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Becker: The SWAT Box

Welcome to the SWAT Box, your home for fantasy strategy, wrangling, analysis and tips. This column tends to cater to the AL and NL monoleague players, but there's still plenty here for mixed leaguers as well. However, this time around, it's going to be something geared specially to the deeper league setups.

The Theory of Maximized Relief Innings

About three years ago, I became very frustrated with bad pitchers. Amassing innings in an attempt to keep up with the league leader in "counting stats" meant trading quality for quantity, and I hated to chase six strikeouts and a shot at a win and wind up with four-runs-in-five-innings of collateral damage to my ERA and WHIP. It's an approach that can work to win baseball games, but in fantasy, it's just not efficient. In baseball, it's all about getting that W, but in fantasy, we do care about our ratios; otherwise, we'd all assemble our rotations like the Minnesota Twins. You'd get Johan Santana as your anchor, Boof Bonser as your No. 2 guy -- though you'd really wish you could have Francisco Liriano instead -- then settle on Sidney Ponson, Ramon Ortiz and Carlos Silva to pitch just well enough to let the offense win. Come to think of it, that is exactly how some fantasy players structure their team, isn't it?