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February 28, 2014

Graphical Fantasy Rankings

Starting Pitchers

by Mauricio Rubio

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We’re in the middle of a pitching-dominated era, which is somewhat highlighted by the depth at the position. If we rewind to 10 years ago we likely wouldn’t have any one-star options that would look even moderately appealing. As it stands now there’s a lot of interesting stuff going on toward the bottom. I broke the graphs down into three; let’s take a look at them:

There are a few things to consider with pitchers. Health is a primary concern with all of these guys, as book-version PECOTA is hyper-conservative with the upper limits on innings, which in turn limits the Win and K projections. Still, you do see a clear separation between guys. Kershaw is the best pitcher available as he provides elite production across all four categories (the only pitcher that can boast that claim). Yu Darvish isn’t too far behind, and if he stays healthy this year he might become a legitimate first-round candidate come next season.

Paul Sporer was bullish on Gerrit Cole and while the book was conservative with his IP totals, he’s definitely an option to consider after the elite of the elite are gone. PECOTA likes CC Sabathia, but I’m less optimistic. He’s lost a few ticks off his fastball and there are a lot of high-leverage innings on that arm. Masahiro Tanaka is expected to have a pretty successful debut as the book thinks he’ll provide good production across three categories. I think Ivan Nova is underrated by PECOTA a bit, and he’s a breakout candidate for me.

Jose Quintana remains a bland pitcher who won’t kill you, but he’s not going to be much more than an SP4 in most leagues. PECOTA has a really rosy projection for Yovani Gallardo. I think he might help in ERA and WHIP, but I think the days of top-shelf K production from him are gone. Down among the one-stars, Edwin Jackson is expected to rebound, which should make Bret Sayre very happy. I think Taijuan Walker will pitch all year and outpitch his projections as well; I’d go gray across all four categories for him. And then there’s Ian Kennedy, who was a severe disappointment last year. I think he’s an interesting rebound candidate and there’s a good chance PECOTA has him nailed here.

For the curious here are the stat bins:

W

Tier 1

12+

Tier 2

10-11

Tier 3

9

Tier 4

7-8

Tier 5

6-

K

Tier 1

174+

Tier 2

146-173

Tier 3

118-145

Tier 4

90-117

Tier 5

89-

WHIP

Tier 1

1.44+

Tier 2

1.33-1.43

Tier 3

1.23-1.32

Tier 4

1.10-1.22

Tier 5

1.11-

ERA

Tier 1

4.8+

Tier 2

4.18-4.79

Tier 3

3.59-4.17

Tier 4

2.97-3.58

Tier 5

2.96-

Mauricio Rubio is an author of Baseball Prospectus. 
Click here to see Mauricio's other articles. You can contact Mauricio by clicking here

Related Content:  Fantasy,  Starting Pitchers

20 comments have been left for this article. (Click to hide comments)

BP Comment Quick Links

Behemoth

The ERA and WHIP data bins are backwards.

Feb 28, 2014 03:29 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mike Gianella
BP staff

I like that you called him BumGarner.

Feb 28, 2014 04:28 AM
 
BP staff member Mauricio Rubio
BP staff

I've typed that so often.

Feb 28, 2014 05:12 AM
 
higgsboson

S. Miller is listed as both 3 star and 2 star

Feb 28, 2014 05:04 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mauricio Rubio
BP staff

Will fix all issues tonight, thanks guys. Meant to invert the values

Feb 28, 2014 05:12 AM
 
jemw06

Jose Fernandez is projected to be a top 5 K/9 among starting pitchers this season, he'll have no innings cap, yet he's tier 2 for K's according to your tiered rankings - with the exception of wins, get out your red pen and just make him dark red everywhere else. He mowed down 187 last season and got stronger as the season went on. He's going to strike out fewer batters than Waino? If he gets the innings, he'll punch out 200+, and there's nothing in his peripherals, his SwStr%, his contact rates, his secondary offerings or his velo that suggests he won't.

Feb 28, 2014 07:51 AM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Mauricio Rubio
BP staff

PECOTA was pretty pessimistic about his Innings Total for this year which is why he's essentially gray and pink in K's and W's, and he didn't miss red for k's by all that much.

Feb 28, 2014 07:56 AM
 
jonjacoby

Also amusing Gerritt Cole listed right above Cole Hamels, so it reads:
Cole Hamels

It took me a moment figure it out.

Feb 28, 2014 08:20 AM
rating: 1
 
boatman44

When will Matt Latos be given the extra star he deserves,even according to your stats he should be up a level.(:

Feb 28, 2014 08:49 AM
rating: 1
 
slemar37

Love the chart, Surprised to see Cashner as high as he was in the 4 star tier, but at the same time, surprised to see he is in the lowly tier 4 in strikeouts? 90-117k's?

Feb 28, 2014 09:12 AM
rating: 0
 
Nathan

Has there been any validation of PECOTA's ability to project wins?

Feb 28, 2014 09:24 AM
rating: 1
 
sdinsmor

How is Cobb a 4-star pitcher with two tier-4 skills and two tier-3 skills? You've got Mike Minor as a 3-star pitcher with four tier-2 skills, and Cobb doesn't have a single one.

Feb 28, 2014 11:48 AM
rating: 0
 
Dandies3

How does An Sanchez ( all grey)get in the 4 star listing
when many on the listing below(3 stars) have all pink or pink and red? There are other obvious flaws in the listings if you base it on the tiers for each of the categories.

Feb 28, 2014 13:32 PM
rating: 0
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

Per the primer:

"With this infographic specifically, you’ll notice that there are some odd pairings within the tiers. There is no specific rank within the tiers themselves, and this was made to mirrorMike Gianella’s list of catchers. So, you’ll get a guy likeWilson Ramos ahead of Jason Castro for that reason."

Replace Mike's name with Paul's and the catchers with pitchers.  

Feb 28, 2014 15:17 PM
 
Dandies3

My comment related to pitchers across tiers. Specifically:
4 STAR listings:
Sanchez (4 Tier 3s)
Cobb ( 2 Tier 4 ) (2 Tier 3)

While in the 3 Star listings we have:
Minor ( 4 Tier 2)
Medlen (1 tier 1, 1 Tier 2, 2Tier 3)
Sabathia (1 Tier 1, 3 Tier 2)
Tanaka ( 3 Tier 2, 1 Tier 3)
Are some of these 3 star guys misplaced or is there another explanation?

Feb 28, 2014 17:01 PM
rating: -1
 
BP staff member Mauricio Rubio
BP staff

http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=22894

They directly relate to those rankings.

Feb 28, 2014 17:02 PM
 
Dandies3

Still does not explain how sanchez who is a tier 3 in all four cayegories is in the 4 star group while mike minor who is a tier 2 in all four categories is in the 3star group of pitchers. As noted in my previous posting, there
are sveral other questionable.

Feb 28, 2014 19:50 PM
rating: -2
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

As noted in the previous answers to those postings, the tier that a pitcher is grouped in is directly related to the rankings released by Mike Gianella, that Mauricio linked to.

If you're wondering why they're in that tier, it's worth asking Mike on his article so that he can respond. Mauricio can't necessarily answer why Mike put guys in specific tiers.

Feb 28, 2014 20:04 PM
 
Dandies3

I think I now see the disconnect. The difference appears to be in the individual perceptions of Mr.Gianella and Mr. Rubio.
Mr. Gianella put the pitchers into the various tiers based on some process (subjective?, analytical? or other?) which is undefined for the reader. His perception is that Cobb and Sanchez are 4 star pitchers.
Mr. Rubio took Mr. Gianella's lists and put his own perceptions in each of the 4 categories. He happens to believe the Minor, Medlen, Sabathia have more value in the four categories then Sanchez or Cobb and shows that with the various colors ( tiers) assigned.
Bottom line: relative value is based on the perception of the evaluator. Sometimes there is agreement - like Kershaw- often there is not.

Mar 01, 2014 06:11 AM
rating: -2
 
BP staff member Craig Goldstein
BP staff

Mauricio's representations are not "perceptions". They are based on PECOTA and then tiered into the bins he describes. Otherwise yes, that is the general idea.

Mar 01, 2014 12:27 PM
 
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