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What It Takes To Win: ERA

Time for another installment of  What It Takes To Win.    In this series, I examine my keeper league and determine the necessary thresholds to finish strong in each category.  I feel that my league is fairly standard: 23-man rosters, 12 teams, normal 5x5 categories.  I've got three years of data to work with, and my goal is to finish at least third in each category.  10 points times 10 categories equals 100 points, enough to win the league.  Last time I looked at steals.

In looking at three years of data for my league, I've determined that a 3.73 ERA should earn you at least third place in the category.

  • Among those with 160 innings pitched, 27 starters were at 3.73 or below in '07.  18 such starters pulled it off in '06.  I've predicted 18 to do it in '08. 
  • Jake Peavy was the only player under 3.00 in '07; Johan Santana and Roy Oswalt managed it in '06.
  • Best late-round bets for low ERAs: Tim Lincecum, Francisco Liriano, and A.J. Burnett.
  • Since your closers are almost always under 3.73, you can push it a little higher than that for a starter or two.  If you widen the net to 3.90 and below you find 15 additional starters (including low-K bargains Derek Lowe and Greg Maddux).

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