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FanGraphs: The Game – RP Strategy

FanGraphs The Game is back for 2014! If you haven’t played before, you should start a player or two this season and join in on the fun. Today, I’m going to present some tips for winning in FG: The Game, but only at one position. I was the top reliever in all the land last year, so hopefully you feel I’m qualified to provide some expert analysis.

Overarching Hot Tip
If you look at my player’s stats, you’ll notice my strategy revolves around accumulating innings rather than chasing saves. It’s much more cost effective, but it can be a bit trickier and requires a more delicate hand and more intelligent brain.

Hot Tip #1: Be Consistent
Hopefully, this is obvious, but it needs to be said: pick someone every day. It takes just a couple minutes, so set a morning routine. Brew some coffee, read the Roto Riteup, and then make your daily picks. In fact, skip the coffee, because it can stain your teeth and is a gateway drug to the blackest of all black tar heroin.

Hot Tip #2: Look at the Starting Pitching Matchup
If you’re looking to take a closer, you’ll want to be sure the respective team is starting someone good. For example, taking Craig Kimbrel when Freddy Garcia is facing off with Clayton Kershaw is not the smartest idea in the world. However, if Sweaty Freddy is starting, you may want to go out and find yourself Atlanta’s long reliever who could be called out to eat some of the innings Freddy left behind.

Hot Tip #3: Study Bullpen Usage
If you’re going to chase innings, you’re going to have to make sure your relievers are actually likely to make it into the game. My secret weapon is Baseball Press’ bullpen usage tool, which shows you how many pitches each reliever has thrown over the past few days. Once you get deeper into the season, you’ll start to become accustomed to how each team uses certain relievers, and you’ll be able to exploit these patterns.

Hot Tip #4: The NL is your Friend
I’m not entirely sure if the numbers back this claim of relying on the National League, but it’s something I tried to do. Pitchers having to bat means there’s a greater likelihood of relievers coming in after a pinch hitter, meaning a greater chance the player you picked will enter the game.