Wondering why several owners (including myself) are short on Innings Pitched. Especially since most owners have been in leagues A LOT longer than me. Since I started in NL only "Ducky" league, I looked at only NL pitching for the following.
In 1999 NL Starting Pitchers averaged 5.99 innings per start. So far, in 2018 NL Starting Pitchers have averaged 5.48 innings per start. A difference of .51 per game or OVER 82 innings per season.
PS - will post intervening years in next couple of days.
I think it's because many owners don't have time to or don't want to keep up with their teams on a daily basis. This is exacerbated by and leads to an IP short for reasons related to what you'd point out, basically that MLB teams distribute their innings over many more pitchers than they used to for a few reasons
1) Increasing DL stints 2) Increasing bullpen use (your point) 3) Increasing shuttling of optionable players (especially relievers and spot starters) between AAA and MLB
So, MLB teams using more pitchers requires more active ownership to hit the IP cap in fairly deep (12 team) fantasy leagues. That's tough.
Yeah, even if you could get 5 starters who last all year you would STILL need 500-600 IP from relievers. Look at the Angels game Tuesday(?) night. Eight pitchers ?!?!. Plus, OPENERS ?!?! I spent $23.00 on Wainwright and Eickhoff. Both disabled till September. Now at -230 plus IP taking a hit on RA from 4.60 to 4.83. Costing me 5 wins. Plan next year - grab EVERY pitcher I can.
Huh, I wouldn't have guessed the effect wasn't so pronounced until just the last couple years. Maybe because in the NL there's long been an incentive to pull a SP for a pinch hitter sans the DH?
Re: Angels, September is more extreme with 40 man rosters. Re: opener, it'll become more common for sure, and possibly Mendoza should consider a rule barring "second" pitchers (i.e., enter before the 5th inning and throw, say, 3+ IP) from being put in CL/SR type roles.
I'm not 100% sure what the best way is to inline a plot on this forum, but I think you can get at the overall effect in a single chart like the one below (click to enlarge). The high workload SPs are gone, and it's been redistributed to <60 IP/year reliever types.
I'd conclude you want to focus on your bullpen for hitting the IP cap in Mendoza. I'd guess that with the "opener" and similar strategies aimed at reducing TTO penalty, you'll also probably see the middle part of this curve get flatter in coming years (i.e., more 80-130 IP/season guys).
I started with just 2008 and 2018 and saw a .30 difference. Was gonna abandon the whole idea till I realized a .30 IP per game difference translates to 48 IP per season. Then went back to 1999 to get a long term perspective. What was Mendoza first year ? I'd like to chart MLB changes since rules were established.
several changes I would suggest to help with the innings. One is to remove the limit on starting pitchers. currently we can only have 8 SP's active. Second, I would suggest we remove the penalty for when relief pitchers start a game. I had Ryan Stanek in one league and I had to either have him take one of the 8 starting pitcher spots, or get only a percentage of his innings because he was a RP who started.