Sunday, February 27, 2011

Looking for Wins? IP, GB%, and Strikeouts are Key

posted by Jon Williams
Starting pitching is often the bane of fantasy teams. Owners can't stand most of their starters and they wish their league didn't have an innings floor so they could draft all relievers (especially in K9 leagues). They usually fail to do well in the wins category anyway...

If the paragragh above describes your thinking or even comes close I've got some questions and answers for you.

How does a pitcher get a win?
  1. He pitches at least five innings.
  2. He is the pitcher of record, when his team takes the lead for the final time.
  3. The bullpen doesn't blow it.
When you put together your pitching staff are you actually looking for wins?
  1. Many of the owners I speak to are looking for pitchers on teams that score lots of runs.
  2. They avoid pitchers on teams like the Royals and Indians (teams that lose a lot) and on teams like the Rangers and Rockies (play in offensive ballparks).
  3. They usually find themselves in the middle of the pack in most pitching categories. They are avoiding risk but not grabbing skills.
Do the last two questions correlate in any way?
  1. No.
  2. Seriously, no.
So, what should you look for in a starting pitcher?
  1. First, acknowledge that wins are a weak statistical category and have only a little relation to a pitcher's skill. Now, you're saying "a little? I thought it was no relation. " Think of it like this. If you or I went out to face the Yankees' lineup, we would have to get extremely lucky to get even one win with the world's greatest defense and pitching in the world's greatest pitcher's park. As a pitcher's skill level increases the chance of getting wins increases. So, yes, there is at least a little skill involved in gaining wins.
  2. Innings. The more innings the better the chance of gaining wins. An innings horse is most likely to pitch at least five innings. An innings horse will pitch through the innings covered by the weakest park of his team's bullpen. An innings horse just might pitch a complete game and leave just the final score out of his hands.
  3. I have a league mate that HATES adding innings to his staff. He believes that with innings come bad innings, and a poor pitcher with lots of innings will just drag his team down. That's kinda true. This is why you have to make certain that the pitchers you draft or buy at auction have certain skills. The ability to strikeout batters and the ability to induce weak groundballs.
  4. Strikeouts are the key. As you may realize, strikeouts measure a pitchers ability to keep the batter from putting the ball in play. When the ball is in play, the outcome is very difficult to control. Some would say impossible, but that isn't true. Some pitchers are very good at inducing infield fly balls, which are usually as good as outs. I do my best to avoid pitchers with less than a 7.5 K9.
  5. Groundballs are a good things. Especially the weakly hit ones. Even more so when they come from a pitcher with a high strikeout rate. This means that there are even fewer well hit balls in play than from a pitcher that does just one or the other. I do my best to draft a staff with a collective groundball rate of 45 percent or better.
Here is a list of the 31 starting pitchers with at least 190 innings pitched in 2010 and at least a 7.5 K9 rate. Look for young pitchers who finished the 2010 season with 140-160 innings that fit this criterion and you're looking at future aces you may get at a slight discount. But that's another article.

Name Team W L GS IP K/9 BABIP GB% ERA FIP
Tim Lincecum Giants 16 10 33 212.1 9.79 0.31 48.90% 3.43 3.15
Jon Lester Red Sox 19 9 32 208 9.74 0.289 53.60% 3.25 3.13
Jonathan Sanchez Giants 13 9 33 193.1 9.54 0.252 41.50% 3.07 4
Francisco Liriano Twins 14 10 31 191.2 9.44 0.331 53.60% 3.62 2.66
Jered Weaver Angels 13 12 34 224.1 9.35 0.276 36.00% 3.01 3.06
Clayton Kershaw Dodgers 13 10 32 204.1 9.34 0.275 40.10% 2.91 3.12
Cole Hamels Phillies 12 11 33 208.2 9.1 0.289 45.40% 3.06 3.67
Justin Verlander Tigers 18 9 33 224.1 8.79 0.286 41.00% 3.37 2.97
Colby Lewis Rangers 12 13 32 201 8.78 0.275 37.90% 3.72 3.55
Ryan Dempster Cubs 15 12 34 215.1 8.69 0.294 47.40% 3.85 3.99
Ubaldo Jimenez Rockies 19 8 33 221.2 8.69 0.271 48.80% 2.88 3.1
Max Scherzer Tigers 12 11 31 195.2 8.46 0.297 40.30% 3.5 3.71
Felix Hernandez Mariners 13 12 34 249.2 8.36 0.263 53.90% 2.27 3.04
Adam Wainwright Cardinals 20 11 33 230.1 8.32 0.275 51.60% 2.42 2.86
James Shields Rays 13 15 33 203.1 8.28 0.341 41.30% 5.18 4.24
Dan Haren - - - 12 12 35 235 8.27 0.311 40.50% 3.91 3.71
Wandy Rodriguez Astros 11 12 32 195 8.22 0.303 47.90% 3.6 3.5
Roy Oswalt - - - 13 13 32 211.2 8.21 0.253 45.70% 2.76 3.27
David Price Rays 19 6 31 208.2 8.11 0.27 43.70% 2.72 3.42
Chad Billingsley Dodgers 12 11 31 191.2 8.03 0.301 49.60% 3.57 3.07
Roy Halladay Phillies 21 10 33 250.2 7.86 0.29 51.20% 2.44 3.01
Cliff Lee - - - 12 9 28 212.1 7.84 0.287 41.90% 3.18 2.58
Ian Kennedy Diamondbacks 9 10 32 194 7.79 0.256 37.10% 3.8 4.33
Edwin Jackson - - - 10 12 32 209.1 7.78 0.313 49.40% 4.47 3.86
Ted Lilly - - - 10 12 30 193.2 7.71 0.247 29.50% 3.62 4.27
Tommy Hanson Braves 10 11 34 202.2 7.68 0.286 41.80% 3.33 3.31
Gio Gonzalez Athletics 15 9 33 200.2 7.67 0.274 49.30% 3.23 3.78
Shaun Marcum Blue Jays 13 8 31 195.1 7.6 0.279 38.40% 3.64 3.74
C.J. Wilson Rangers 15 8 33 204 7.5 0.266 49.20% 3.35 3.56

Labels: , ,

IF YOU LIKE IT, SHARE IT!

0 Comments:

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home