There are obviously a ton of factors that go into fantasy success for pitchers, but I don’t think I’d get a ton of argument if I said that strikeout and walk skills are two of the bigger factors. So I want to take a look at some of the pitchers who have shown surprising strikeout and walk skills over the last 30 days. I created a sample comprised of the 148 starters who faced 70+ batters in the last 30 days. Of those 148, 26 had a K-BB that was one standard deviation or more above the mean. Of those 26, here are a few I was most surprised to see on the list.
There was a point last season where I thought I was falling in love with Estrada because I’m an absolute sucker for these guys with a good K-BB. The 20.2% K-BB he had last year had me thinking he was a big sleeper for this year. But I came off that because the skills are mitigated by his big homer problem. His 1.36 HR/9 is why his career ERA is a full run higher than his SIERA. Even in this good little run he’s having his HR/9 is 1.16. So I’m happy he’s having a little run, but I’m not expecting it to continue.
In addition to the K-BB, Ross has checked some other boxes this year. He’s getting a lot of ground balls (53.8%), and he’s got a swinging strike rate in the double digits. The control isn’t great, but it isn’t prohibitively bad either. And in the last 30 days it has been better (7.2%). The other impressive thing about what he has done recently is that he has a 3.16 ERA despite a .338 BABIP and 65.6% LOB%. He’s obviously bailed himself out with the 28.8% K%. With the ability to miss bats, the ground ball tendencies and the home ballpark, Ross is really intriguing.
The Daily Five
Zack Wheeler, $12,996 – Wheeler has obviously shown some nice strikeout and walk skills lately, and his matchup with the Indians isn’t a terrible one. I can’t remember exactly, but I’m fairly sure that the Indians were a top five offense against right-handed pitching at some point this summer. But as of now, they’re 14th in wRC+ vs. RHP, and for the year they have the 4th highest K% vs. RHP.
A.J. Griffin, $13,533 – A pitcher with a sub-4.00 ERA and roughly league average strikeout and walk skills is facing the Astros in Oakland Colisuem. And the pitcher happens to be only the 12th most expensive pitcher of the day. No brainer.
R.A. Dickey, $13,882 – Dickey had his best month of the season in August in terms of ERA, FIP/xFIP, K% and K-BB. He’ll face the Twins today who have a 92 wRC+ vs. RHP and the second worst K% vs. RHP.
J.J. Hardy, $7,312 – I’m trying to pick a team full of players with initials for a first name today. But I’m really picking Hardy because I want someone with the platoon advantage against John Danks who has the highest HR/9 this year of any of today’s starters.
Giancarlo Stanton, $7,495 – The starter today with the second highest HR/9 this year is Dan Haren. Stanton’s career HR/PA is virtually the same against lefties and righties, so I’m not concerned that he doesn’t have the platoon advantage here.