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March 26, 2014

The Darkhorses

WHIP

by BP Fantasy Staff


One of the fun ways we all try to outsmart our opponents in fantasy is by searching for hidden value in players who, for one reason or another, we suspect have the ability to outpace their projections (and, relatedly, their draft cost). Our Darkhorses series features staff picks for players who could very well outpace their PECOTA projections for the year and provide the top overall production in one of the standard five-by-five categories. We’ve all picked one player currently projected by PECOTA to fall outside of the top 10 and one longer-shot player currently projected outside of the top 25. We’re taking a look at pitching this week, following our run on offense a week ago. To read the earlier editions in this series, click below:

My gift to you is that I won't make a Devo reference here, even though the acronym WHIP is also a word.

OUTSIDE THE TOP 10

Madison Bumgarner, Giants
While Bumgarner saw his walk rate jump by almost two percentage points in 2013, his strikeout rate responded in kind. I think we can see Bumgarner combine the two skills, lowering his walk rate to below six percent and maintaining a strikeout rate above 24 percent going forward. Bumgarner has also made strides with his WHIP in every season, going from 1.306 to 1.212 to 1.114 to last year’s 1.033. With a staggeringly low rate of 6.5 hits per nine innings, Bumgarner is sure to see some regression in that category, but can offset it, at least in part, by reducing those free passes. Bumgarner is already one of the top pitchers in baseball and coming off a season with a WHIP that was a hair’s breadth from 1.000. If he can just maintain his current abilities, there’s a good chance he ends up on top of the leaderboard in this category. If he continues taking steps forward, there’s no doubt. —Craig Goldstein

A.J. Griffin
Griffin is slated to start the season on the DL with a late-April target return, but that gives him plenty of time to log 162 or more innings and qualify for the WHIP leaderboard He’s a fly-ball pitcher in a perfect park for it, which should keep his BABIP low, and he’s posted a 6.3 percent walk rate in 282 MLB innings. A full season of the 5.7 percent mark from 2012, plus another sub-.250 BABIP, could keep his baserunner count minuscule enough to bring home a WHIP crown. —Paul Sporer

Cole Hamels, Phillies
I would start by reading what Alex Kantecki wrote about Cole Hamels in yesterday’s ERA Darkhorses article; very good stuff there. Alex covers Hamels in both depth and breadth, so I will add what I can. In 2014, the Phillies are employing infield shifts, Ben Revere should play more games, and Delmon Young and John Mayberry will be playing less in the outfield. I’m not saying that Cole Hamels is rooting for Ryan Howard to get his annual injury by the time he returns in late April or early May, but he would do so if he wanted my darkhorse WHIP prediction to come true. —Jeffrey Quinton

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<< Previous Article
Fantasy Article My Model Portfolio: A ... (03/26)
<< Previous Column
Fantasy Article The Darkhorses: ERA (03/25)
Next Column >>
Fantasy Article The Darkhorses: Strike... (03/27)
Next Article >>
Fantasy Article Fantasy Freestyle: My ... (03/26)

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