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Fantasy Baseball Word Problems: Question 5

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Even though we’re in mid-August, there are plenty of starting pitchers on the waiver wire who can help your club in the next few weeks of this dwindling season. Because of this fact, we bring our Fantasy Baseball Word Problems series back to the mound and take a look at four pitchers who have breezed through the last month or so. But first, here’s a recap of the previous four questions:

  1. Question OneThe Answer was Player A if you like pitchers with high walk rates.
  2. Question TwoThe Answer was Player C if you like pitchers that can induce a lot of ground balls.
  3. Question Three: The Answer was Player D if you like batters with low fly ball, but high home run rates.
  4. Question Four: The Answer was Player B if you like hitters with terrible plate discipline. 

Before we can establish the next scenario, here’s a quick disclaimer:

[All pitchers listed have an Ownership percentage no higher than 65 percent 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 his next game 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 their binding information, have no connected amalgamation].

Scenario Number Five:

Catherine Saint-Valiquette of Gatineau, Quebec, Canada is the team owner of A Decade of Decaying Decadence (or Team 3D for short). She plays in a 12-team, Head-to-Head, 8X8 league. She is looking to solidify her pitching staff with one of her three add/drops for the upcoming week. She will use the other two add/drops on getting some hitting help, but definitely wants to acquire a pitcher that knows how to win games, avoid losses, and maintain a steady ERA. Catherine thinks she can spot a “winner” when she sees them and is absolutely thrilled that there are four starting pitchers that fit her criteria. The only question is, which one should she choose?

Catherine from Quebec is looking for a steady pitcher that will continue to get wins, maintain a low ERA, and limit his losses. These are the four pitchers she’s observing at the moment:

FREE AGENT PITCHERS: 65% < OWNED

Roto Payoff in Last 30 Days

Player

Owned%

W

L

INN

K/BB

K/9

BB/9

ERA

WHIP

HR/9

Player A

64%

3

1

32.0

6.4

9.0

1.4

2.25

0.75

0.56

Player B

38%

2

0

31.2

5.8

6.5

1.1

1.14

0.63

0.85

Player C

54%

2

0

27.0

3.6

8.3

2.3

2.67

0.93

0.33

Player D

32%

3

1

27.0

2.8

9.3

3.3

1.33

0.81

0.30

One will quickly notice that all pitchers have low ERAs, WHIP, HR/9, and impressive win-loss records in the past 30 days.

  • Player A possesses the best K/BB of the group. He has the second best K/9 and BB/9 as well.
  • Player B is in second in terms of K/BB despite having a low K/9. He owns the lowest BB/9, ERA, and WHIP in this group, but also has the highest HR/9.
  • Player C has a great K/BB as well. Unlike Player B, Player C has a great K/9, but has the highest ERA and WHIP in the group. Player C still has a better HR/9 than Player B.
  • Player D owns the best K/9 in this group, but he also has the highest BB/9 as well. He owns the second best ERA, but also has the second highest WHIP in this group. Player D also has the best HR/9 on this table.

It’s too close to call Catherine has no choice but to look deeper into the numbers:

FREE AGENT PITCHERS: 65% < 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

0.215

2.51

3.01

26.7%

4.2%

23.4%

31.2%

45.5%

5.7%

5.7%

Player B

0.157

3.30

4.08

20.2%

3.5%

16.3%

26.7%

57.0%

18.4%

6.1%

Player C

0.239

2.45

3.15

24.0%

6.7%

19.7%

52.1%

28.2%

20.0%

5.0%

Player D

0.183

2.68

3.27

28.0%

10.0%

10.2%

55.9%

33.9%

10.0%

5.0%

Some common themes among these pitchers:

  • They all have low BABIP
  • SIERAs above 3.00.
  • K% above 20%.
  • HR/FB% lower than 6.5%.

So it’s still too close to call, but each pitcher has their own niche that needs to be deciphered.

  •  Player A has a low BABIP despite having a high Line-Drive percentage–highest among this group. Player A is a fly ball pitcher that doesn’t force many pop-ups. One has to wonder what would happen if his luck ran out and some of those fly balls, along with a high LD%, begin to turn into extra base-hits.
  • Player B has the lowest BABIP in this group. With a low K% (below league average), one has to think that his luck is about to run out, especially when one takes into account his high FIP and SIERA–both extremely high in this group of starters. He is a fly ball pitcher that doesn’t give up many home runs, but does force plenty of pop-ups, so that helps to overcome low strikeout totals. But as of right now, it seems as if Player B is more smokes and mirrors than any actual skill.
  • Player C has the highest BABIP of the group, but has the lowest FIP of this group. His LD% is slightly above league average, but forces the most pop-ups on this table. He has the second highest GB% with potential to post a higher rate of ground balls.
  • Player D might not be as dominant as his ERA would indicate. His FIP and SIERA are still respectable, but are a lot higher than his ERA. He does have the best K% of this group, but also has the highest walk rate. His low BABIP is kind of fluky because of a very low Line-Drive rate. Then again, he has been strong in the last month because he induces a lot of ground balls that help him eat up innings along with his strikeouts.

WARNING: THE PITCHERS’ IDENTITIES ARE BELOW!

Once again, you decide the fate of a fantasy baseball team. Vote on our poll to see which of these four pitchers should be on Catherine’s team.

[poll id=”9″]

Stats courtesy of fangraphs.com and are good through August 10, 2013.

Player A: Dan Haren

Player B: Bruce Chen

Player C: Alex Wood

Player D: Tyson Ross

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