Knowledge Drop June 12, 2018 – Nolan Ryan Edition* (34)
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*Nolan Ryan wore #34 for 15 of his seasons. You already know about his greatness so we’ll remind you of his epic fight with Robin Ventura.
TOP KNOWLEDGE — WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW RIGHT NOW
Seth Lugo, Ross Stripling, Kevin Gausman: What Have You Done for Me Lately?
Seth Lugo made his second start of the year Sunday night, in place of Noah Syndergaard for the Mets. He pitched six shutout innings against the Yankees; two Mets relievers came on to give the Bronx Bombers their first 2018 shutout.
Lugo has been highly effective all season out of the Mets bullpen and he looks to become a permanent fixture in the starting rotation after his Sunday outing.
He is a reminder for us to partake in a critical exercise during the Fantasy season: Look in the rearview mirror. We often spot productive talent (or trade targets) on the waiver wire by evaluating performances over the last 30 days or so. It’s important to look at all players, not just free agents, both for full context and for making a small deal a very significant one.
So we looked at all pitchers over the last 30 days (min. 20 IP) to see how is bringing it and might make a contribution to our team.
We first sorted by xFIP (expected fielding independent pitching) to try to identify arms that have pitched well, not necessarily those who have had stellar results.
There were a dozen pitchers with an xFIP under 3.00. There were the usual names (Scherzer, deGrom, Kluber, Sale) but we found not only Lugo (3rd with 2.22 xFIP), but other names of note. Ross Stripling topped the list with a 1.75 xFIP; Kevin Gausman (2.81), Dylan Covey (2.96) and Mike Foltynewicz (2.97) were on the list also. (Just missing our list was Nick Pivetta and Vince Velasquez, names to note also.)
We then sorted the 20+ IP pitchers by K/9, because we’re not often interested in short-term performance with at least respectable whiff totals. Twenty four arms topped 10.0 K/9. Again ignoring the usual suspects, we see many of the same names from the xFIP list:
Stripling (11.8), Foltynewicz (11.5), Velasquez (11.3), PIvetta (10.9), Guasman (10.4) and Covey (10.1) show up among the dirty two dozen. Other names include Jon Gray (he’s the Colorado one, 12.3, 3.36 xFIP), Blake Snell (10.4, 3.20 xFIP) and Tyler Skaggs (10.0, 3.84 xFIP). Lugo notched a notable 9.6 K/9.
We like to look at a pitcher’s BABIP as well to try to identify unlucky (and lucky) short-term pitchers.
Topping the list of highest BABIP were Gray (.481) and Gausman (.451); league average is about .295. Gray has Colorado, but 48 percent of batted balls becoming hits is just silly. His fate will improve, but we’d only start him on the road anyway. We are getting tired of waiting for Gausman, but maybe he’s actually arrived now? Maybe?
There were 18 pitchers with a .350 or higher BABIP. Those who also had a sub-4.00 xFIP were: Trevor Bauer (.380, 2.48), Alex Wood (.375, 3.47), Velasquez (.371, 3.15), Dallas Keuchel (.357, 3.43), and Jakob Junis (.350, 3.91). Expect at least slight improvement in their performances in June.
Some names on the other end of the BABIP scale (well-below-average BABIPs) and good xFIPs include Lugo (.220, 2.22), Jon Lester (.206, 3.94), Dylan Bundy (.204, 3.63), J.A. Happ (.215, 3.68), Snell (.241, 3.20), and Jose Berrios (.244, 2.97).
Expect many of these names to get blown up over the summer. You just can’t sustain a .204 BABIP for very long. The pendulum swings back, and it swings hard. High K totals help to minimize the BABIP damage of course, but if you have Jon Lester, trade him. Like, today.
Lugo will be an interesting case. He’s made only two starts but he’s been largely untouchable out of the pen. (He started the season in pen because the Mets rotation was too crowded, with the likes of Matt Harvey and Jason Vargas ahead of Lugo.). His spin rate on his curveball is the highest in the majors and thus has become his most popular pitch, of his five offerings.
As with all the names we’ve identified, we will be watching him closely. You should too because if these pitchers have arrived, grabbing one or two of them now can seal an October championship for your squad.
A THOUSAND WORDS
Today, @BatFlipCrazy looks at the rookie season of Miguel Andujar:
Miguel Andujar may end up as the most valuable rookie hitter in 2018. He’s been awesome: AVG: .305 / xAVG: .313 HR: 8 / xHR: 9.2 wOBA: .374 / xOBA: .375 His skills are on fire and improving quickly. His 600 PA pace (batting mostly 7-8): .305-85-23-79-3
Follow @BatFlipCrazy on Twitter and read more in-depth data analysis at batflipcrazy.com
RIDDLE ME THIS
You have 2 coins that add up to 35 cents. One of the coins is not a quarter.
What kind of coins do you have?
Email your guess to BigMacFantasySports@gmail.com
Tuesday’s Riddle: A truck driver is going down a one way street the wrong way, and passes at least ten cops. Why is he not caught?
Everyone is getting lazy. No correct guesses again. The answer is he was walking down the one-way street.
DAD JOKE OF THE DAY
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