In our continuing series on player recommendations, the latest edition of Strategy Manager + highlights the pitchers who are deviating from their projected production this season. The under and over producers are listed according to their projected rankings through the remainder of the season. The rankings are heavily influenced by current indicators such as their Dominance (K/I and Walk Ratios), Expected ERA, Strand Rates and Balls Hit into Play Ratios. On the PDF ranking sheet you will find 5 tiers of Starting Pitchers. Similar to baseball's classification of starters (Ace, 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th Slot), we've taken a similar approach in grouping the fantasy starters.
Let's jump in with a look at the under/over performers: Ubaldo Jimenez' average fastball is down 3-4 MPH this season, but at 93-94 he's learning that he still can be a very effective pitcher. He has posted a Quality Start in 4 of his last 5 starts and hit 99 on occasion last night against the Padres. I believe that he's turned the corner. Matt Cain has posted 9 Quality starts this season, yet only has 4 Wins...he remains underrated. Max Scherzer is ranked as the 77th best pitcher right now, and I'm making trade offers for him in every league. Scherzer has a 3 year history of struggling in May, only to heat up in the summer months. Last year Scherzer had a 9.45 May ERA, and then went on to post a 2.31 ERA and 1.10 WHIP in the 2nd half.
Edison Volquez finally came with his A game last night, and the shedding of his "gang banger" look after his minor league stint is an indication that this kid is maturing. Seven innings of 1 run ball is a vast improvement over the mass of runs allowed in the 1st inning in his previous starts. Grab him if it's not too late as he has the potential to be a top end #2. Matt Latos is pitching like a fantasy ace once again, over the last 3 weeks he's posted a 1.21 WHIP with a .94 K/I ratio. James Shields is living large as the 15th best pitcher YTD, but his .81 Strand Rate is not sustainable, nor is his lucky BHIP rate of .257, which is over 50 points below his typical norm. Sell him only at a premium price. Josh Beckett is off to one of his best starts in 5 years, however I would guestimate that there is over a 60% probability that we're going to see a second half collapse. Consider that his .84 Strand Rate is unsustainable as is his .238 BHIP. Additionally Beckett's 2nd halves have been worth less than $7 in 3 of the last 5 years. Sell High. Chris Carpenter is 36 years old, but his peripherals are still in line with his career norms. His expected Wins should be 5 instead of 1, he's been unfortunate on balls hit into play (.339 verses .282 4 year average), yet his K/I rate is above his historical norm. Time to buy. Ryan Dempster laid an egg in his last start, but he's posted a quality start in 5 of his last 7 outings. He's currently ranked as the 106th best pitcher, look for him to grade as a #2 the rest of the way.
Here's a group of other pitchers that are struggling, but I'm willing to take a shot on in the bottom of my rotation based on their success in the past: Brian Matusz, Bronson Arroyo, Mike Pelfrey, Brett Myers, Edwin Jackson, Randy Wells, & Joel Pineiro. Outside of Matusz all of these guys should come extremely cheap or be on your waiver wire.
Of the recent call-ups who we consider to be among the top 50 pitching prospects in baseball, here's how I would rank them for this season : Rubby De La Rosa (LA), Jordan Lyles (HOU), Danny Duffy (KC), Andrew Oliver (DET). Please keep in mind that we don't have a Stephen Strasburg type of callup this season, these guys likely have a bottom of the rotation ceiling for this year.
Unexpected fast start pitchers who have us concerned because of a lucky BHIP% are: John Collmenter (.161), Clay Mortensen (.205), Josh Tomlin (.211), Phil Humber (.221), Kyle Lohse (.230), AJ Burnett (.233), Jeremy Helickson (.237), and Colby Lewis (.245)
Pitchers who are underrated/undervalued because of a unlucky BHIP% include: Brandon Marrow (.361), Edwin Jackson (.352), Zach Greinke (.349), Chris Carpenter (.339), Cliff Lee (.336), Dan Hudson (.333), and Ryan Dempster (.333)
Using the Player Charts to validate Player Production
Be sure to visit our Player Charts as they contain a wealth of knowledge and a definition of many of the indicators we use. New this year is the Sabermetric Database that makes sorting for these indicators a breeze.
Using Advanced Stats to Determine Value
Remember to utilize our Advanced Stats Database regularly, as it contains some of the baseball stat indicators that we use to analyze performance during the season. The database contains many of the widely recognized indicators along with our Fantasy Production Indicator (FPI).
The Splits Database!
Did you know that Ubaldo Jimenez is allowing the opposition to hit at a .527 SLG at Home vs. .185 on the Road! Or that Andre Ethier is slugging .530 against Righties and only .302 against lefties? It's all in the Fantistics Splits Database .
Strategy Plus: Understanding the Analysis
Presented in the spreadsheet below are the player rankings. The main categories posted are the Dominance K/Inning Columns, WHIP ratio Columns, Roto $ Valuation Columns and the League Ranking Columns. You will find the Preseason (PreS), April, May, and Year to Date (YTD) posted under the Valuations and Ranking categories. The Column under league ranking named Future is where we see these players ranked moving forward through the remainder of 2011 at this point in time.
Good luck wth your trade offers!- Anthony