Pitching Roles

Summary: What are the various pitching roles, and when are they used?

The Active Roster Pitching Staff

There are 11 pitchers on your active roster.

  • 5 Starting Pitchers (SP1, SP2, SP3, SP4, SP5)
  • 1 Long Reliever (LR)
  • 2 Middle Relievers (MR1, MR2)
  • 2 Set-Up Men (SU1, SU2)
  • 1 Closer (CL)

Starting Pitchers (SP)

The starting pitcher is the initial pitcher you have slotted to start in the game. Ideally, the SP will pitch all nine innings flawlessly and you will win – but it doesn't always work out that way. Your starting pitcher will pitch until one of the following occurs:

  • He is too fatigued to keep pitching
  • He is not pitching effectively and needs to be pulled
  • The closer (CL) comes in for the save
  • The game is over

Pitchers assigned to the starter roles are never used in a game unless they are the assigned starter for that game.

A CSFBL team’s pitching staff has slots for 5 starting pitchers, but managers have the choice of using a 5-man, 4-man or custom rotation. Read on for more details on setting your rotation.

What is a Rotation?

The order in which the starting pitchers are used is also known as a rotation. There are 3 options for setting your pitching rotation:

  • 5-man rotation
  • 4-man rotation
  • Custom rotation

5-Man Rotation

The default line-up used by CSFBL is the common 5-man rotation. In this format, each pitcher receives at least four days of rest between starts. When you set your pitching rotation, you will assign five starting pitchers to your line-up in slots SP1 through SP5. As the regular season progresses, each starter slot (SP1-SP5) is used a total of 32 times. (32 x 5 = 160)

4-Man Rotation

Some owners prefer to use a 4-man rotation. This can easily be achieved by clicking on the ‘Manager’ link on your team page and changing the setting in the ‘5-Man or 4-Man Pitching Rotation?’ drop down list. (Note: remember to click the ‘Save Changes’ button before leaving the page, or no change will be made) In a 4-man rotation, SP1, SP2, SP3, and SP4 start every fourth game, with a minimum of three days of rest between starts. The pitcher in the SP5 slot NEVER gets called on. When you play with a 4-man rotation, you essentially have a 10-man pitching staff, not 11. The 11th man slotted as your SP5 will not get the ball and is essentially ‘benched’.

Custom Rotation

If your best pitcher is rested and ready to go, why not get him in there? Many of the most active owners will adjust their rotations throughout the season depending on their pitchers' endurance and fatigue. Most pitching staffs do not have 4 pitchers that can go on 3 day’s rest, but many staffs have 1 or 2 pitchers who can easily pitch more than 32 games per season. Your rotation can be adjusted prior to the start of a sim allowing you to move a pitcher who is ready to go into the current starting slot.

In the Playoffs

During the playoffs, many teams shift to a 3-man rotation. This strategy ensures that only three starting pitchers (usually your best 3) are used. To accomplish this, the manager must shift his pitchers between games to make them available to start again on a few day’s rest (this is like running a custom rotation) For example; after the first game is played the manager would move the starting pitcher from Game 1 (SP1 slot) to the SP4 slot so he will be the starting pitcher in Game 4. This rotation scheme only works well in the playoffs due to the rest days in between games and between every series.

In a consistently run 4-man or 3-man rotation, some pitchers will never be used. Before they get the opportunity to start a game they will be shifted by the owner to another starting slot and skipped in the rotation.

Who Should I Use as a Starting Pitcher?

Starting pitchers pitch the majority of innings for your team, so it makes sense to have your best pitchers in your starting rotation. In other words, starting pitchers need to be quality pitchers with solid pitching ratings (PO, FI, CO, SY). These ratings are described in the ‘Player section’ along with examples of what they affect.

In addition to the four key pitching ratings, Endurance (EN) is extremely valuable for starters in their quest to pitch deep into games. High Endurance will allow a pitcher to throw more pitches before suffering from fatigue. Other skills, such as Control (CO) and Power (PO) can impact how many pitches a pitcher needs to get through an inning and therefore also impact how many innings a pitcher can pitch before getting fatigued.

The Bullpen

The Bullpen is the general name covering all the non-starters. These pitchers fulfill a variety of roles and have specific uses. Whereas a starter is only expected to pitch every fourth or fifth game, a relief pitcher can be called on at any time (i.e. multiple games in a row).

Relief pitchers in general can have lower Endurance than starters. However, good EN for a reliever is often valuable for recovering between games. The pitching ratings of relief pitchers might be less than starters, but quality relief pitchers are valuable, especially in certain roles.

All reliever roles will get some playing time. In the current game engine, none of them can be completely ignored. A good Closer (CL) is probably the most valuable, but quality relievers in the other slots can be useful for maintaining leads, or keeping a game close while waiting for the offense to contribute and score some runs.

Closer (CL)

The Closer position is best for a good pitcher who might not have great EN. The CL is used in the late innings of close games, usually when your team in clinging to a narrow lead. You want him to come in, get outs, and finish (close) the game. A CL will not pitch a lot of innings, but they will be valuable innings. How often your CL is used is directly related to the user-defined ‘Manager’s Tendencies’, Always use closer in save situation?. If this option is turned on, your CL will be brought in to finish up nearly every game in which you are leading by three runs or less.

Set-up (SU)

A bullpen has two set-up men (SU1 & SU2). They are usually used in the 7th and 8th inning in close games. They "set-up" the win, bridging the gap between your starter and your closer. Set-up men get used in important situations, often in tie games or nursing slim leads – although they often pitch fewer innings than Middle Relievers. This is a good place to consider keeping a right-handed and left-handed pitcher.

Middle Relief (MR)

A bullpen has two middle relievers (MR1 & MR2). They are typically used in the middle to late innings when your team is ahead or behind by more than a few runs. They are also used in situations when a starter has faltered and there is a need for a situational pitcher change (i.e. changing from a right-handed to a left-handed pitcher to face a left-handed batter). Situational use is one reason to consider having one left-handed and one right-handed middle reliever.

Long Relief (LR)

The long reliever comes in when a starting pitcher falters early. This role might not draw your best reliever, but if this pitcher is effective in preventing further scoring by the opposition, maybe your offense can get you back into the game. This pitcher also tends to pop up at odd points (i.e. extra-inning games and situations where you have already used your other pitchers). Long relief is a good role for young, unproven talent

Righty/Lefty Match-ups

In the two pitcher roles – SU and MR – the batter vs pitcher match-up is compared before the AI determines which pitcher to bring into the game. As a result, it is often very effective to have both righty and lefty pitchers in these roles, as the more effective pitcher will often be brought in to pitch. There are also other factors that come into play – fatigue, for example – but having a righty/lefty combination in the bullpen is an effective way to manage your team.