Alan HarrisonFantasy Baseball

Using K%+IFFB%-BB% To Target or Sell Starting Pitchers: June 19th Update

As I’ve noted numerous times in the past, the fantasy baseball industry is lucky to have many analysts with interesting strategies up their sleeves to target or sell players. One particular strategy I’ve enjoyed using over the years is K%+IFFB%-BB% to target pitchers. Strikeouts and the ability to induce easy pop ups is a recipe for fantasy success. During draft season I was targeting two of the top 20 hurlers along with a few of the middle relievers found atop of the K%+IFFB%-BB% list and some upside arms late. At this point, I’m using this strategy to monitor the market. Targeting arms with a lot of green on the chart and looking to sell or avoid arms with lots of red on the chart. For this update, I’ve included only starters with a minimum of 50 IP and plan on releasing the relief pitcher counterpart to this exercise tomorrow.

Additionally, I always like to give credit when credit is due. I was definitely not the first to use this, I’ve tweetedabout my use of this strategy back in 2016, Jeff Zimmermann wrote about it here and per his discussion, I believe Rob Silver has been using this for a significant period of time (he may be the first!). Zimmermann expands on this strategy and probably makes the math more sound by placing PAs in the denominator. I encourage you to read more of his discussion and reasoning in the previous link. Additionally, I posted last year’s version of this research as well as preseason 2019 research on the site as well (same topic/parameters, different data leading us to a few different names to target). Many thanks to our friends at FanGraphs and Baseball Savant for the data. All data is through games on 06.20.19 for starters with a minimum of 50 IP.

It’s important to note that I arbitrarily decided to focus on starters that had no more than two sources of data that fell outside of our green target area for the write-ups. Do yourself a favor and do a thorough scan of the chart at the bottom of this post to absorb as much as you feel necessary to make an educated decision on how to move forward with said players.

FYI: I’m camping remotely with the family, so the write-ups are very abbreviated.

New names that popped to target or hold:

Clayton Kershaw | Dodgers

Green lights across the board for the Dodgers’ ace, rewarding those who invested in him around pick 60 of NFBC drafts despite reported concerns with his shoulder. Kershaw did indeed end up on the 10-day injured list with shoulder inflammation, however, has been nothing short of very good since returning to the bump on April 15th. The southpaw has turned in quality starts in 9-of-11 outings, posting a 19.1% K%-BB (lowest of his MLB career) with a 2.85 ERA (3.44 FIP/3.74 SIERA) and a 1.05 WHIP. Per StatCast, Kershaw is surrendering the highest barrel rate (6.8%) and exit velocity (87.2 mph) of his career while striking out the fewest opposing batters (23.6% K%), so not everything is peachy.

Jacob deGrom, Shane Bieber and Chris Paddack all popped green lights. Paddack’s innings limits could be a concern moving forward, but the starts you do get from him should be very valuable according to this study. Frankie Montas and Yonny Chirinos also popped all green lights and are still available in a handful of leagues, unlike the four arms noted prior to them. Montas is a StatCast darling with 11-of-14 starts being quality. I did notice and innings disparity in my sort for Chirinos, not sure what the problem is with that, but I’ll look into it further.

Standing out for the wrong reasons:

Yusei Kikuchi, Aaron Nola and Eduardo Rodriguez have a bunch of red lights and owners should take a deeper dive under the hood. Dakota Hudson, Sandy Alcantara and Zach Davies are all names the study does not like either.

Here’s the chart:

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