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In-Season Management: Setting Your Lineup

After you have completed the draft, you should have your roster of first-string players and backups. In theory, you could just put your first-string lineup in, bench everyone else, and just show up at the end of the season to see if you won. This isn’t a very fun way to play however, and it certainly isn’t a very good way (although sometimes it seems to be a popular way to play in free public leagues). The first part of mid-season management that you should engage in is setting your lineup.

First, leagues differ on the frequency of lineup changes that they allow. Most leagues allow for either daily lineup changes or weekly lineup changes. In both leagues, the principles are the same. When a player is not playing on a given day or in a given week, you should bench him and substitute in a lesser player who is playing. In a weekly league, this may mean that you would prefer a player who is playing two games in a week over one who is playing only one. In addition to maximizing games played, lineup changes should be made for matchup reasons. For example, if one starting pitcher is playing against the potent Yankees, and one is playing against the punchless Pirates, then you would be well served to take that into account when choosing between those players.

It is important to note that most leagues have a “maximum games played/innings pitched” concept. If you play more than a set number of games at a given position slot, then subsequent games played in that slot will not contribute toward your team performance. Keep this in mind when rotating players in and out – you might want to bench a player when his team is playing, even if you have room to make him active on your team. If you are going to run out of games before the end of the season, you should try to play only the highest quality games that you can (assuming you still play the maximum). With respect to innings pitched, this limit can be quite important, as it is just too easy to get a deep bench of starting pitchers, and play them only when they make a start. Make sure you don’t run out of innings too early, and make sure that you have enough innings left for your relievers, who should be continuously active over the course of the entire season to maximize their value.

Next Section - In-Season Management: Adding and Dropping


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