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Fantasy Baseball Edge: 40 Things You Didn’t Know

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By Moe Koltun, Matt Cott and Matthew Schwimmer of RotoAnalysis.com

With the trade deadline passed and the fantasy baseball season on its last legs, here are some facts we at RotoAnalysis.com have gathered to look at some facts you might not have noticed, some numbers to help you make a waiver wire pickup, or some tidbits of information that are just pretty interesting:

1)    In April, May, and June, David Wright posted strikeout rates of 15.7%,14%, and 9% respectively.

2)    In July, Wright posted a 24.3% K rate, more representative of the 22.9% rate he’s posted over the last three seasons before this one.

3)    Anibal Sanchez has a 4.11 ERA and a 3.62 xFIP, which is a difference which will only get wider as Sanchez moves to Detriot and their poor defense.

4)    Mike Trout is first in the MLB in WAR, runs, steals, second in average despite being 20 years old who didn’t make his debut until April 28th.

5)    Despite hitting .218 in April with 0 homers, Albert Pujols is currently hitting .284 and on pace for 34 homers and 110 RBIs.

6)    Despite a 3.23 ERA, Jeremy Hellickson has a 5.05 FIP and a 5.82 K/9. This luck just cannot continue for much longer.

7)    Josh Johnson’s career ERA and FIP are 3.13 and 3.14. This season, he has an ERA of 4.04 and a FIP of 3.08 despite pitching in PETCO Park 2.0. I expect Johnson to perform much better for the rest of the season and he will be a huge sleeper next year.

8)    In May, Jarrod Parker posted a 5.20 FIP despite posting a 3.15 ERA. During the month, he had a 5.29 K/9 and 5.24 BB/9.

9)    In July, Jarrod Parker posted a 3.23 FIP despite posting a 5.34 ERA. During the month, he had a 7.71 K/9 and a 2.08 BB/9. Despite the ERA now supporting it, Parker is making huge strides in the right direction after getting very lucky to begin his MLB career.

10)  Over the past three seasons, Doug Fister has slowly raised his K/9 from 4.89 to 7.84 this season. In addition to a career BB/9 rate of 1.74, Fister and his sub 4 ERA in the AL has become a very underrated fantasy commodity. Don’t forget he had a huge second half last year as well.

11)  Many Hunter Pence owners are worried about his power going out as he moves from Philadelphia to San Francisco. However, all 17 of his homers would have cleared the fence in San Fran.

12) Pitcher A has a 5.15 ERA, 11 wins, 8.18 K/9, 3.92 BB/9, and 17.0% HR/FB rate in 190 innings.

13) Pitcher B has a 3.27 ERA, 13 wins 7.40 K/9, 2.69 BB/9, and 12.1% HR/FB rate in 124 innings.

14) Pitcher A is A.J. Burnett in 2011, Pitcher B is A.J. Burnett in 2012. It’s amazing what going from the AL East to a great NL pitcher’s park will do!

15)  The Rangers have called up Mike Olt to play 1B. Olt was hitting .287 with 28 homers and will be an excellent ballpark and lineup to succeed right away.

16) Player A is a big injury risk who is hitting .283 with 29 homers and 6 steals in 95 games so far this season.

17) Player B is a slight injury risk who is hitting .290 with 28 homers and 8 steals in 101 games so far this season.

18) Player A is Josh Hamilton. Player B is Edwin Encarnacion. Which would you rather have?

19) Buster Posey hit .381 with 3 homers, 9 doubles, and 21 RBI in July. This year, he’s raised his walk rate, lowered his strikeout rate, and has raised his line drive rate to a career high.

20) The last offensive AL rookie of the year was Evan Longoria in 2008, where he hit .272 with 27 homers and 7 steals with a 9.1% walk rate and 24.0% strike out rate. Those are phenomenal rookie numbers.

21) This year, in 72 games, Yoenis Cespedes is hitting .308 with 14 homers and 8 steals. Those would be easy on-pace numbers for rookie of the year in almost any other year.

22) Albert Pujols (16) and Prince Fielder (11) have more In Field Fly Balls this season than Joey Votto has had in his entire career (10). That’s the difference between him and every other first basemen.

23) There are only two players in Major League Baseball hitting line drives in 30% or more of their at bats; the first player is Joey Votto, the second player is… Freddie Freeman.

24) Do you remember when Stephen Strasburg came up as a rookie and put up that preposterous stat line (12.18 K/9 2.25, BB/9, 2.91 ERA) and then got hurt and people said he’d never be the same?

25) Well, he might be the same. Coming off Tommy John surgery, Strasburg’s line this season is: 11.42 K/9, 2.45 BB/9, 3.12 ERA. That 3.12 ERA is actually a little bit on the high side, and I’d expect it to come down. Even if he’s not 100% back, are you really going to argue with that stat line? Strasburg has a real argument for being the number 1 overall pitcher heading into 2013.

26) Pitcher A has a 2.31 ERA, a 6.00 K/9 rate, a 2.71 BB/9 rate, and a 5.8% HR/FB rate in 156 innings.

27) Pitcher B has a 2.39 ERA, a 6.85 K/9 rate, a 2.20 BB/9 rate, and a 4.2% HR/FB rate in 139 innings.

28) Pitcher A is Johnny Cueto in 2011, Pitcher B is Johnny Cueto in 2012. Some guys just defy usual home run tendencies (see Jered Weaver and Matt Cain), and it looks like Cueto may just be one of those guys, while really improving this year.

29) Yu Darvish has the 5th highest walk rate in the major leagues among eligible starters. The guys ahead of him? Ubaldo Jiminez, Carlos Zambrano, Edinson Volquez, and Francisco Liriano.

30) That’s awful company. Darvish needs to continue to make adjustments or his control will hold back his tremendous stuff and make him a guy you simply can’t own in fantasy.

31) Adam Wainwright’s 8-10 record and 4.24 ERA may look bad on first glance for your fantasy team, but his K/9 of 8.56 is higher than Justin Verlander, Matt Cain, and several other big time arms, while his BB/9 of 2.30 is better than Clayton Kershaw, CC Sabathia, or Felix Hernandez.

32) Those numbers are both above his career averages, and are right on par with his two best seasons, 2009 and 2010. The dude is back.

33) Robinson Cano in April: .267 AVG/.323 OBP/.389 SLG

34) Robinson Cano since April: .324 AVG/.378 OBP/.615 SLG

35) Your MLB home run leaders in July were Jason Kubel and Josh Willingham, with 11. Right behind them? Fantasy zombie Ryan Zimmerman.

36) Speaking of fantasy zombies, Carlos Gomez led the league in stolen bases in July, also with 11. He earned NL player of the week and now has a career high in home runs (in just 242 plate appearances) with 9.

37) Is this newfound power legitimate? More than you might think. He has upped his career Fly Ball % of 39.5 to 47.2% this season. The only 7 other hitters with fly ball percentages above 45% are Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Mike Moustakas, Josh Reddick, Dan Uggla, Jason Kubel, and Jay Bruce.

38) Aroldis Chapman’s 16.72 K/9 is the highest of all-time, period, among pitchers with at least 40 innings pitched in a season. Craig Kimbrel’s 15.08 is 4th. The two are putting up historic seasons, have ridiculous stuff, and are really fun to watch.

39) Their FIP’s of 1.11 and 1.13 are the 3rd and 4th of all time among eligible relievers. Crazy stuff.

40) Looking for a superstar who nobody talks about? Look no farther than Matt Holliday. He ranks 6th in the NL in batting average, 5th in homers, 1st in RBIs, 3rd in runs, and should be in the tier with Braun, Trout, McCutchen, Kemp, and CarGo among the best outfielders and most valuable players for their fantasy contributions across the board.

Agree? Disagree? Questions? Tweet @RotoAnalysis and be sure to follow Moe @MoeProblems and Matt @KidCotti21. Check out their work on RotoAnalysis.com, as well as The RotoAnalysis Fantasy Sports Podcast.

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