Friday Links

Some quick takes before the weekend:

Using K-BB% to Identify Buy Low SP Targets

If you haven’t used Fangraphs’ sortable leaderboards yet, you owe it to yourself to do so. It can provide you with an incredible amount of information to use to inform your trading decisions. To the casual or semi-casual fantasy baseball player, however, it can be pretty intimidating. So today we will look at a really quick way of finding starting pitchers who should put up excellent numbers going forward, as well as identifying three players to target.

Sorting their pitching boards by K-BB% is a and simple way to find pitchers likely to do well going forward. To get to the K-BB% rankings, go to Fangraph’s pitcher leaderboard, click “advanced” and then click k-bb%. That’s it! Or, if you’d prefer, just click this link.

First, to establish that K-BB% is a useful statistic, here are the K-BB% leaders from 2015:


You can switch those guys around in your rankings, but it’s easy to make the case that those were 15 of the best pitchers in baseball last year.

Pulling up this year’s K-BB% leaders, keep an eye out for pitchers whose rates do not quite match their ERAs. Looking at this year’s leaders, here are a few names who rank high in K-BB% but whose ERAs might not reflect that:

  • Drew Smyly comes in at #9, but has an ERA of 4.94
  • Matt Shoemaker (#11) has an ERA of 4.76
  • Michael Pineda (#19) is sandwiched in between Jake Arrieta and Drew Pomeranz, but has an ERA of 6.14

These three pitchers should not cost you very much at all because of inflated ERAs, but when you look at their K-BB% they are in some pretty elite company. Smyly, Shoemaker, and Pineda should see improvement going forward, and can offer a great return on investment.


Sell High – Starting Pitcher Edition 6/8/16

Today we will take a look at some starting pitchers posting strong numbers who might be expected to see some regression in the coming weeks. Since a few bad starts can quickly inflate a pitcher’s ERA and call attention to his true value, it might be a good time to explore trade options with the following pitchers:

  • Dave Cameron at Fangraphs takes a look at what the San Diego Padres might want to do going forward. He notes Drew Pomeranz “has been the biggest bright spot for the Padres, but with a 12% walk rate and a .220 BABIP — not to mention the uncertainty that comes from carrying a season-long workload for the first time — there are some legitimate reasons to think that his second half won’t be quite as successful as the first few months of the season.
  • Rotoprofessor points to Aaron Sanchez’s low BABIP, high line drive rate, and low SwStr% as factors that indicate a regression is due.
  • Steven Wright is currently doing his best impression of R.A. Dickey circa 2012. Baseball HQ sees some signs, however, that indicate his success may be coming to an end soon. Considering the volatility of the knuckleball, it’s definitely a good time to explore what you could get in return for him.

Jonathan Gray – Buy Low, Buy Now!

Scan the ERA column of following chart of in-season leading indicators from BaseballHQ:

Kershaw, Clayton 1.46 2.12 205
Syndergaard, Noah 1.91 2.21 206
Fernandez, Jose 2.29 2.44 175
Arrieta, Jake 1.80 2.74 133
Nola, Aaron 2.65 2.74 162
Darvish, Yu 3.38 2.75 163
Strasburg, Stephen 2.85 2.90 160
Matz, Steven 2.60 2.93 141
Gray, Jonathan 5.33 2.99 137
Hendricks, Kyle 2.84 3.08 117

One number probably jumped out at you. Jonathan Gray is sporting a terrible looking 5.33 ERA, but is in some pretty select company there. This is the second time in the last week we’ve come across Gray’s name mentioned as a buy low candidate. That ERA and Coors Field might be enough to convince his owner in your league to part with him cheaply. If nothing else, he’s an excellent candidate to stream when he’s on the road.

Jacob Nottingham – Buy Low (Fantasy Baseball)

Summer vacation is almost here!  Report cards are due this week (I “moonlight” as an online teacher and stay-at-home dad), so I haven’t had as much time as I’d like to devote to scouring the internet for buy/sell recommendations. I just have one link for you today, aimed at dynasty players. J.P. Breen at Baseball Prospectus looks at four minor league players who might be worth selling or buying. Breen mentions Jacob Nottingham, who “hit .308/.357/.418 in the month of May and has gone 13-for-40 (.325) with four home runs in his last 10 games.” Nottingham’s current line is .256/.313/.399. If his owner in your league isn’t watching closely, you might be able to get Nottingham on the cheap right now. (Subscription required)

The season is about 1/3 complete. We’ve reached the point where players start to adjust to the league, or the league starts to adjust to them. Hopefully you’ve made some good trades already and picked up players cheaply. What are your best sell highs or buy lows from this season? Let us know in the comments section.