Collette Calls: Productive Middle Relief

Collette Calls: Productive Middle Relief

This article is part of our Collette Calls series.

2020 was unique in so many ways, and maybe none more so than we nearly saw more wins being assigned to relief pitchers than starting pitchers. Things normalized the final few weeks, but for the first four to five weeks, relievers had the lead. By season's end, it was a 52/48 split at a time the league had never seen fewer than 60 percent of wins going to starting pitchers. This season has seen a resumption of the trend prior to 2020 with 58 percent of wins going to starting pitchers:

We may have become a bit spoiled in fantasy baseball by the vulture win last season given how many went to relievers as managers piecemealed pitching staffs together. The injury bug has stuck around in 2021 as we are still seeing the second-highest percentage of wins going to relievers, though the number is more in line with the rate we began to see in 2017 as The Opener* made its debut in the sport. What began out of necessity when Tampa Bay saw four starting pitchers on the big league staff become injured, along with three Triple-A pitchers, has now become a more common strategy. Some teams currently implement a Johnny Bullpen day due to injury while others could not find six effective healthy pitchers and decided an eight-man bullpen could do a heavy lift one time through a rotation each cycle. 

Each season, we have relief pitchers who were either end-game material, reserve material or even undrafted sneak

Want to Read More?
Subscribe to RotoWire to see the full article.

We reserve some of our best content for our paid subscribers. Plus, if you choose to subscribe you can discuss this article with the author and the rest of the RotoWire community.

Get Instant Access To This Article Get Access To This Article
RotoWire Community
Join Our Subscriber-Only MLB Chat
Chat with our writers and other RotoWire MLB fans for all the pre-game info and in-game banter.
Join The Discussion
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jason Collette
Jason has been helping fantasy owners since 1999 at RotoJunkie, Fanball, Baseball Prospectus and now here at RotoWire. He covers the Tampa Bay Rays at theprocessreport.net. You can hear Jason weekly on many of the Sirius/XM Fantasy channel offerings throughout the season as well as on the Sleeper and the Bust podcast on iTunes. An eight-time FSWA finalist, Jason won the FSWA's Fantasy Baseball Writer of the Year award in 2013 and the Baseball Series of the Year award in 2018 for Collette Calls.
AL FAAB Factor: AL Pickups of the Week
AL FAAB Factor: AL Pickups of the Week
MLB Betting: Sunday Best Bets
MLB Betting: Sunday Best Bets
NL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week
NL FAAB Factor: Waiver Pickups of the Week
DraftKings MLB: Sunday Breakdown
DraftKings MLB: Sunday Breakdown