2021 Fantasy Baseball

2021 Fantasy Baseball: Using K%+IFFB%-BB% To Target Starting Pitchers

The fantasy baseball industry is lucky to have many analysts with interesting strategies up their sleeves to target players on draft day or throughout the season via FAAB. 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. In a perfect world, I’m trying to pair two of the top 25 hurlers along with a few of the middle relievers found atop of the K%+IFFB%-BB% list and some upside arms late in drafts.

I’m definitely not the first to use this, I’ve tweeted about 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. As always, here’s the link I posted to last year’s version of this research on the site as well (same topic/parameters, different data leading us to a few different names to target).

Although this data is relatively elementary and easy to access, I kept my research to myself during the recent Mixed LABR, Tout Wars Draft & Hold, TGFBI and RazzSlam drafts.

For the purpose of this research, I combined both 2019 & 2020 data to somewhat balance the wonky year we had last season. However, I also looked at 2020’s data by itself. You can toggle between the combined years & just 2020 by switching the tabs at the bottom of the Google Doc. Additionally, I set a 50 inning minimum for innings pitched as a starter. You may create a similar sheet and adjust your innings minimums and toggle between starters and relievers, should you choose.

Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole, Corbin Burnes & Jacob deGrom are the top three starting pitchers according to this strategy when combining 2019 & 2020’s statistics. When looking at just 2020’s data, Corbin Burns, Kenta Maeda and Trevor Bauer lead the list. Since February 1, 2021, Corbin Burnes is going 20th among starting pitchers in 15-team NFBC drafts. I don’t think he’s getting enough love given his recent body of work, so I’ll have him higher in my rankings than his current ADP.

Following the publishing of this chart, I will run separate pieces on pitchers to target and avoid that reflect this strategy and their current NFBC ADP.

Here’s a direct link to the chart, but it should also be embedded below. If you have any questions, pop them in the comments and I’ll gladly respond.

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2021 Fantasy Baseball: Using K%+IFFB%-BB% To Target Relief Pitchers


  1. Brian
    March 11, 2021 at 6:35 am

    I think your years are backward. In the heading of chart imbedded in the story it says 2019-20 and has Burnes first. But according to the spreadsheet linked he was first for 2020 only and Verlander was tops for 2019-20. But maybe I’m reading it wrong.

  2. March 11, 2021 at 9:40 am

    It’s not you, It’s me.

    My wording was wonky. Verlander was indeed tops for the combined 2019+2020 seasons. I failed to include him in my write-up because he would not be targeted in drafts, but I should’ve mentioned him.

    You can toggle between the years at the bottom of the Google Doc.