The Z Files: Weekly Rankings Primer

The Z Files: Weekly Rankings Primer

This article is part of our The Z Files series.

Once again this season, I'll be generating the site's Weekly Pitcher Rankings and Weekly Hitter Rankings. They'll be posted Saturday with a refresh based on pitching changes late Sunday night. Here is a primer, explaining the process for each so you can maximize utility.

Weekly Pitcher Rankings

The rankings are designed for standard 5x5 rotisserie scoring. They reflect how each pitcher helps a team that week relative to everyone else scheduled. New this season is the inclusion of an average reliever, so you can gauge when it's best to insert a reliever into your lineup in lieu of a starter with a potentially damaging matchup.

From a strategic perspective, it makes sense to be conservative early, building up a foundation then streaming more liberally down the stretch if you need to chase points in wins and strikeouts. However, that is opposite of the approach dictated by history. Here is a chart showing starter's ERA by month from 2017-2019:

Month

2019

2018

2017

Average

April/Mar

4.33

4.2

4.04

4.19

May

4.46

4.15

4.59

4.40

June

4.57

4.13

4.76

4.49

July

4.67

4.41

4.52

4.53

August

4.66

4.20

4.51

4.46

Sept/Oct

4.57

4.09

4.47

4.38

Clearly, being aggressive early is the most efficient plan of attack. It's not a coincidence the ERA trend dovetails with average temperature by month. The caveat is the lack of trustworthy player and team data by which to identify the lower-level arms worth acquiring.

Another consideration is the number of two-start options will likely be lower than

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Todd Zola
Todd has been writing about fantasy baseball since 1997. He won NL Tout Wars and Mixed LABR in 2016 as well as a multi-time league winner in the National Fantasy Baseball Championship. Todd is now setting his sights even higher: The Rotowire Staff League. Lord Zola, as he's known in the industry, won the 2013 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Article of the Year award and was named the 2017 FSWA Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year. Todd is a five-time FSWA awards finalist.
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