow’s scheduled starters.  But you could conceivably do this in weekly lineup leagues if you plan far enough ahead.

Additionally, it only will make sense in certain scenarios.  Review your league standings to determine if you have points to gain in wins and strikeouts.  Weigh these potential points against any possible lost points if you suffer a bad ratio day (ERA, WHIP).

Thankfully it is much more difficult to move ratios significantly this late in the season.  In fact, if you have enough cushion in ERA and WHIP, consider only picking up strike out specialists, regardless of their ratios.

You need to carefully approach the innings limit first.  Be cautious not to accidentally go over before you can take full advantage of this.  I would recommend trying to get within 10 IP of the full limit.  Getting any closer could be dangerous.

Avoid a Backfire

Perform this strategy as close to the end of the season as possible.  Many managers won’t be aware of this rule and doing it too early will allow others to recognize what you are doing and open you up to a similar response, wiping out the advantage you created.  Further, you may be dropping some very good pitchers in order to pick up streaming candidates.  Trying this before the last several days of the season will allow opponents to pick up these very good players and potentially use them.

Don’t Believe Me?

Check out the rules web pages for your league host below.




Note that ESPN has a games started limit, not an innings pitched limit.  But the same principles apply.





This is an easy tactic to employ and you’re leaving points on the table if you don’t try it. Granted, it doesn’t make sense if you stand to lose points in ratios or if you face keeper-league ramifications.  But if you could use an extra 20 strikeouts and a couple wins, you can’t go wrong.

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Smart Elsewhere #7 – End Game Plays and Moves for Next Year with Cory Schwartz

There may not have been a more targeted and useful fantasy baseball podcast all year than the September 13th episode of Fantasy 411 podcast.  In this episode Cory Schwartz discusses a plethora of minor league September call ups that can either help you win your league this year or that have keeper-league ramifications for next year.  Later in the episode he’s joined by Paul Sporer, a favorite analyst of mine.

No matter where you are in the standings, this episode is worth 52 minutes of your time (or 35 minutes if you listen at 1.5 speed like I do).

Here’s a rundown of the episode:

  • September call ups that may help your team 0:00 – 9:00
  • Injured players and their prospects to return 9:00 – 17:15
  • Players being shut down 17:15 – 23:00
  • Paul Sporer interview 23:00 – 34:20
  • Paul Sporer and Schwartz discuss two start weeks – 34:20 – 42:45
  • Sporer and Schwartz handle listener e-mails – 42:45 – 51:53

The Players

Here are the minor league call up players Cory Schwartz discussed, with a specific focus on how they can benefit your team these last two weeks of the season.  These players are currently getting playing time but are all likely to be available in many leagues.

  • Josmil Pinto  C (MIN)
  • Chris Owings SS (ARI)
  • Tommy Medica 1B (SD)
  • Anthony Gose OF (TOR)
  • Billy Hamilton SS/OF (CIN)
  • Tanner Roark P (WAS)

The Injured

Cory also discussed several injured players and their prospects for the rest of the season.  These are guys that may or may not be useful to you in the last two weeks.

  • David Wright 3B (NYM)
  • Edwin Encarnacion 1B/3B (TOR)
  • Joe Mauer C (MIN)
  • Jacoby Ellsbury OF (BOS)
  • Allen Craig 1B/OF (STL)
  • Matt Kemp OF (LAD)
  • Howie Kendrick 2B (LAA)
  • Colby Rasmus OF (TOR)

Paul Sporer Joins The Podcast

After Schwartz discussed these end game player strategies, Paul Sporer joined the podcast to discuss next week’s two start pitchers.  And while I’m not a huge proponent of weekly head-to-head leagues, two start weeks can really help you finish a rotisserie season strong and reach innings limit caps if you’re slightly behind pace.  If you’re looking to eat up some innings, the advice of Sporer and Schwartz is definitely worth a listen.

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Links to the Podcast

Case Study:  How To Assess Your Rotisserie League Standings

Case Study: How To Assess Your Rotisserie League Standings

The case study below looks in detail at how to perform a review of your league standings.  This specific case study is written from the perspective of performing this review in late August, but reviewing and assessing your league standings is a valuable exercise to perform at any point in the season.

This review will guide the moves you make throughout the season.  It’s absolutely critical to have an in-depth understanding of the league standings.  This is not a simple exercise.  It will take time.  But that’s exactly why it’s advantageous and why it can be an advantage for you.

It’s Late August.  You’re In The Middle Of The League Standings.

How many rotisserie points can you legitimately expect to gain in the standings at this point of the season?  If you think you’re out of it, or don’t think you can catch the leaders because you’re in fifth place, I’d encourage you to take a closer look.  You might be surprised at how significantly things can still change.

The Standings

For the rest of this case study, assume the standings shown in the table below.  Let’s look at things from the perspective of the team in fifth place, E.A.B.O.D.  Does this team have a chance to catch the leader?

The first thing worth noting, besides the fact that I play in a nine team league (I’ve been trying to tell you I’m just a “regular guy”), is the first place team has a sizeable lead over the rest of the pack and sits at 68.5 points.  Then things are tightly bunched with four team near the mid-50s.


This Is Just A Battle For Second PLace, Who Cares

We’ll take a look at if catching the first place team is possible in a moment.  But even if this is just a four-team battle for second place, taking this battle seriously, applying a well-devised strategy, and making a full-fledged effort to pass the current fourth, third, and second place teams is a valuable exercise.  What if next year it’s a four-team race for first?  Or even a two-team race?  If you’re able to win a four-team race over the last month of the season, next year’s two-team race will seem simple.

I got the idea for this case study while listening to Todd Zola on the August 9th edition of the BaseballHQ Radio Podcast.  His point was that it really doesn’t matter what place you are in the standings.  The exercise of going through a review of your team and the league standings in order to gain a few points is great practice.  Always seek to improve your team.  You’ll learn a lot from these seemingly unimportant battles.

Let’s Take A Closer Look

Remember, with roughly one month to play, we currently sit in 5th place at 52 points.  If we are to somehow pull this miracle off, we would need to reach 69 points, meaning we must somehow climb 17 points in the standings.

The best way to figure out how many points are possible?  Go category-by-category through the standings and figure out what points can easily be earned and those that could be earned with a little luck.  It’s also worth looking at the categories in which we could lose points (easily or due to bad luck).

Starting with runs, we’ve got a total of 830 runs to this point in the season.  Trying to be realistic about how many runs can actually be made up in about one month, we’ll say making up one run a day is possible, but not likely.  More likely, making up 15 runs over the next 30 days is a realistic possibility.  So anyone within 15 runs of our 830 total can be caught, giving us another rotisserie point.

Looking at the actual standings below, only one team is between our 830 runs and the attainable 845 (that’s SpartyOn with 841).  One additional team, The Naturals, is within 30 (at 857 runs to our 830).


So that’s one standing point we can realistically gain (catching SpartyOn) and one more we could possibly gain, but it’s unlikely (The Naturals).  Note, if you’re also concerned about being caught in the standings, tracking the points you could potentially lose is another valuable exercise.  There is one team hot on our tails, with 827 R, and two others within 30 runs (805 and 802).

Summarizing the points we could gain or lose:


Now extend this exercise out to the remaining hitting categories.  We’ll say anyone within 12 HR can realistically be caught and within 20 could potentially be caught.  Within 15 RBI can legitimately be caught and 30 RBI is possible but unlikely.  10 SB can reasonable be caught, 20 would be possible but unlikely.  And within .003 BA points can be caught, .006 would be possible but unlikely.


Pitching Is A Little More Complicated

This particular league happens to have an innings limit of 1,550 innings.  Innings can be manipulated more easily than games played by hitters.  A team could theoretically start streaming a multitude of pitchers and easily increase innings in the short-term, whereas the limited number of lineup spots and days off for hitters prevents you from increasing at bats in the short-term.  This leads to potentially distorted pitching standings.

Look at the current standings below.  Take for instance, The Heat in seventh place.  The team is clearly ahead of everyone else’s pace for innings pitched and will hit the 1,550 cap soon.  The 1,185 strikeouts in 1,364 innings isn’t nearly as impressive as the 1,145 strikeouts the Warriors (eighth place) have in 1,132 innings.  The Warriors need only 40 strike outs in the next 200 IP to catch The Heat.  So we have to take the innings pitched distortion into account.


The innings pitched distortion can only affect raw counting stats like W, SV, and K.  Pitching more or less innings can’t directly affect rate statistics like ERA and WHIP.

Looking more closely at wins, we can calculate the rate at which teams are earning wins by dividing wins by total IP.  This gives us “Wins per inning”.  Granted, this is an odd statistic and it’s not useful for many things, but it will help us remove the distortion caused by teams simply having more innings pitched than others.

Our hypothetical team in this case study is highlighted in yellow with 73 wins, or 0.065 wins per IP.  Looking at other teams, we actually have a higher wins per inning than the team with 1,364 innings pitched.  Even though that team has 86 wins, we are earning wins at a faster rate (0.065 vs. 0.063).  Theoretically we can pass this team simply by continuing to start our current pitchers.  Once we get to 1,364 innings, we should have more than 86 wins.

The other team with 86 wins (in 1st place) can’t be caught.  We have nearly the same number of innings (1,129.33 vs. 1,129.66), but they already have 86 wins to our 73.  And because we are in third place for wins (86, 86, then our 73), there are no more points to be made up in wins.