Protecting and Drafting Middle Relievers
Most successful Scoresheet team managers would agree that winning a championship without having at least a couple of top middle relievers is virtually impossible. In real life baseball, most MLB starters only go 5-7 innings these days, and therefore are limited to that many innings in a Scoresheet game. So, even if you have a great closer like Nathan or Rivera to take close out the 9th inning for you, your team still has to get thru the 7th and 8th innings.
But the kicker is knowing in February or March which middle relievers are going to have a great season. After all, most middle relievers are in that role because their major league manager or GM does not think they are good enough to be either a starter or a closer. So middle relievers are even more unpredictable than pitchers in general.
Thus, rather than spending protected spots or high drafts picks on those risky middle relievers, most team owners use quite a few draft picks in round 18-28 on middle relievers, hoping that if they draft 4 or 5 of them that maybe 2 or 3 will turn out to be good picks (the shotgun approach).
My strategy is different. Instead of drafting a lot of middle relievers in hopes a couple work out, I prefer loading up on starting pitchers, getting at least 8 of them on my team before the baseball draft is over. I do that because I know that come May there is certain to be at least a couple of teams in my league that need starting pitching (they will have holes due to injuries or just plain lousy performance by some of their starters.) And I have found that teams that are desperate for starting pitching are often happy to trade away their best one or two middle relievers for even just a so-so starter, as those teams need the innings a starter provides. They are willing to trade away pitchers with much better ERAs just to get the innings eater they need.
The difference between trading for a middle reliever in May and drafting one in March is that for some reason, a middle reliever who has a great April seems to keep up that great work all season long, but then next season may be completely different. I do not know what it is that makes middle relievers perform so consistent for a whole season once they start the baseball season strong, and yet be so unpredictable from year to year. That dichotomy is why I like my strategy of drafting starting pitchers and then trading them for middle relievers during the baseball season.