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Hector Santiago, Matt Shoemaker, and Repurposed Clickbait

I'm going full-BuzzFeed as I explain to you how to use your starting pitcher in a new way.

Stephen Dunn

I ignore BuzzFeed as a general rule. I checked around the site a bit when I first learned of its existence, I was interested by a few things, and then it got old. Whatever. Things come and go.

I'm still on Facebook, though, and as such, BuzzFeed links force themselves upon me with some regularity. I ignore them for the most part - I don't really care what ‘90s toy I've forgotten about, or what turning 30 changes for myself, or what crazy texting misadventure parents have gone on this week. But there is one story type that I end up reading more often than I should.


I'm a sucker for them. "Oh, my vacuum and bathtub can be combined to make a whirlpool? Neat!" (I made that one up.) I do enjoy finding ways to use something in another way. Makes me feel like a 21st-century MacGyver, even if some random gif actually told me how to do it. Multiple uses are cool.

In regular fantasy, guys like Matt Shoemaker and Hector Santiago don't do a whole lot for me. Santiago is 3-7; Shoemaker is rocking a 3.84 ERA. A 27-year-old rookie, Shoemaker is a late bloomer, which doesn't bode well for longevity. Santiago's 3.46 ERA comes alongside a 4.53 xFIP.

In short, if I'm picking a starting pitcher for my fantasy team, those two will be fairly low on my list.

But You'll Never Believe What Neat Trick One Fantasy Owner Used To Hack His Lineup

I'm in this deep NL-Only analysts' league. If you follow me on Twitter, you've heard me whine about it at length. One place where I am doing well - third of 12 - is in saves, by virtue of having Mark Melancon and Kenley Jansen. But I couldn't help but notice that the guy who has yo-yoed back and forth between first and second all season went a different way. For the season, he is last in saves, gaining only one point from the position. And that one point matches exactly the number of saves he has: one.

It's not my favorite strategy, but it is totally legit to punt on saves entirely. In a league where all pitchers are slotted as the nondescript "P," that's easy - you just grab starters. But if your league is like most, and has "SP," "RP" and "P," the way to work this strategy is to find starters with reliever eligibility.

Two starters with reliever eligibility? Hector Santiago and Matt Shoemaker.

As starters, those two are very run-of-the-mill. Not exciting. But as relievers-who-start? Well, there's Garrett Richards, Tyson Ross, Tanner Roark, Danny Duffy, Dallas Keuchel, Alex Wood - a bunch of guys who are already owned by guys who are just using starters as starters. But for available pitchers? Shoemaker is 26-percent owned in Yahoo!, Santiago is 13. They're available.

If you started the season with, I don't know, Ernesto Frieri, Jason Grilli, John Axford, and Tommy Hunter as your closers, it's been a rough go for you. Maybe you're sitting on Jeurys Familia and Dale Thayer, just hoping you can add a few saves over the rest of the season and gain an extra point or two. But most likely, if you're bad off, that ship has sailed. Better to trade whatever closers you have for whatever you can get, and go all-in on starters-as-relievers.

You Won't Believe What Will Happen Next