2024 Fantasy BaseballAlan HarrisonFantasy BaseballUncategorized

2024 Fantasy Baseball: Using K%+IFFB%-BB% To Target Starting Pitchers

Welcome back to another year of fantasy baseball preparation. Some enthusiasts have been grinding since the 2023 regular season ended and some are just about to set sail on their 2024 journey. This is an article I publish just about every year to share how I typically start my research and draft preparation. As I’ve said in the past, this research is relatively elementary and does not reflect my current starting pitcher rankings. The data is simply a reference point that contributes to my rankings and reminds me of players to target at various points in a draft due to the skills displayed in the previous season.

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 on this chart 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 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.

Although this data is relatively elementary and easy to access, I kept my research to myself during the recent Mixed LABR draft but will make my thoughts public during RazzSlam and prior to Tout Wars Draft & Hold and TGFBI.

For the purpose of this research, I only used data from the 2023 season. Additionally, I set a 40 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.

Since March 1st there have been eight NFBC Main Event drafts. In those eight drafts, Spencer Strider has an ADP of 2.5 with a minimum pick of 2 and a maximum pick of 4. He’s the clear number one pitcher in 2024 and that jives with our K%+IFFB%-BB% data as he’s third among starting pitchers with a 38.6%. Some don’t like drafting arms that early in their drafts, but given the current landscape of pitchers — and pitcher injuries around the league — he should be considered as an option for you and the anchor for your staff.

As look through the data below and compare that to current NFBC ADP, arms like Zack Wheeler (ADP 18), Luis Castillo (23), Pablo Lopez (ADP 27), Tarik Skubal (ADP 32) and Freddy Peralta (ADP 43) are being drafted as Aces and our data backs that up. Wheeler and Castillo are my favorite of this bunch and should be considered your SP1 in the 2nd or 3rd round should you be willing to pass on those popular power/speed combo bats in favor of an arm.

Looking further down the ADP list, Chris Sale (ADP 83) pops as the sixth-best starting pitcher per this metric and could be seen as a value later in your draft. Sale found a new home in Atlanta and signed a nice contract extension, leading us to believe the Braves are confident he can be much of the peak pitcher he’s been in the past when he’s not on the shelf.

New Padres’ starting pitcher, Michael King (ADP 120), had the second-best K%+IFFB%-BB% among starters with a minimum of 40 IP in 2023. The value in ADP seems to be there with respect to his skills over the nine starts he made with the Yankees, but how many starts/innings can we expect from him? I’m willing to roll the dice with King a bit higher than his current ADP so long as he’s your SP2/SP3.

Yu Darvish (ADP 152), Nestor Cortes (ADP 205) and Kutter Crawford (ADP 205) all showed well in ’23 using our K%+IFFB%-BB% data. These guys all have their worts but should provide nice value later in drafts when you’re looking to fill out your rotation.

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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