This article is part of our Mound Musings series.
We fantasy baseball players always need to be aware of evolving trends in the game as we try to out-hustle the competition. MLB General Managers and field managers face similar challenges to a far greater extent. So, as we look at the makeup of some of the favorites to make the 2019 playoffs, today's question focuses on the impact of a deep and effective bullpen on those playoff aspirations, and of course, how those better bullpens can affect your fantasy team.
I think most would agree that a top-shelf MLB team needs a wide variety of players contributing to their overall success. Solid hitting is obvious – if you don't score at least one run, you can't win a game. However, pitching has to allow fewer runs than you score, and that's problematic, especially for teams with shallow bullpens. Even the elite pitchers are suffering this season. Did you know that the Nationals and Red Sox are a combined 8-20 in games started by Max Scherzer and Chris Sale? The bullpens haven't been responsible for all of those losses, but they have done their parts. It was even worse until recently as Scherzer has won his last two starts.
That strongly underscores the glaring weakness of several otherwise good teams. The Nationals have one of the worst bullpens in baseball. Quite simply, unless they can pile up a large number of runs in support of starters like Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin, there is no guarantee they