Innings pitched and plate appearances are two of the unsexiest stats in baseball. They are also the most important because they represent opportunity.
In the SFRRC Fantasy Baseball League, innings pitched and plate appearances are just two of the 12 stats that measure a player’s success but if a player isn’t on the field, he can’t contribute to any of the other stats.
As you begin building your draft list, playing time is a crucial factor for a player’s success. Depth charts are important as spring training ends. If you are looking at a variety of projection systems, the first stat to look at is playing time.
The Steamer600 projection system standardizes playing time. Starting pitcher statistical projections are based on 200 innings pitched while reliever stats are projected on 65 innings pitched. Hitter projections are based on 600 plate appearances. This is a great way to compare expected statistical output by players for the upcoming season but the lens is narrow and can’t be viewed on its own. Not every player will get 600 plate appearances or pitch 200 innings. Again, depth charts are your friend.
Taking a risk on a superstar prospect with an undefined role for the upcoming season isn’t a bad strategy with your late-round draft picks but it’s a terrible idea midway through the draft when you need productive players on your roster. Several years ago, we added three “NA” roster spots. These are ideal for stashing prospects on the cusp of being added to major league rosters. There is a risk these prospects will never see a big league at-bat in 2017 but the reward can be tremendous if they find regular playing time.
Over the next 24 hours, you should be combing over the injury reports and looking at the depth charts to solidify your draft plans. Or, you can simply rely on the auto-draft to do that for you. But where’s the fun in that?