Advanced Stats - Pitching: Friday, May 19th
With 14 of 15 games on the night slate, the two afternoon pitchers will not be listed because one is making his major league debut. There are no stats to list, which makes the manual work to fit him in just not worth the effort for a game few people will even bother playing. Thankfully, this is a much stronger pitching slate than the last few days.
A discussion I was having last week on twitter seems like ideal lead-in material today with the subject of which taking the mound tonight. After another excellent performance, “(player-popup)Alex Wood”:/players/alex-wood-15846’s ERA now stands at 2.27 with a 2.47 SIERA. The other person expected him to “regress” to his career 3.53 SIERA. While conversations in 140 characters can be difficult, I probably unclearly attempted to explain that this was not necessarily the case because SIERA is by definition “Skill Interactive”.
While the other person was correct in that the career number doesn’t just get thrown away, it still does have meaning, a change in SIERA or some other underlying metric like SwStr%, Contact% or batted ball rates usually indicates a change in skill, unlike changes in ERA and BABIP, which are expected to regress outside any other developments. Remember that career SIERA includes things like periods of pitching injured or perhaps different mechanics, velocity, pitch mix or approach.
In general, when you see changes in traditional stats or surface numbers without changes in things pitchers have more control over, regression is likely. When the changes are in things they can control and something like SIERA changes, then we look for the reason. Perhaps the other person was correct that Wood had faced a lower level of competition in a smaller sample size, but a 2.47 SIERA over six starts (35.2 innings) against any group of major league pitchers is impressive and something worthy of deeper consideration.
While this doesn’t necessarily mean Wood is locked in for an ERA below 2.5 for the rest of the season (in fact there already may be a slight flaw in his K%), it does mean that it’s a number we should respect more than a simple ERA improvement, where we’d expect him to regress to his career rates. I hope that was a little clearer than what I was attempting to get across on Twitter.
As always, don’t forget to check lineups, umpire assignments, line movement, ownership projections and Kevin’s weather report as they are released later in the day, all of which may change the equation and help you decide between two pitchers of otherwise equal value in a pinch. And all of which are now available right here on the site.
Starting Pitching Main Chart
| Opp L/R
| Opp L7
Alex Wood has struck out 29 of his last 65 batters and while it’s true, he has faced some inferior offenses this year, even if they weren’t all expected to be, that’s impressive against any collection of major league hitters. His velocity is up over two miles per hour and he’s nearly doubled his changeup usage from last year, a pitch with a 16% whiff rate. In fact, he’s thrown non-fastballs (curves and changes) on more than half his pitches over his last five starts and it’s been the curve that’s upped its whiff rate to 20% over that span from 17.5% on the year and 16% for his career. While his SwStr% may not strongly support his strikeout rate, it’s still a career high by more than two full points. He could lose a full touchdown off his strikeout rate and have it remain a career high. He hasn’t gone more than 94 pitches and only above 88 once, so maybe that’s been part of the plan. Have him go max effort for potentially shorter outings. The Marlins are not bad against LHP (20.3 HR/FB), but the extremely negative run environment still makes this a favorable spot.
Charlie Morton has seen both is strikeout rate and ERA climb over the last month, but the underlying numbers believe in neither. The SwStr% has not increased, but is still solidly above average. That would probably keep his ERA estimators in tune with his season numbers, nearly half a run higher than they’ve been over the last month. Part of the recent issue has been walks (eight in his last two starts). Over his last three starts though, he has a 55 GB% and 22.5 Hard%, so even if you don’t believe in the higher strikeout rate, the quality of contact has been excellent despite the higher BABIP. The matchup with Cleveland may be a bit better than people realize. They’re insufficiencies on the road this season mostly lies in an 8.7 HR/FB away from home. While Houston may remain power friendly, it’s an overall negative run environment. Cleveland does have a 112 sOPS+ against GB pitchers and 114 sOPS+ against power pitchers, which may be what he is now.
Chris Sale has double digit strikeouts in seven straight starts and has been the best pitcher in baseball this year. Oakland, strangely, has a 17.4 HR/FB at home, but also a strikeout rate right around 24% both at home and against LHP. They also have a 117 sOPS+ against power pitching, but with a 31.7 K%.
Jacob deGrom has had occasional issues with walks and HRs this season. It hasn’t been a consistent thing with 11 of his 20 walks in two starts and six of his seven HRs in three. His hard hit rate has been above 40% in half his starts, but below 30% in the other half. What has been more consistent is his ability to miss bats, with a SwStr above 13% in five of his last six starts. He trails only Sale in SwStr% and then also Wood in K% today. The Angels have been one of the hottest offenses in the majors (5.1 K-BB% last seven days), but also a 14.3 K-BB% on the road this season.
Lisalverto Bonilla went eight serviceable innings against a poor San Francisco offense on the road last week. He’s struck out batters at an average rate in 33 career innings, but walked too many (9.6%), while keeping hard contact to a minimum (25%), although he’s allowed five HRs. He has had above average strikeout rates with some control issues at most stops in the minors, but not the HR issues at most stops. The caveat is that he’s been mostly a reliever in the minors. At 26, he’s no longer a prospect, but more of a filler in the Cincinnati rotation, but somewhere on Twitter last night, I read a prominent fantasy handle refer to the Colorado offense as “potent”. No, Coors is potent. The Rockies are not. They have an 18.3 K-BB% on the road, 15.6 K-BB% vs RHP, and 19.7 K-BB% over the last week with a below average HR/FB in all three circumstances as well. The numbers call them potentially the top matchup on the board in a nearly neutral park. They are far from potent.
Luis Severino has struck out three or fewer in two of his last three starts, but sandwiched in a total domination of the Cubs (nine Ks, 26 BF) and has not otherwise whiffed fewer than six in any of his other starts this year. During a start against Toronto a few weeks ago, I mentioned to a friend that I don’t know how he gets LHBs out, literally a few pitches before Ryan Goins went deep against him. He’s actually had more problems with RHBs this season despite peripherals and hard contact rates pointing a bit in the other direction. The changeup, used only 12% of the time, actually grades out more positively than it has in the past, though I haven’t seen it personally yet. It’s tough to argue a 21.8 overall K-BB% going into his eight start of the season. There remains occasional flaws among the upside, but he’s easily exceeded expectations to this point. Tampa Bay is a unique offense that can enhance the upside (26.4 K% vs RHP), but exploit those flaws as well (17.5 HR/FB) vs RHP. Against power pitchers, they have a middling 102 sOPS+ and the second most HRs (17), but have struck out an amazing 35.7% of the time.
Michael Wacha has been remarkably consistent this season. He went 6.2 innings with three strikeouts in a start against the Pirates a month ago, but has otherwise gone exactly six innings with between five and eight strikeouts in each of his other five starts. His SwStr has dropped from 14% in each of his first two starts to 7.8% over the last month, but was up to 10.8% in his most recent effort. His 6.2 BB% and 23.8 Hard% are both career lows, while his 82.9 mph aEV is lowest on the board. At home tonight, he has one of the top matchups on the board against the Giants. They still don’t strike out a ton, but have a 6.3 HR/FB vs RHP. St Louis is nearly neutral towards LH power, but the Giants only have Belt, while it plays similarly suppressive to San Francisco against RH power.
Nathan Karns has struck out 22 of his last 48 batters in Tampa Bay and then home against Baltimore. He transitions to a Minnesota park that’s almost an equally positive run environment to Kansas City, but slightly more power friendly. We have to keep that in mind with his proclivity towards the long ball, but an interesting transition has taken place this year. While his HR rate is up to 22.9% of fly balls, he’s increased his ground ball rate more than 10 points (42.8% career, 55.2% this year). It makes the HR rate perhaps not as bad as it seems, but one every five innings is still a recipe for disaster. However, he’s also modified his walk rate (7.7% lowest of career) and his 20.7 K-BB% is 11th best in baseball.
Taijuan Walker has struck out just four of his last 53 batters with a SwStr below 6% and a one mph drop in velocity. This is concerning, but it’s so difficult to entire pass on him in a rare quality spot. Provided he’s healthy (he pitched injured last year), he has the potential to shine against an offense with a 25.3 K% against RHP in a very favorable spot.
Tyler Anderson has struck out 18 of his last 48 batters. In one of those starts he had a 75 GB% without a fly ball. In the other, he had equal 30.8% ground and fly ball rates with a 38.5 LD%. Such has been his season. It’s been all over the place after being a rock of stability in his rookie season. He’s just two HRs off his entire total allowed last year already in one-third the innings. One positive to hang our hats on is a double digit SwStr% in all but one start, so perhaps it will all come together soon (or already has begun to) as his velocity has essentially ticked up slightly in virtually every start since his second. The Reds haven’t been bad. They’ve struck out just 17.8% against LHP and shown power, but have just a 25.9 Hard% and 7.7 HR/FB over the last week. That includes a few games at Wrigley with the wind blowing out.
This list is reserved for pitchers who may look attractive because their ERAs are much lower than their estimators. The reason for this is almost always extreme BABIP, LOB, and/or HR/FB deviation from the norm, so we’ll just quote those stats and be done with them.
League AVG (.288 BABIP – 73.4 LOB% – 13.3 HR/FB)
Aaron Sanchez (.250 – 85.1% – 15.8) threw 78 pitches in his first start in a month and is probably on track for 85-90 tonight, just not enough for a pitcher who depends on workload and batted ball outcomes more than missing bats to accumulate daily fantasy points in addition to a difficult assignment in Baltimore.
Gio Gonzalez (.243 – 91.4% – 14.8) may look a bit better against the Freeman-less Braves, but his 11.9 BB% is atrocious and saved only by a ridiculous strand rate. His 25.0 Hard% is fifth best in baseball though, so we can probably expect a lot of walks and weak contact. It might not be terrible, but also probably not worth paying for today.
Chris Tillman (.355 – 81.3% – 0.0) has walked eight of 44 batters through two starts.
Hector Santiago (.258 – 79.9 – 9.7) can get some credit for a BABIP and HR/FB near his career rate, but not the strand rate and has a 36.2 Hard% with just a 16.8 K% this season. He’s generally run below his estimators by a run, but that didn’t happen last year and he generally has struck out more batters in the past.
Jeremy Hellickson (.218 – 85.9% – 13.4) has seen his ability to miss bats plummet.
(In order from least to most offensive)
Erasmo Ramirez has done a fine job (15.6 K-BB%) mostly out of the pen this year. He’s started just one game, almost exactly a month ago, in which he threw 66 pitches. Expect no more than five innings, at best, tonight. Then there’s the Yankees (18.0 HR/FB vs RHP). If you want to use Sale, he could make some sense as a near min-priced SP2 though.
Daniel Norris has a nearly league average SwStr% despite the below average K% and faces a Texas offense with a 25.9 K% and 26.4 Hard% against LHP. However, they’ve struck out at nearly half that rate over the last week (13.8%) and he’s walked 10.8% of batters with a 44.8 Hard% with only a 4.8 HR/FB to show for it so far. It’s mostly shown up in a .358 BABIP.
Trevor Bauer is probably better than his ERA, but not as good as his strikeout rate? Either way, he’s in potentially the worst spot on the board.
Ricky Nolasco has an impressive 15.7 K-BB% and a favorable matchup, but a 37 Hard% with a 90.3 mph aEV, 13% Barrels/BBE and a league leading 13 HRs allowed.
Kendall Graveman puts his 16.1 K% up against Boston’s 17.7 K% vs RHP.
Ariel Miranda faces a White Sox team that is actually quite competent against LHP (16.7 K%).
Jose Quintana has an ERA over four with a double digit walk rate and may have further issues ones that strikeout rate comes crashing down to meet his SwStr%. The White Sox should have sold high, as there were apparent issues last season. I don’t know why he’s still being talked about as a high quality trade target.
Pitcher and Opponent K% & BB% for titled splits, similar to the Main Chart.
|Aaron Sanchez||Blue Jays||L2 Years||19.7%||7.9%||Road||20.8%||7.5%||L14 Days||19.1%||9.5%|
|Alex Wood||Dodgers||L2 Years||22.1%||7.4%||Home||30.3%||6.2%||L14 Days||50.0%||4.8%|
|Ariel Miranda||Mariners||L2 Years||20.0%||7.8%||Home||22.2%||5.4%||L14 Days||20.3%||10.1%|
|Charlie Morton||Astros||L2 Years||20.3%||8.0%||Home||26.0%||9.3%||L14 Days||29.4%||15.7%|
|Chris Sale||Red Sox||L2 Years||30.3%||4.9%||Road||26.2%||5.6%||L14 Days||43.1%||9.8%|
|Chris Tillman||Orioles||L2 Years||18.1%||8.7%||Home||21.7%||10.1%||L14 Days||18.2%||11.4%|
|Daniel Norris||Tigers||L2 Years||20.6%||7.7%||Home||21.5%||9.4%||L14 Days||16.0%||8.0%|
|Erasmo Ramirez||Rays||L2 Years||18.2%||5.9%||Home||20.4%||6.2%||L14 Days||26.3%||10.5%|
|Gio Gonzalez||Nationals||L2 Years||21.9%||8.8%||Road||19.2%||8.2%||L14 Days||13.2%||13.2%|
|Hector Santiago||Twins||L2 Years||19.0%||9.5%||Home||19.1%||8.9%||L14 Days||15.9%||15.9%|
|Jacob deGrom||Mets||L2 Years||27.4%||6.0%||Home||30.4%||8.6%||L14 Days||34.6%||7.7%|
|Jered Weaver||Padres||L2 Years||13.6%||6.3%||Home||15.1%||5.4%||L14 Days||16.7%||9.5%|
|Jeremy Hellickson||Phillies||L2 Years||18.8%||5.7%||Road||14.9%||6.3%||L14 Days||11.6%||7.0%|
|Jose Quintana||White Sox||L2 Years||21.0%||6.2%||Road||19.7%||8.3%||L14 Days||16.7%||13.0%|
|Justin Nicolino||Marlins||L2 Years||9.6%||6.5%||Road||12.7%||7.4%||L14 Days||17.9%||14.3%|
|Kendall Graveman||Athletics||L2 Years||14.9%||6.3%||Home||15.1%||5.8%||L14 Days||14.0%||3.5%|
|Lisalverto Bonilla||Reds||L2 Years||20.8%||9.4%||Home||27.3%||13.6%||L14 Days||16.1%||6.5%|
|Luis Severino||Yankees||L2 Years||22.9%||7.7%||Road||22.6%||8.0%||L14 Days||26.2%||9.5%|
|Matt Moore||Giants||L2 Years||19.9%||8.5%||Road||19.1%||10.4%||L14 Days||20.7%||6.9%|
|Michael Wacha||Cardinals||L2 Years||20.7%||7.7%||Home||20.5%||7.2%||L14 Days||26.1%||8.7%|
|Nathan Karns||Royals||L2 Years||24.6%||9.1%||Road||26.0%||11.1%||L14 Days||45.8%||6.3%|
|Nick Martinez||Rangers||L2 Years||12.6%||8.5%||Road||9.0%||10.2%||L14 Days||9.8%||3.9%|
|R.A. Dickey||Braves||L2 Years||15.9%||7.8%||Home||16.0%||8.8%||L14 Days||5.6%||9.3%|
|Ricky Nolasco||Angels||L2 Years||18.8%||5.5%||Road||19.2%||5.8%||L14 Days||26.9%||7.7%|
|Taijuan Walker||Diamondbacks||L2 Years||21.7%||5.8%||Road||19.2%||7.0%||L14 Days||7.6%||5.7%|
|Trevor Bauer||Indians||L2 Years||21.8%||9.4%||Road||21.5%||9.0%||L14 Days||26.5%||6.1%|
|Trevor Williams||Pirates||L2 Years||17.8%||9.2%||Home||19.7%||11.5%||L14 Days||15.8%||5.3%|
|Tyler Anderson||Rockies||L2 Years||21.3%||6.3%||Road||19.1%||6.5%||L14 Days||37.5%||6.3%|
K/BB Chart – Opponent
Batted Ball Chart
Pitcher and Opponent Batted Ball stats.
|Aaron Sanchez||Blue Jays||L2 Years||28.3%||12.0%||8.7%||2017||30.9%||15.8%||12.7%||Road||28.0%||8.1%||5.0%||L14 Days||33.3%||0.0%||6.6%|
|Alex Wood||Dodgers||L2 Years||26.9%||10.6%||10.6%||2017||22.1%||5.3%||5.8%||Home||25.5%||8.7%||7.8%||L14 Days||15.8%||0.0%||5.3%|
|Ariel Miranda||Mariners||L2 Years||34.1%||14.2%||16.9%||2017||30.2%||14.8%||13.5%||Home||36.3%||13.9%||20.0%||L14 Days||31.3%||9.1%||25.0%|
|Charlie Morton||Astros||L2 Years||31.4%||14.4%||11.6%||2017||36.1%||12.9%||20.5%||Home||30.6%||11.5%||15.8%||L14 Days||22.2%||16.7%||0.0%|
|Chris Sale||Red Sox||L2 Years||29.5%||11.8%||11.3%||2017||31.9%||8.2%||16.8%||Road||30.1%||4.7%||12.8%||L14 Days||30.4%||14.3%||21.7%|
|Chris Tillman||Orioles||L2 Years||29.9%||9.8%||11.1%||2017||25.8%||0.0%||0.0%||Home||33.6%||11.2%||13.1%||L14 Days||25.8%||0.0%||0.0%|
|Daniel Norris||Tigers||L2 Years||34.4%||10.7%||19.0%||2017||44.8%||4.8%||29.6%||Home||37.1%||13.8%||23.0%||L14 Days||54.1%||7.7%||37.9%|
|Erasmo Ramirez||Rays||L2 Years||28.6%||12.7%||9.9%||2017||38.2%||15.0%||17.6%||Home||26.4%||10.5%||6.1%||L14 Days||66.7%||0.0%||58.4%|
|Gio Gonzalez||Nationals||L2 Years||32.0%||10.7%||12.6%||2017||29.2%||14.8%||4.2%||Road||32.4%||12.4%||10.9%||L14 Days||33.3%||23.5%||12.8%|
|Hector Santiago||Twins||L2 Years||35.9%||11.3%||19.5%||2017||36.2%||9.7%||21.0%||Home||38.6%||13.2%||21.5%||L14 Days||36.7%||30.0%||20.0%|
|Jacob deGrom||Mets||L2 Years||30.1%||11.0%||10.2%||2017||36.7%||17.5%||15.9%||Home||29.0%||11.9%||7.1%||L14 Days||36.7%||30.0%||13.4%|
|Jered Weaver||Padres||L2 Years||33.1%||12.9%||13.5%||2017||31.7%||26.4%||14.5%||Home||34.0%||14.7%||14.3%||L14 Days||25.0%||18.2%||14.3%|
|Jeremy Hellickson||Phillies||L2 Years||28.9%||13.2%||9.9%||2017||27.8%||13.4%||7.9%||Road||30.6%||13.5%||12.1%||L14 Days||31.4%||26.7%||5.7%|
|Jose Quintana||White Sox||L2 Years||30.2%||9.3%||11.8%||2017||28.9%||9.8%||7.8%||Road||29.2%||5.6%||8.3%||L14 Days||26.3%||5.0%||-5.3%|
|Justin Nicolino||Marlins||L2 Years||31.3%||8.5%||12.7%||2017||22.2%||0.0%||11.1%||Road||33.3%||13.9%||16.6%||L14 Days||22.2%||0.0%||11.1%|
|Kendall Graveman||Athletics||L2 Years||29.0%||12.9%||11.9%||2017||34.4%||11.6%||13.3%||Home||28.4%||10.6%||10.5%||L14 Days||30.4%||9.1%||6.5%|
|Lisalverto Bonilla||Reds||L2 Years||25.0%||21.4%||8.3%||2017||25.0%||21.4%||8.3%||Home||41.7%||16.7%||25.0%||L14 Days||16.7%||25.0%||0.0%|
|Luis Severino||Yankees||L2 Years||28.1%||17.9%||5.7%||2017||28.6%||21.9%||9.8%||Road||29.0%||9.3%||11.8%||L14 Days||34.6%||33.3%||23.1%|
|Matt Moore||Giants||L2 Years||32.8%||11.1%||16.0%||2017||42.0%||13.3%||26.7%||Road||32.6%||11.9%||18.7%||L14 Days||43.9%||5.3%||21.9%|
|Michael Wacha||Cardinals||L2 Years||30.0%||11.9%||10.5%||2017||23.8%||11.4%||5.0%||Home||31.1%||11.9%||11.9%||L14 Days||33.3%||0.0%||33.3%|
|Nathan Karns||Royals||L2 Years||32.2%||13.6%||11.7%||2017||30.2%||22.9%||4.7%||Road||37.2%||17.4%||16.8%||L14 Days||36.4%||20.0%||9.1%|
|Nick Martinez||Rangers||L2 Years||29.1%||17.0%||12.2%||2017||25.5%||17.5%||1.0%||Road||29.0%||14.9%||10.7%||L14 Days||29.6%||11.8%||6.9%|
|R.A. Dickey||Braves||L2 Years||26.9%||12.5%||6.2%||2017||30.0%||23.1%||9.3%||Home||30.2%||18.5%||8.6%||L14 Days||33.3%||23.1%||11.1%|
|Ricky Nolasco||Angels||L2 Years||33.7%||13.3%||19.4%||2017||37.0%||20.6%||23.2%||Road||39.6%||15.3%||27.2%||L14 Days||41.2%||28.6%||35.3%|
|Taijuan Walker||Diamondbacks||L2 Years||28.9%||14.3%||10.1%||2017||31.9%||8.9%||16.3%||Road||28.3%||15.1%||8.4%||L14 Days||23.9%||10.0%||6.5%|
|Trevor Bauer||Indians||L2 Years||32.5%||13.3%||13.8%||2017||36.9%||20.5%||22.5%||Road||31.8%||8.0%||11.5%||L14 Days||27.3%||22.2%||15.2%|
|Trevor Williams||Pirates||L2 Years||27.0%||22.0%||2.7%||2017||24.2%||17.9%||-4.6%||Home||28.6%||5.9%||9.5%||L14 Days||23.3%||33.3%||-10.0%|
|Tyler Anderson||Rockies||L2 Years||29.1%||15.9%||5.1%||2017||31.3%||24.4%||7.9%||Road||30.4%||20.4%||8.8%||L14 Days||14.8%||25.0%||-14.8%|
Batted Ball Charts – Opponent
K/SwStr Chart (2017 LG AVG – 20.5 K% – 9.6 SwStr% – 2.14 K/SwStr)
Getting called strikeouts can be a skill, but it’s usually not a sustainable one at a large deviation from the league rate (catcher framing and other factors may make some difference here). K% correlates heavily with SwStr% though. Look for a large difference and you might find a potential adjustment before anyone else.
|Pitcher||Team||K% Season||SwStr% Season||K%/SwStr%||K% L30 Days||SwStr% L30 Days||K%/SwStr%|
Alex Wood has a very healthy SwStr% and, as already mentioned, a career high. In fact, he’s increased it in four straight starts and has been above 14% in each of his last two. I’d be surprised if he retained a K% above 30%, but he could keep it close.
Okay, that’s impressive from Lisalverto Bonilla. It’s only two starts, but impressive. The inclination is to refer back to his minor league work and regress it a bit for a higher level at this point and then further regress for transition from pen to rotation, but his minor league strikeout rates are not unimpressive and if he keeps this up for another couple of starts, I’m going to have to learn his first name without double-checking.
ERA Estimators Chart (2017 LG AVG – 4.14 ERA – 4.20 SIERA – 4.15 xFIP – 4.23 FIP)
How a pitcher’s ERA matches up against his defense independent estimators.
We’ve talked about a lot of the areas where there are issues in different spots today, but I’m happy to see that I’m now starting to see results I better understand and feel more comfortable buying into out of DRA. Hopefully, the earlier season wackiness was simply small sample size calibration issues.
BABIP & Statcast Chart (2017 LG AVG – .288 BABIP – 44.3 GB% – 20.3 LD% – 9.0 IFFB% – 86.6 Z-Contact%)
A few years back, both Dan Rosencheck and Steve Staude separately found that high Infield Fly Ball (IFFB) rates and low Zone Contact (Z-Contact) rates correlated well with lower BABIP for pitchers. I won’t pretend to know how much of the variation in BABIP can be explained by these factors, but since they seem to have some effect, here they are. See if you can use it to your advantage.
It’s presented as the difference between team and pitcher BABIP allowed because team defense can explain a lot of the variance from league average on its own. A pitcher with a much lower BABIP than his team allows is a red flag absent further supporting evidence, while a pitcher with a much higher BABIP than his team allows may have something to offer in the future, especially with the right indicators.
|Pitcher||Team||Team BABIP||Pitcher BABIP||Diff||GB%||Pitcher LD%||Pitcher IFFB%||Pitcher Zcontact|| Exit
Charlie Morton has a high BABIP that doesn’t look that out of line considering the presented profile, except for the low team rate. However, considering the quality of the contact allowed, mostly weak ground balls over his last few starts, it might seem he’s been a bit unfortunate as well.
Jacob deGrom has occasionally allowed too much hard contact, but a lot of that has left the yard. The Mets’ defense has been awful at turning balls in play into outs.
Pitcher Notes & Summary
Here we rank pitchers by value tiers with their overall rank in parenthesis next to the name for the top five to ten. These are not hard and rigid rankings. Everything is fluid and can change depending on ever evolving situations throughout the day. This is the more opinionated part. If there are questions, it’ll help show you where my imaginary boundaries are drawn.
Value Tier One
Alex Wood (2) costs around $9K for a something around 90 pitches. Would you pay $10K for 100 pitches at this quality? The answer should easily be yes. Almost all of his estimators are in line with his ERA. He’s been their best pitcher on a per inning basis (including Kershaw) and even if you expect a few less strikeouts going forward, he’s been dominant and we didn’t even get to mention the 62.8 GB%. Miami has an 85 sOPS+ against ground ball pitchers, 80 sOPS+ against power pitchers.
Value Tier Two
Chris Sale (1) is still the top overall arm on the board and in baseball this season. He now costs around $2K more than any other arm though.
Jacob deGrom (3) has consistently bee awesome at missing bats. That generates a fairly high floor, while his ceiling is on par with any pitcher in the game. He’s also nearly $2K less than Sale in potentially a slightly better spot. The Angels have a 74 sOPS+ (26.9 K%) vs power pitchers.
Value Tier Three
Nathan Karns (4) requires a bit of caution once he gets above $8K because he rarely goes more than six innings (just once this year) and has serious HR issues. He’s a perfectly matchup and park dependent daily fantasy option in what appears a nearly neutral situation. We don’t want to get too excited with recent outings, but also recognize that he’s been pitching very well and has reduced his walk rate, another issue that has plagued him throughout his career, so perhaps he can start getting deeper into games in the future.
Lisalverto is a bit of a matchup recommendation, especially on DraftKings ($2.6K less), but keep that 15+ SwStr% in each of his two starts so far, even if it’s too early to become attached to it yet.
Value Tier Four – These guys seem basically in line with their price tag. They are either barely usable and shouldn’t hurt you too much, but might not help you much either or have such a wide range of outcomes that you can’t see much benefit beyond the risk.
Luis Severino (5) combines both upside and risk each more than any other usable starter tonight. I would not be surprised with both a run and two strikeouts per inning tonight.
Michael Wacha is in the mid-price range with a great matchup against the Giants. His SwStr rate has dropped off a bit over the last month, but he was up over 10% in this last start, while he’s allowing fewer free passes and generating quality contact (for the pitcher).
Tyler Anderson has been incredibly inconsistent in his batted ball profile, but has consistently missed bats and the strikeouts are beginning to show up. Cincinnati is power friendly, but more run neutral, pretty much matching the team’s offense this season.
Charlie Morton has apparently been a near stud in every area except his recent ERA, even though ground balls and strikeout are up, while hard contact is down. Even if we don’t expect the strikeout rate to remain much above 25%, he’s transformed himself into a quality fantasy arm, maybe even better if he retains the kind of contact his left-handed teammate is generating. The major obstacle here is his quality of opponent. Though a negative run environment, the reason for Cleveland’s road issues (HRs) may not apply here and they’ve improved performance against both ground ball and power pitchers.
Taijuna Walker probably shouldn’t even be on this list considering the warning signs in his velocity and SwStr% over his last two starts. However, it’s one of the top spots on the board against a high strikeout offense that could make us feel really silly for completely omitting him.
You can find me on twitter @FreelanceBBall for any questions, comments, or insults.
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