Mother’s WHIP; High-K Set Up Relievers, DeJong on Fire

Knowledge Drop May 13, 2018 – Mother Watson Edition (#21)

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*Today we celebrate all the Mothers around the world – we love you mom.  Mother Watson started just 2 games for the Cincinnati Red Stockings in 1887. We break down his two-game career below. 


Setting You Up with Ks …

Big Mac is a huge proponent of rostering two-to-four set up relievers on your team in most formats. Because most leagues allow you daily transactions, you can shuttle in starters each day, have a couple or three closers and some high-strikeout relief pitchers who can have an impact on your WHIP, ERA and, most specifically, your strikeout totals. Here are a half dozen players (min. 10 IP) who are widely available and flying under the radar in most leagues: 

Pitcher K/9 BB/9 ERA
Richard Rodriquez 15.53 1.35 1.35
John Brebbia 12.60 1.80 2.70
Dan Winkler 12.42 2.70 1.08
Tyler Olson 12.41 2.19 6.57
Collin McHugh 12.27 2.45 0.61
Ryan Pressly 12.23 3.38 1.69


Note that these are other relievers with K/9 rates as high or higher than these arms, but we wanted to target those with at least workable BB/9 rates – we want them to actually help your team

Richard Rodriguez relies on only a fourseam fastball and a curveball. He’s generating great results with both pitches: a 19 percent swinging strike rate with the fastball and 22.4 percent with the curveball. More impressively the curve results in ground balls 58.3 percent of the time and fly balls just 8.3 percent.  We’re excited to see more of the 28-year-old righty this season.

John Brebbia was called up in May and has recorded exactly 10 IP. He is  0 percent owned in my CBS league, so he’s likely available in yours for sure. He’s a fastball/slider pitcher, with both offerings appearing above average thus far in 2018. The 94 mph fourseam fastball has generated a 12.3 percent swinging strike rate and the slider a 10.2 percent rate. Brebbia very occasionally throws a sinker, changeup and curveball, but not often enough to analyze.

Aside from former starter McHugh, Dan Winkler is probably the most recognizable name on this list. In CBS leagues he is just 5 percent owned. Like Rodriguez, Winkler is a 28-year-old right-handed pitcher with a 93 mph fourseam fastball. He relies mostly on this pitch and a cutter (at about 91 mph).  Winkler will mix in a sinker, slider and rarely a changeup.  He generates a higher-than-average number of fly balls, but has yet to surrender a HR this year.  We like his K counts, but if you roster him that 1.08 ERA is due to double or triple soon.

We can look past Tyler Olson’s 6.57 ERA (2.71 xFIP) because he strikes out hitters, and yields ground balls about 50 percent of the time. He features a fourseam, curveball, and changeup, all of which average below 90 mph. His curveball (15.7 percent swinging strike rate) and changeup (17.1) are his plus pitches.  He’s not overpowering but he does fool hitters and is worth following.

Colin McHugh is the latest starter-turned-fireball-reliever. Okay, fireballer is an exaggeration since the fastball averages 92 mph (that’s still higher than before). McHugh owns six pitches and last season registered at least an 11.7 percent Swinging strike rate on four of them (fastball, curve, slider and a rare changeup).  His swing-and-miss rates are not that high in 2018’s small sample, but we think he’ll have good strikeout success in the bullpen and you might consider him for your roster.  Obviously he can slot into the rotation should injuries haunt the Astros.

Ryan Pressly has 29 Ks in 21 innings, a 1.69 ERA and workable 1.22 WHIP. He’s the hardest thrower on this list, owning a 96 mph fastball, a hard 90 mph slider and an 82 mph curveball. He owns a sinker and changeup but rarely throws them. His fastball is not dominant and lacks movement.  It has generated matching 42.3 percent rates of fastballs and groundballs in 2018.  The slider though has produced 75 percent ground balls and a sick 38 percent swinging strike rate (small samples and all).  Pressly is the name on this list most likely to get claimed by a teammate and/or get save chances at some point, so you might want to at least stash him moving forward.

 Hello Mother…

As you might imagine there aren’t many “mothers” in baseball. Duke, Daffy, Sparky, Reggie, but of course there is only one mother – Mother Watson.  And on this Mother’s Day we want to highlight his (brief) career.

Mother Watson checked in at 5’9” tall and a whopping 145 pounds. His teammates used to mock him, calling him “Condensed Chris Sale.”  Truthfully we think 5’9” was (literally) a stretch but we’ll give Mother the benefit of the doubt – all Mothers deserve that.

Mother started two games and appeared in the outfield in two games, notching 14 innings at both positions.  Mother amassed 10 plate appearances, earning one hit (a single), one walk and one hit-by-pitch, for a .300 on-base percentage and a .125 batting average.

In the outfield, Watson played 14 innings and recorded (get this) one assist, no putouts and two errors, for a .333 fielding percentage.

On the mound, Mother was 0-1 with a 5.79 ERA. In 14 innings, Mother fanned one batter, walked six (a 1:6 K:BB ratio!!). Mother yielded 18 runs (9 earned) on 22 hits; Watson’s strand rate was a well-below average 35 percent. To be fair, Mother’s FIP was 4.42, meaning positive change was coming, if he could just get another game on the mound.

By comparison, Elmer Smith was the ace of that 1887 Red Stockings team, starting 52 games (!), recording a 2.94 ERA in 447 IP (!). Smith went 34-17 that season, ending with a 3.54 K/9 mark against a 2.54 BB/9 rate.

We would not recommend you pick up Mother for your Fantasy team. Despite a lower FIP, we advise against any pitcher with a 2.00 WHIP and a 0.6 K/9 rate. Mother will have to get her control before we consider her for our squad.



Today @BatFlipCrazy updates us on Paul DeJong’s hot streak:

Paul DeJong is 🔥 O-swing: 24.5% 2018 / 33.6% 2017 SwStr: 12.4% / 13.3% BB: 9.1% / 4.7% K: 30.8% / 28.0%

Follow @BatFlipCrazy on Twitter and read more in-depth data analysis at


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Because bad jokes fuel our world.

What did the horse say after it tripped?


“Help. I’ve fallen and I can’t giddyup.”


Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms.  Stop reading about Fantasy baseball and call your Moms.  Like, now!!



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