MLB 8/25: Picking Pitchers using Stats
I made my first post yesterday and I wanted to explain my thoughts on why I am posting the stats I post and why I don’t focus on the main research everyone else follows. Two – Three years ago the way we did baseball research was stack against the pitchers who have either struggled, have a High ER, is an underdog. Then WOBA came out then WRC, SIERA, FIP, Swing % HH%,SS%, GB% for pitchers, platoon hitters etc, more analytic websites like fangraphs.com, statmuse.com, etc., Lineup building websites, and others makes research more open and people find different ways in picking their LU. I think pitching is one of the most important positions in picking a LU for baseball. Why because it can set you above 90% of the field. Its the difference between a second place finish and a 15th place finish.
But one of the problems I have with picking pitchers is the research have become stagnant and stale. People go to First Look, look at O-OBA, O-K%, rank of pitchers, people go to Rotowire and read articles on who the best pitchers are on the slate, listen to Rotogrinders experts on their opinions, etc. I think that is essential and I’m not knocking people for doing it but I think we should go back to simple stats and the what have you done for me lately approach for picking pitchers during the last 5 weeks of the season. Why because teams change, pitchers change, lineups change, pitchers adjust add or subtract velocity, stop throwing certain pitches, and motivation changes. Jared Weaver was 3-0 with a 3.86 ERA in April. In August he has an 0-3 record with a 7.29 ERA. The Twins had one of the worse offenses in baseball before the All Star Break and then they had a three week stretch where they were the team to stack. The Astros had an above average offense then went on a two week cold stretch a couple of weeks ago. The Padres also had a two-three week stretch after the All Star Break where they were mashing lefties, now they can’t hit a beach ball. The Braves went from being a team that was a must to take a pitcher. I hate the how this pitcher does vs RHP or LHP because bullpens make up over 35% of the game. I don’t only want to look at stats that show how a team does vs RHP or LHP, I want to look at the teams performance as a whole the Last 7 or 14 days, so I can decide if I am taking a pitcher vs them or not. I love the L7 when it comes to judging pitchers and picking pitchers so I will use it for my articles.
In the evening slate we have 9 games so lets get to it.
BAL vs WSH
Ubaldo Jimenez is having an awful year. How bad his ERA is 6.94. His WHIP is 1.91. And the organization doesn’t even want him pitching again but they have no choose. His K per 9 on the season 8.27 and in his L7 games his K per 9 is 8.75. Washington Last two weeks K% 18.3% and BB% of 8.70%. Why am I not focused on what Washington does vs RHP, its because Ubaldo Jimenez has averaged 23.2 IP in his last 7 games (4 starts) and he didn’t make it past the 5th inning in any of those starts. He has walked 18 batters in his last 23.2IP so it is not likely he will go far into the game. Not only is he a huge underdog (WSH -240), he is not a good pitcher. He is not worth a look in cash and or GPPs
Max Scherzer is having another great year. In his Last 7 starts he is 3-1 with a 3.11 ERA (Coors included) a WHIP under 1 (0.97 to be exact), 10.29K/9 1.94BB/9 and getting run support. He is facing a team that is not only lethal vs RHP, but have the best HR% rate in the last two weeks. Max is prone to the home run ball (3 this month on the road) but at home he has a 0.9 HR/9 rate is 4-3 with a 2.60 ERA and will be low owned based on what Baltimore has done the last three games. On a lot of sites the Win is worth more but I value strikeouts, why because even if Scherzer gives up 4 ER in 7 innings if he gets 7-10 strikeouts and a Win vs an O’s team that has struck out 21.6% of the time the last two weeks then I will take it. Cash play and will be a low owned gpp play.
LAA vs TOR
Jared Weaver has lost it. I say it in disbelief because in the last three years Ive seen my favorite pitchers all fade and lose it, Santana, Shields, C Young, Lincecum, and now Weaver. In his Last 7 games he is 1-4 with a 5.97 ERA. In August he us 0-3 with a 7.29 ERA. He has given up 7 homers this month and is facing a TOR team at home with the third highest HR% rate in baseball the last two weeks. Although Tor leads MLB in Strikeout rate the last two weeks (27.4%) he is not a strikeout pitcher. In his last 7 starts he has 10 walks and 10 punchouts. 2.39 K and BB per 9. Safe to say the ball will be in play and probably in the air. Weaver is also another pitcher who I don’t see making it out of the 5th or 6th inning. So don’t only stack TOR because Weaver is pitching stack them if you know the Angels bullpen is weak and if they can score enough in 8 innings since Weaver is a huge underdog (TOR -240).
J.A. Happ is having a great year. He is 17-3 with a 3.05 ERA 114 WHIP 133 Ks in 150.1 IP. In his last 7 games he is 6-0 with a 1.85 ERA and a 0.98 WHIP 10.92 K/9 2.68 BB/9. He is a huge favorite (TOR – 240). The notion that the Angels don’t K a lot is nonsense. In the last two weeks they have struck out 19.6% of the time, they have the worse WOBA, WRC+, and WRC in that same timespan. Yes they scored 8 yesterday but remember it was vs a pitcher (Estrada) that has struggled in his last 7 games and gave up 4 homers his start before to the Yankees. The Angels Lineup is not strongeven though they have Cron back but from 6-9 you have singles hitters that don’t scare me. Happ is not only a GPP play but a cash play.
KC vs MIA
Edison Volquez is having a poor year compared to last year. In his last 7 starts he is 1-2 with a 5.58 ERA 40.1 IP 27 strikeouts and 14 walks (6.02 K/9 3.12 BB/9). He is facing a team that is striking out more and walking less (BB % 7,00%, K% 20,40%), is the second worse offense in baseball the last two weeks, and has lost pop with the loss of Stanton. He is a sneaky low owned play vs the Marlins. Dillon Gee pitched well until he gave up 4 hits in a row in the 6th. I really like him in GPPs but no chance in Cash.
Tom Koehler is having a great year for the Marlins. He is 9-8 with a 3.82 ERA 109Ks in 139 IP. In his last 7 games he is even better. He is 3-1 with a 2.30 ERA with a WHIP of 1 K/9 of 7.12 and BB/9 of 2.09. On the year his BB per 9 is 3.82 but he has been limiting his walks and facing a team that has walked 7.1% of the time the last 2 weeks with a strikeout rate of 20%. This is not the same Royals team that waits on pitches or take walks. Koehler is a small favorite (MIA -105) in a game that I think will be low scoring. Cash play for me and a low owned GPP play.
NYM vs STL
Seth Lugo had a great start vs the Giants. He pitched to contact vs the Giants and even though the Mets lost 8-1 it was mostly the bullpen. He won’t pitch a full game because he is on a pitch count and the Cards will be a good stack because of the struggles of the Mets bullpen and because they dominate RHP. Their Strikeout rate is 25.2% and their walk rate is 7.30% over the last two weeks as they have become a swing for the fences type of team (5.70% HR rate, tied for 1st with Orioles). He is an underdog today even though he is facing a pitcher who has struggled since the ASB. Low owned gpp play risk reward play.
Adam Wainwright has not been right all month, 0-2 with a 8.53 ERA 18 ER in 19 IP, 1.84 WHIP in 4 starts. I will not include his Last 7 starts because he pitched so well in July that it would make his recent stats look decent. So what is wrong, why is a guy who has been favored in 3 of his 4 august starts struggling. He is walking more batters (10 in 4 August starts), giving up more homers (4 in 4 Aug. starts), and 4 of his last 5 starts have been on the road where his ERA is 6.53. He is 5-3 with a 3.06 ERA at Busch and facing a team that has struggled with extra base hits in the last two weeks (7.5% XTRA base hit rate). The Mets offense has been below average since early July but they have Cespedes and Cabrera and Walker back. Jay Bruce left yesterday with cramps so it is one less bat for Waino to worry about. He is not a cash play even tho he is a favorite (STL -155). He is strictly a GPP play until he can figure out how to get his mojo back.
CLE vs TEX
Josh Tomlin does not walk people. He just gives up a lot of hits instead. Over his last 7 starts he is 2-5 6.53 ERA WHIP of 1.43 52 hits but only 7 walks (7.19 K/9, 1,54 BB/9). Well lets see what the problem has been. 3 of his last 4 starts he has given up 6 ERs. He has given up 7 home runs in 4 August starts and hitters are batting .351 vs him in the month of August and he has faced the Yankees, Nationals, Red Sox, and the Blue Jays. Now he faces the TEXAS Rangers smh, what luck. Although the Rangers have struggled the last two weeks. Since we know that Bauer does not walk hitters, the ball will be in play. I do not want any part of Tomlin at all today. Rangers bat all day.
Cole Hamels is a stud. 13-4 2.80 ERA 8.91 K/9 3.42 BB/9. In his Last 7 starts he has increased his K/9 and decreased his BB/9. He is 4-2 with a 1.85 ERA 1.15 WHIP 50Ks and 14 BBs in 48.2 IP (9.25 K/9 2.59 BB/9). He is facing a team that struggles on the road and although they have a top 5 WOBA in the last 2 weeks (.350) they are not walking and they are striking out more in the last 2 weeks (BB% 6.30%, K% 20.80%). Cole has struggled at home 4-2 4.05 ERA and a 1.56 11 of his 19 homers allowed in Texas. He is a favorite (TEX -150) and is a great cash play and a low owned GPP play. Cleveland stack will be sneaky tho.
PIT vs MIL
Chad Kuhl has had exactly 7 starts this year. He is 3-1 with a 3.62 ERA 22ks 9bbs in 37.1 IP WHIP 1.18. His K/9 is 5.3 which is low but are facing a team that strikes out a lot (25.4% vs RHP, 22.4% Last 2 weeks) but has led the majors in walk rate (11.4%) last two weeks and is stealing a lot more. He is a small favorite (PIT -125) in a hitters park and is risk reward to me. GPP play
Wily Peralta is a perfect example of why we need to do research before taking hitters vs a pitcher. Is his ERA 6 Yes, is his WHIP 1.74 YES but leets look at his last three starts since coming up from the Minors. 18 IP 7 ER 16HA 6BBs 12Ks ERA of 3.50 K/9 of 6 BB/9 of 3. Yes it has been vs ATL CIN and SEA, but has the Pittsburgh offense been any better. They have a bottom 5 ISO, WOBA, and HR rate% and are striking out alot. (0.137 ISO, 0.310 WOBA, 2.8% HR rate, 21.2% K rate) in the last two weeks. Peralta is a perfect GPP play. People will take Pirates because its Wily Peralta and will forget that he has adjusted since coming back from the minors.
SEA vs CWS
James Paxton is coming off of the DL. This is his first start off of the DL and in his last minor league start he only threw 3 IP. On the season he has a 8.04 K/9 and a 1.98 BB/9 and facing a team that has struggled offensively since June. The bottom of their order is garbage and the top of the order is hit and miss. If I knew that he could go 6-7 IP then he would be a great play since he is a favorite (SEA -155) and the White Sox in the last two weeks bottom 5 in BB% rate, WOBA and HR % rate (6.8% BB rate, WOBA .315, 2.60% HR rate) GPP play low owned a risky cash play.
Anthony Ranuado. NEXT. Seriously. The White Sox still pitch Shields and Ranuado and wonder why Chris Sale is frustrated with this team. In his 4 appearances he is 1-1 with a 9.42 ERA more walks than hits allowed 13BBs 12HA only 7 strikeouts and a 1.74 WHIP. Ranaudo has a BB/9 of 8.16 and just is a bad play. Seattle will be a sneaky low owned stack that will also face the bottom 5 White Sox bullpen.
ARI vs ATL
Matt Wisler is not a good pitcher. In his last 7 starts he is 1-4 with a 7.15 ERA WHIP of 1.65 31Ks 14BBs (7.15 K/9, 3.23 BB/9) in 39 innings. He is facing a hot Arizona team, #1 in WRC, BABIP, and steals in the last two weeks (78 WRC, .340 BABIP). They are hitting the ball with power and walking more (.175 ISO, .343 WOBA, 8.8% BB rate). This should be a high scoring game and Wisler should not be played.
Robbie Ray is a sneaky good play today, to everyone who still thinks Atlanta is a bad hitting team. I will not be playing Robbie Ray even tho in his last 7 starts he is 3-3 with a 3.16 ERA and a 1.05 WHIP and 12.45 K/9 2.11 BB/9. He struck out 13 vs a Padres team that struggles vs lefties. Lets look at Atlanta’s numbers in the last 2 weeks. 6th least K% rate (18.8%), 6th in ISO (.183), top half in WOBA (.330) and 3rd in BB% rate (9.60%). He will be a popular cash and GPP play but I will fade him
SF vs LAD
Matt Moore as a Giant 0-3 in 4 starts 4.70 ERA 1.48 WHIP in 23 IP. 8.6 K/9 6.65 BB/9. He has stranded a lot of runners and is facing a team that struggles vs lefties and is in a pitchers park. If Buster Posey is catching then it will lower the walk numbers but the Dodgers are the best offense in baseball the last 2 weeks. If he can lower he walk numbers with Posey at the plate then he is a low owned GPP play.
Ross Stripling threw 7 1/3 no hit innings vs SF Giants opening weekend but this is a different team and Ross is a different pitcher. The Giants offense has been dreadful and they have blown a 6.5 game lead and now trail by 2.5 in 6 weeks ala Nationals in 2015. In his 3 starts since joining the rotation he has pitched 17 IP 16 Hits 7 ER (3.70 ERA) 3 BB (1.59 BB/9) 13K (6.88 K/9) 1.12 WHIP. He is a favorite (LAD -130) and facing a team that has struggled this month. He would give you 7 innings although he did throw 7 innings vs Pittsburgh two starts ago.
Good Luck Tonight – Paul