Striekouts rule in DraftStreet. Find a hurler who can rack up 10 punch-outs, and the baseline he needs to reach with the rest of his performance shrinks significantly. Gamble on a power hitter who ends up whiffing multiple times, and you could be looking at a big, money-sucking negative in the points column.
So identifying strikeout potential is key, and once we have a little more data about each team, we’ll be able to attack them appropriately. Strikeout rates cross the 50-percent stabilization threshold (that is, half of future performance can be predicted by performance to date) earlier than any other stat – 60 plate appearances for hitters and 70 batters faced for pitchers.
As it is, though, the league leader in plate appearances has just 48 and only Wade Miley has faced more than 70 batters. We’re close, but we’re not there yet. In place of breaking down those surgers and laggards too early, here’s a reminder of how important strikeouts are for pitchers in daily leagues:
6 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, 1 BB, 6 K, Loss – 4.85 points
7 IP, 4 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 7 K, Loss – 5.2 points (that’s a net gain for an extra inning with a H, BB, ER and K)
6 IP, 4 ER, 8 H, 2 BB, 8 K, No Decision – 5.5 points (a net gain despite a worse start thanks to the no decision)
5 IP, 2 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 7 K, Loss – 5.15 points (in a short outing, a pitcher really has to dominate)
The Daily Five
Blue Jays RHH – The Jays draw Dallas Keuchel on Thursday night, and while there’s some tepid optimism that Keuchel’s groundball profile could eventually lead to back-end success, it isn’t apparent yet. To wit, since 2012, Keuchel has given up the fifth-friendliest wOBA to right-handed batters, a .374 mark. The Jays’ lineup against left-handed pitchers isn’t going to scare many people, and Jose Bautista ($8,794) and Edwin Encarnacion ($8,700) are priced appropriately, but you can make a case for Brett Lawrie ($5,559) despite the early struggles and try to save money elsewhere for either of the big-boppers (or red-hot Melky Cabrera at $8,127).
David Hale – $14,869
Hale’s punch-out rate through three major league starts is impressive, but that’s not something that’s likely to continue long-term based on his minor league track record and middling velocity. He draws the Mets on Thursday, however, and they’ve struck out in 27.8 percent of their plate appearances as a team so far, with just a .261 wOBA.
Nationals stack – In the event you don’t want to spend on Jays, the Nationals represent a nice opportunity against righty Tom Koehler as well. Koehler doesn’t miss bats and, while he’s been anything but bad through 162.1 career innings, he’s friendly to right-handed hitters and will have to deal with1 5MPH wind blowing straight out to centerfield, in one of the day’s warmest temperatures. There aren’t any insane values but everyone checks in at a below-average price. I’m targeting Ian Desmond ($6,607) and Jayson Werth ($6,943) in particular, and Bryce Harper ($6,985) is the pro-bro choice.
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Blake Murphy is a freelance sportswriter based out of Toronto. Formerly of the Score, he's the managing editor at Raptors Republic and frequently pops up at Sportsnet, Vice, and around here. Follow him on Twitter @BlakeMurphyODC.