This article is part of our Rounding Third series.
The NFBC Main Event drafts, particularly the live drafts in New York and Las Vegas, are notorious for pushing up the elite starting pitchers. There are good reasons for this - in addition to being a 15-team league instead of a 12-team league, there's the overall competition component, and that forces teams to try to cram in as many strikeouts as possible. Add in the ever-increasing strikeout environment in major league baseball, and it's become so important to secure good sources of strikeouts without compromising your ERA's and WHIP's early on in your drafts.
There was some discussion, mostly on Twitter, speculating that perhaps this would be the year that the starting pitching inflation in early drafts would subside. The line of thinking was that the shortened season and the likelihood that some starters might not pitch deep into games might lower the number of strikeouts one would need to be competitive. Judging from the early drafts that I've seen and my own draft on Friday night, the opposite mentality has been true.
Last year in my Main Event league, four starters went in the first round eight more in the second, and a total of 19 went in the first four rounds. This year, four starting pitchers went in the first round, followed by six in the second, and a whopping 22 starters went through the first four rounds, along with two closers. Chris Liss's Main Event draft had similar results, as did the second Main Event draft last