Fantasy baseball is here and it is the sport that is most driven by variance and what we mean by that is, let’s say for example a batter typically has four at bats during a game, he can go 4-4 with a home run and three hits giving you a great fantasy score or he can go 0-4 and give you zero points! Other sports like fantasy basketball you can almost guarantee every player in your lineup will give you at least some points. If a player doesn’t give you any fantasy points in baseball its not the end, other players in your lineup can essentially pick up the slack and still help you have a successful lineup. Now were going to look at how to start the research process and which statistical data to look at.
The first thing we do is start by analyzing all the pitchers in the slate of games we use a site called Fangraphs.com to look at how productive a pitcher has been in his previous matchups through specific ratio percentages:
· We look at his Homerun to Flyball percentage – HR/FB
· We look at his left on base percentage – LOB%
· Also his groundball percentage – GB%
· Next his walks per 9 innings – BB/9
· His strikeouts per 9 innings – K/9
· Using the information above with his previous innings pitched we can try to measure how many innings this specific pitcher is capable of pitching
· Finally compare his Right handed vs Left handed batter splits using wOBA (weighted on base average)
o In other words, how he pitches against right and left handed batters
All metric definitions and statistical analysis provided by Fantasygraphs.com
HR/FB – “Home Run to Fly Ball rate (HR/FB) is the ratio of how many home runs are hit against a pitcher for every fly ball they allow. While pitchers can control (to a certain extent) the type of batted balls hit against them, there is less skill involved when considering whether a long fly ball is hit into the seats or to the warning track. For example, pitchers who throw in a home ballpark with short fences will tend to have a higher HR/FB ratio than pitchers who throw in large ballparks.”
Excellent - 5.0%
Great - 7.0%
Above Average - 8.5%
Average - 9.5%
Below Average - 10.5%
Poor - 11.5%
Awful - 13.0%
Explanation: If a pitcher has a HR/FB ratio of (20.0%) that means he is giving a lot of fly balls or homeruns. The way I would use this information is to target this pitcher with homerun hitting batters like a Mike Trout, Robinson Cano, and Paul Goldschmidt and batters with similar HR upside because if they hit a Flyball against this pitcher it will most likely turn into a homerun.
LOB% - “Left on Base Percentage (LOB%) measures the percentage of base runners that a pitcher strands on base over the course of a season. This stat does not use the left on base numbers reported in box scores, but instead is calculated using a pitcher’s actual hits, walks, and runs allowed results. Most pitchers have LOB%s around league average (which is approximately 70-72%, depending upon the season).
Excellent - 80%
Great - 78%
Above Average - 75%
Average - 72%
Below Average - 70%
Poor - 65%
Awful - 60%
Explanation: This is pretty straightforward if a pitcher has a LOB% of 80% he is not letting runners that get on base score. The way I would this information would be to start a pitcher with a high LOB% (80%) and attack a pitcher with batters that has a low LOB% (60%).
GB% - “We know that pitchers do not have complete control, or even much control at all, over what happens to a baseball once it’s put in play, but they do have some control over the type of batted ball they allow. If you allow ten ground balls, you can’t control if zero, three, or nine go for hits, but you did control the fact that none are leaving the park.”
Ground ball pitchers” generally have grounder rates over 50%
GB - 44%
Explanation: The pitcher will have control of whether a ball can be a groundball or a fly ball. But this percentage cannot calculate which groundballs will be outs. Groundball percentage is tricky but if you understand that pitcher can be a solid groundball that allows no runs because luck and faith is on his side but at the same time he can be a groundball pitcher with a similar percentage that allows multiple runs.
Batting Average on Balls in Play (BABIP) “Batting Average on Balls In Play (BABIP) measures how often a ball in play goes for a hit. A ball is “in play” when the plate appearance ends in something other than a strikeout, walk, hit batter, catcher’s interference, sacrifice bunt, or home run. In other words, the batter put the ball in play and it didn’t clear the outfield fence.”
BB/9 - “Walks Per 9 Innings (BB/9) are rate statistics that measure how many walks a pitcher averages over nine innings. We care about strikeout and walk rates for two primary reasons. First, pitchers have a lot of control over their strikeout and walk rates which means that they are a decent measure of pitcher performance and skills. Strikeouts and walks aren’t the only aspects of pitching, but they are two aspects of pitching which are mostly attributable to the pitcher rather than the pitcher and their team combined. Pitchers who allow walks typically allow more runs and you can get a sense of where a pitcher stands pretty quickly when using K% and BB%.”
Excellent - 1.5/4.5%
Great - 1.9/5.5%
Above Average - 2.5/6.5%
Average - 2.9/7.7%
Below Average - 3.2/8.0%
Poor - 3.5/8.5%
Awful - 4.0/9.0%
Explanation: If a pitcher has high BB/9 of (4.0) I will use this information to attack him with bats of a high scoring offense because the likelihood will be that those walks will turn into runs scored.
K/9 – “Strikeouts Per 9 Innings (K/9) are rate statistics that measure how many strikeouts a pitcher averages over nine innings. Worse pitchers will often face more batters per inning than better pitchers, meaning a pitcher who strikes out two of six batters in an inning will have the same K/9 as a pitcher who strikeouts of two of three batters in an inning. Both would have 18.0 K/9 for that inning, but the first would have a 33 K% and the second would have a 66 K%. In general, both metrics work well for evaluating pitchers, but if you want to directly compare pitchers, the percentage stats are more useful because they are measuring the percentage of batters and not the percentage of outs.
Excellent - 10.0/27.0%
Great - 9.0/24.0%
Above Average - 8.2/22.0%
Average - 7.7/20.0%
Below Average - 7.0/17.0%
Poor - 6.0/15.0%
Awful - 5.0/13.0%
Explanation: Strikeouts in daily fantasy baseball and worth the most points depending on which site you decide to play on DraftKings or FanDuel. I will look to start a pitcher who has the most K/9 upside typically 8.00 like Clayton Kershaw and Stephen Strasburg, this is also game slate dependent cause not all pitchers have K/9 (8.00) upside. On the other hand, I will typically not rosters batters against pitchers who have high K/9.
wOBA – “wOBA is based on a simple concept: Not all hits are created equal. Batting average assumes that they are. Weighted On-Base Average combines all the different aspects of hitting into one metric, weighting each of them in proportion to their actual run value. While batting average, on-base percentage, and slugging percentage fall short in accuracy and scope, wOBA measures and captures offensive value more accurately and comprehensively.”
Excellent - .400
Great - .370
Above Average - .340
Average - .320
Below Average - .310
Poor - .300
Awful - .290
Explanation(s): This metric is used for both batters and hitters
For Batter: If a right handed batter has a wOBA of .370 against left handed pitching he is a phenomenal hitter. So the way I would use this data would be to start this player every time he faces a left handed pitcher. It is not out of the ordinary to see the same batter bat a wOBA of .290 against right handed pitching. Typically, right handed batters are more successful better against left hand pitchers and vice versa. This same statement is very true for pitchers pitching against right or left batters see next explanation.
For Pitchers: If a right handed pitcher has a wOBA of .370 against left handed batters he is struggling with those type of batters. The way I would use this data would be again to target this pitcher with nothing but L handed bats and vice versa. Hope this helps better understand how to use wOBA for your advantage.