Eno Sarris said not to look at HR rate. He said it and I’m going to listen. However, FIP and xFIP are not HR rates, and I’m going to look at that. Too often we assume that others know, or we actually know, what a statistic represents. We hear it, we think it, we know it. But, take a moment with me to reinvigorate our understanding of these two very important statistics.
FIP gives us an idea of how a pitcher performs regardless of who is playing defense behind him. It accounts for strikeouts, walks, hit by pitches, and home runs allowed. FIP gives us a better understanding of how a pitcher is performing than ERA. xFIP tells us all the same but accounts for the volatility of the HR rate. Quoting from our very own FanGraphs glossary, xFIP is:
calculated in the same way as FIP, except it replaces a pitcher’s home run total with an estimate of how many home runs they should have allowed given the number of fly balls they surrendered while assuming a league average home run to fly ball percentage (between 9 and 10% depending on the year).
Read the rest of this entry »
NEW FEATURE ALERT! We have added an upgraded version of RosterResource’s Closer Depth Chart to FanGraphs. Read more about it here.
We will always include a link to the full Closer Depth Chart at the bottom of the Bullpen Report each day. It’s also accessible from the RosterResource drop-down menu and from any RosterResource page. Please let us know what you think.
The 2021 version of Bullpen Report includes five different sections, as well as the closer chart, which can be found at the bottom of the page.
The “RosterResource” link will take you to the corresponding team’s RosterResource depth chart, which will give you a better picture of the full bullpen and results of the previous six days (pitch count, save, hold, win, loss, blown save.)
Read the rest of this entry »
There have been some really exciting starts from young pitchers so far this season. On Sunday, Michael Kopech pitched five innings, faced 18 batters, and struck out 10 of them. When I saw that he was starting in place of Lucas Giolito on Sunday morning, I totally rolled the dice and got lucky. Adding a young pitcher who I’ve been rooting for over the past few years and it paying off was great. But, I’ll admit, it made me feel a little empty inside.
As I stared at the tv and excitedly encouraged whiff after whiff I slowly began to realize that a win wasn’t going to be possible. I knew Kopech would be on a pitch count and I knew he wasn’t going to suddenly become a rotation mainstay, but I went for it anyway, dropping a set-up reliever in order to gain some strikeouts. I felt oh-so-sad when Tony La Russa effectively looked into the camera and told me not to get used to it. Monday morning had me reflecting, was it worth it? Which is better to roster, low-pitch count starters like Kopech or middle/set-up relievers?
Let’s get a disclaimer out of the way; I’m not writing to recommend a punt and I don’t think you should just completely give up on a category. Ok? All I’m saying is if I were to punt, here’s how I’d do it. Punting in fantasy baseball is when you abandon a category. Saves are hard to come by and you might just be able to completely forego accumulating them. Many fantasy managers will draft with the punt in mind straight from the get-go. Some will wait and see how their team is shaping up and will punt a category that is lacking. Surely there has been work determining the value of the punt, Ron Shandler’s forecaster comes to mind. But let’s look at it from a 2021 perspective and whether or not it’s theoretically possible to punt a category and also win your league.
Now is that time in the season where you’re probably starting to get a little antsy. Why hasn’t Player A hit any home runs yet? When will Player B steal a base? Do I cut this player? Do I add that player? You may fall into the trap of cutting players on a whim because of a 3-for-31 performance thus far, but then regret that cut when he goes on a home run hitting bonanza in a few weeks. So, what indicators can you look for when trying to decide whether to buy or sell, cut or claim?
You may remember, in the before times, a game called Beat the Streak. The game challenged baseball fans to hypothetically beat one of the greatest records of all time. The idea was to pick one player each day to get a hit and to do that 57 consecutive times, beating Joe DiMaggio’s 56 game hit streak record. Way back in preseason 2020 I wrote about my ambitions of becoming a millionaire by using predictive, machine learning models to aid in winning the competition. The game’s 2020 cancellation gave me time to think, time to read, time to learn how noisy my upstairs neighbors are, and time to build a better model.