Steve Saude has been looking at match up data to forecast strikeout rate. His posts are very advanced, somewhat confusing, and have lots of pretty graphs. You can read them here and here, and I suggest that you do. The main thing I took away was that batters and pitchers contribute equally to the outcome of his expected K% formula. Strikeouts are a big deal when picking daily pitchers, so we should be looking at how much the opposing team strikes out against pitchers of the same handedness to try and pick pitchers’ with high strikeout totals. We all look at a pitcher’s match up, but we should be looking at the K% of the opposing team in addition to their overall offensive performance. Below are each teams K% versus both left and right handed pitching along with their wRC+.
|vs. L||vs. R|
We all know the Marlins are a good match up, but maybe they’re not the best match up for right-handers because they don’t strikeout much. And maybe the Royals aren’t as good of a match up as you might have thought given that they don’t strikeout much. On the flip side, the Red Sox and Braves seem like bad match ups, but don’t be afraid to start left-handers against them because they strikeout a lot.
The Daily Five
I recommend you spend more on pitching than hitting because pitchers score more points on average, so you need to increase your odds of getting big points out of a starter by spending on them. Let’s look at today’s most expensive starters and find the best match ups.
Let’s start by cutting Turner, de la Rosa, and Harang off the bottom of the list. They suck. But back at the top, I’m not interested in Scherzer because he faces the Orioles who are above average vs. RHP and don’t strikeout much. Miller faces the Cubs who have a 91 wRC+ vs. RHP, but they don’t strikeout a lot. And that’s the same story for Shields against the aforementioned Royals.
But Patrick Corbin ($15,655) has a great match up. The Marlins are about 30% below average against both left and right handed pitching. But they strikeout much more against LHP. As a result, Corbin is my first pitcher for the day.
Liriano and Gee are no good because the Reds and Braves are both above average against pitchers of their handedness. And why is Gee the 6th most expensive pitcher of the day? I love him more than anyone, so I’m aware that he’s been better recently. But he hasn’t been that good, and the Braves are not a good match up for right-handers.
Mike Leake ($13,212) is the next guy with a good match up. He’ll face the Pirates who are 9% below average vs. RHP and who have the 5th highest K% vs. RHP. So there’s your second starter of the day.
Wood will face the Cardinals who are not nearly as good against left-handers like Wood as they are against righties, but they have the 3rd lowest K% vs. RHP.
The last three guys, Hudson, Norris, and Straily are all decent plays today. Hudson has the Mets who have the 4th highest K% vs. RHP and are 15% below average against them. Norris has the White Sox who have the second worst wRC+ vs. RHP as well as the 8th highest K%. And Straily has the Rangers who are slashing .222/.295/.371 in the last 14 days as a team. Whoof. But I’m going with Tim Hudson ($12,479) as my 3rd pitcher because he’s the only one of the trio with an xFIP under 4.00.
As for hitters, David Freese ($6,857) seems like a bit of a bargain. He’s only the 10th most expensive 3B, and he’s been on a tear lately. He’s hitting .379 over the last 30 days and .404 over the last 15. He’s also facing a lefty today, and he has a wRC+ of 131 against them for his career. Jason Kubel ($6,546) also seems like a nice deal. He’s hitting .343 over the last 15 days, he’s facing a righty and has a wRC+ of 120 against them for his career, and he’s playing at home where last year his wOBA was about 30 points better than it was on the road.
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