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Mining for Saves Early in the Season (2022 Fantasy Baseball)

by Benjamin Coldiron
May 16, 2022
Daniel Bard

Given Colorado’s record being in the middle of the pack, Daniel Bard has emerged as a high-end fantasy closer.

With this year’s baseball season still in its infancy, the good teams are beginning to separate themselves from the mid-to-lower half of the league. You may also be finding holes within your fantasy team that need to be filled. While you are digging for points to help out your team, you may want to look at finding help within the bullpen.


Common knowledge would tell us that the teams with both the most wins would have the most save opportunities. Consider the fact that the teams that tend to win the most games also tend to have really good offenses, and they also tend to have some of the best starting pitchers in the league. These two components, when considering how saves are earned, combine to make the top teams poor targets for save opportunities. For example, a team like the Dodgers or the Yankees are probably going to win most of their games by more than three runs, which would keep save opportunities low. With this in mind, where exactly would we look for saves if they are not at the top of the league?

To answer that question, I would like to introduce the Pythagorean theorem of baseball.

This is a formula that allows us to predict the number of wins somewhat accurately for each team. We know that the bottom of the league will most likely not have pitchers who are racking up saves because let’s face it, most of them are either blowing the opportunities, or there are simply not many opportunities to be had. Teams that are winning a lot, as I said earlier, have high-powered offenses with outstanding starting pitchers. Also, keep in mind that most of the players from the top teams will already be rostered. This would lead me to believe that the middle section of teams would probably be the best place to look for saves.

This chart shows the projected win percentage using the Pythagorean theorem of baseball using data from games through May 10.

This chart shows us that while there are some outliers towards the top of the league with more saves, a large percentage of the saves are found in the middle of the pack.

Now, let’s look at projected wins using only run differential to try to validate the idea that a disproportionately high number of saves come from the middle of the league.

We’re seeing very similar patterns to the first chart with this set of data, which confirms that our target teams are in the middle portion of both data sets.

Given the data sets that we have looked at, the following pitchers have the potential to improve your bullpen. Depending on which host you are using and your league, these pitchers could still be available.

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