Eyeing a handful of hurlers who might help you compile Ws in deeper or mono formats.
Wins are hard to target in roto. They are awarded haphazardly, and they are driven as much by the performance of a pitcher’s teammates and by the timing of runs as they are by a pitcher’s own work. Wins still matter in most roto leagues, though, so you have to find them. In deep AL-only and NL-only leagues, I like to look for starters likely to throw 180+ innings who didn’t throw many innings last year due to innings limits, role changes or injury, depressing their innings and wins the prior season, thereby drawing little attention from fantasy players who give little more than a quick scan across the categories before their auctions. In pursuit of wins, I also look for pitchers likely to throw 180+ innings for good teams who don’t put up roto-friendly numbers in ERA, WHIP, or K, keeping their salaries low on auction day.
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Examining pitchers who performed better or worse than expected in the W department, and what their 2017 fortunes might hold.
On Tuesday, George Bisselltook us through the landscape around the league in pitcher wins. The stat remains the most outdated statistic used in standard fantasy leagues, and the context dependency George notes makes it arguably the most frustrating as well. He also discusses the increase in bullpen specialization, and how its effect on starters’ workloads is making it much harder for rotation arms to pile up wins. With all of this in mind, let’s look at some players who won more games than we expected, and those who disappointed in the category.
Specialized bullpens and individual pitchers' contextual factors have made compiling Ws trickier for fantasy owners.
Jose Quintana is the unluckiest starting pitcher in baseball. It’s not even that close. The 27-year-old southpaw has logged an astounding 96 quality starts since signing with the White Sox as a minor-league free agent castoff. Only 14 pitchers have recorded more quality starts over the last five years. Of that exclusive cluster, Quintana’s 46 wins rank dead last. Nobody else has fewer than 61. An apt comparison would be Bobby Flay masterfully grilling rib-eye steaks, only to watch his staggeringly incompetent sous chef drop half of them on the floor. Quintana has consistently pitched like an iron chef for nearly half a decade. However, his win total is straight out of Hell’s Kitchen.
Examining the pitchers who exceeded or fell short of expectations in the W department last season.
As the Baseball Prospectus Fantasy Team boldly pushes forward in our Fantasy Categorical Breakdowns series, be sure to catch up with previous installments over the past couple of weeks. I was tempted to just submit the shrugging emoji as my column here, but there probably is some value in looking back at how certain pitchers got to their Win totals in 2015. Before we do, please make sure to take a look at J.J. Jansons’ excellent intro piece that aired yesterday. And then be sure to tune in on Monday when J.P. Breen will take a look at some deep league options who may or may not generate outsized Win totals in 2016 depending on how much rum Jobu has in his cup come April.
As back-end starters leave games earlier, the elite ones are becoming more valuable than ever.
As the BP Fantasy Team maniacally moves forward in our Fantasy Categorical Breakdowns series, be sure to catch up with previous installments over the past couple of weeks. We’re providing a 10,000-foot view of each category—such as this article here—to go with a specific article on 2015 over/underachievers and another one targeted for deeper leagues. This series is tackling two birds with one stone: (1) breaking down individual player performances; and (2) re-calibrating the fantasy discussion by placing roster strategy at the center.
Wilson Karaman, who just needs some tasty waves and a cool buzz to be fine, will be around tomorrow to look at pitcher wins as they relate to shallower leagues, and J.P. Breen will be telling you exactly how many wins Zach Davies and other deep-league starters will earn in 2016 shortly thereafter.
The fantasy gang picks the pitchers it believes could lead the league in these two categories.
The goal of this series is simple: We’re telling you who, in our estimation, has a reasonable shot at topping the fantasy charts in a specific category despite not projecting as a top-10 finisher before the season begins, per PECOTA.
If you remember this exercise from last year, there are a few more changes, which I’ll pull directly from Bret Sayre’s email to the fantasy team outlining this series:
A look at the pitchers our fantasy crew believes can outperform their PECOTA projections in wins.
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 5x5 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:
And why scouting and player development are your team's hidden superstars.
It’s free agent season, a time traditionally reserved for the baseball commentariat to wonder aloud how we’ve gotten to the point where passably decent outfielders are worth $10 million a year. The standard line is that, in the free agent market, one win above replacement retails for about $5 million. More recent research suggests that GMs actually ended up paying about $7 million per win for free agents during the 2013 season.
The win might be a silly statistic, but does it affect pitchers' performance?
On Monday’s edition of MLB Now, anchor Brian Kenny once again made the case against using wins as a measure of pitcher quality. Citing recent games such as Matt Harvey’s brilliant nine-inning, one-hit no-decision, he argued that the win is an overrated statistic that doesn’t do a good job of describing the pitcher’s performance. After Kenny’s presentation, former pitcher Al Leiter came out to give a rebuttal. Leiter had an interesting take on the issue. He said that Kenny wasn’t respecting the human element of the game, and he suggested that the win statistic might actually make starters perform a little better in some key situations.
A handy guide to understanding what WARP means without many numbers.
Over the weekend, there were plenty of end-of-season retrospectives from columnists who cast non-existent ballots for the MVPs, Cy Young award winners, and Rookies of the Year. As might be expected, many of the columnists brought up the WARP (Mike Trout) vs. Triple Crown (Miguel Cabrera) angle. There was a common theme running through the pieces that argued for Cabrera: WARP is a complicated and math-heavy stat, and because it is so complicated, how can we be sure that Trout was actually the better player?