This article is part of our Baseball Draft Kit series.
Can a new decade actually be upon us? It's 2020, and we all hope that our vision is 20/20 as well as we prepare for another exciting season of fantasy baseball. The evolution of pitching tactics moves ever-forward, and while this article again carries the label of "Endgame" Odyssey, that evolution has perhaps expanded to the point where it would be more accurate to describe bullpen usage as an "Allgame" Odyssey. We'll still focus on the back of the bullpen, but we'll briefly explore the entire gamut of relief pitching. Let's get started.
Probably the biggest factor in the latest pitching strategy is a result of the decline in quality, traditional starting pitchers. They still exist, but their numbers are dwindling, and not too surprisingly, more and more of them are finding their way onto the rosters of the teams with the deepest pockets. It increases their value for fantasy owners, but at least in deeper leagues, it also makes relief pitchers – or in many cases short-inning "openers" and "primary" relievers – a necessary consideration. A little pitching assessment provides the glaring reason why.
There are 30 MLB teams. Assuming full health for all pitchers (okay, that's very unrealistic) and five-man starting rotations, there are 150 starting pitchers (30x5). Looking at 2019, the starting pitcher ranked No. 150 (minimum 80 innings) was Colorado's Kyle Freeland. He won three games, and sported a 6.73 ERA with a 1.58 WHIP over 104 innings. Not many fantasy teams (or MLB teams)