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Fantasy Baseball Word Problems: Question 2

USA Today Sports Images - 2013

I hope you enjoyed Question number one of this series. Now we move along to Question number two:

[All pitchers listed have an Ownership% of less than 60% of fantasy baseball leagues at CBS Sports. All stats are based on the last 30 days of play. Outside factors, such as what team will the pitcher face this week or whether their next start is a home or road game do not play a role in scenario. While the stats are real, the scenarios are based on possible events, therefore the names used, along with the correlating information, are fake].

SCENARIO #2:

Hailing from Mechanicsburg, PA, William Ing is the proud owner of the Barreled Grease Monkeys. Will plays in a daily, head-to-head, roto-style, 9X9, 16-team league. He’s desperately looking for a spot starter he plans to cut by the time the lineups lock on the first pitch of the next day. He’s desperately looking for a hurler who can primarily pad his innings pitched and strikeouts as he looks to cover ground in his current game. Anything else he contributes in the other categories is an added bonus. Unfortunately for Will, because of the large size of his league, the pickings are slim and he has narrowed down his options to three struggling, but potentially productive, pitchers.

So Will is looking for a guy who can eat up plenty of innings and help him catch up in the strikeouts’ department. He’s only looking for one start from this pitcher before he cuts him loose, but which mystery pitcher should it be?

FREE AGENT PITCHERS: 60% < OWNED

Roto Payoff in Last 30 Days

Player

Owned%

W

L

INN

K/BB

K/9

BB/9

ERA

WHIP

HR/9

Player A

44%

1

2

31.0

2.0

7.0

3.5

4.94

1.39

1.16

Player B

49%

1

1

25.2

1.4

8.1

6.0

4.21

1.83

1.05

Player C

59%

2

2

25.0

1.4

6.8

5.0

5.76

1.56

0.72

As you can see, we have some innings-eaters among this group who can get a respectable amount of strikeouts. The control is not very desirable, but Player A seems to do a better job than the other two mystery pitchers, though his ERA is pretty out-of-control, as well as his HR/9. On the bright side, because of the relatively low BB/9, Player A has the lowest WHIP in this group.

Then again, Player C has gone 2-2 in his last four decisions and that is a major key for William as that indicates a pitcher that can pitch deep into games, therefore giving Will some hope that he can pad his innings’ totals with Player C. Player C also has the highest ERA among this group and his BB/9 and WHIP are very high.

Player B has the highest K/9 of the group and has as many innings pitched as Player C. He also has the lowest ERA among this trio, but his WHIP happens to be the highest as well.

Not getting the information that he’s looking for, Will decides to look at more advanced data for assistance:

FREE AGENT PITCHERS: 60% < OWNED

Advanced Stats and Batted Balls % in Last 30 Days

Player

BABIP

FIP

SIERA

K%

BB%

LD%

GB%

FB%

IF/FB%

HR/FB%

Player A

0.293

4.62

4.68

17.8%

8.9%

20.0%

30.5%

49.5%

14.9%

8.5%

Player B

0.342

4.76

4.95

18.9%

13.9%

21.0%

44.4%

34.6%

7.1%

10.7%

Player C

0.299

4.36

4.62

16.8%

12.4%

17.7%

57.0%

25.3%

0.0%

10.0%

We see that Player B has the highest BABIP among this group. He also has the highest FIP and SIERA as well. Will is encouraged at the fact that he has the highest strikeout rate of the three pitchers, but he also has the highest walk rate, line-drive rate, and HR/FB%. Will decides that now is not the best time to pick up Player B, even with the potential to rack up the strikeouts.

Players A and C are not any better in the FIP and SIERA department, but beggars can’t be choosers. Player A has the better K% and BB%, but Player C has done a better job in limiting his line-drive rate and is a bonafide ground ball pitcher with a GB% of 57%, which should help him pitch deep into games. Despite the fact that he is a ground ball pitcher and has done a good job limiting his LD%, he still has a HR/FB% of 10.0. It is a perplexing combination, to say the least. Conversely, Player A is a legit, fly ball pitcher that does a good job at forcing hitters to pop-up and limits his HR/FB.

The good news is that Will is down to two pitchers. The bad news is that he is still undecided. Does he go with the fly ball pitcher that has shown the best K/BB in this group or does he pick the hurler that induces plenty of ground balls and has the ability to limit the line-drives hit against him?

WARNING: THE PITCHERS’ IDENTITIES ARE BELOW!

Will has a dilemma in front of him, but he needs to choose one guy. My advice is to go for the guy who can net him the most strikeouts, so I would go with Player A. The fly ball rate might scare some off, but as long as he keeps racking up the flyouts and popouts, Player A should be able to pitch 6-plus innings in his next start and has a higher probability of helping Will’s team in the strikeouts’ category.

What about you, the reader? What would you have done?

Stats courtesy of fangraphs.com and are good through July 27, 2013.

PlayerA: Bud Norris

Player B: Ubaldo Jimenez

Player C: Andrew Cashner

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