Innings Per Start Analysis: Fool’s Gold

For my last few articles, I’ve been focusing on how some pitcher value changes based on the innings thrown per start. Today I’m going to examine the pitchers who go long into starts but could be landmines for their owners.

Just for reminder, I’m highlighting the pitchers who go longer into games because I expect the second Spring Training to be shorter than normal. Pitchers won’t be stretched out to start the season. Also, the games will be condensed with some starters in piggy-back situations as managers need to pull out all the stops to win games. While most of the pitchers who go long into games will be helpful, I found a few starters who I can’t recommend.

The following starters are in the top-300 in NFBC ADP and the stats are combined from the past three seasons.

Length of Starts
Name G GS IP IP/G Threw 90 Pitches 100 Pitches Reached 5 IP 5 IP/G 5 IP/GS 6 IP/GS Reached 6 IP ADP
Gerrit Cole 98 98 616 6.3 93 63 95 97% 97% 79% 77 6
Jacob deGrom 95 95 622 6.6 86 70 88 93% 93% 83% 79 7
Walker Buehler 62 53 329 5.3 41 16 48 77% 91% 60% 32 12
Max Scherzer 91 91 594 6.5 84 68 86 95% 95% 85% 77 16
Justin Verlander 101 101 643 6.4 95 72 96 95% 95% 81% 82 20
Jack Flaherty 67 66 369 5.5 41 23 53 79% 80% 48% 32 22
Shane Bieber 54 52 329 6.1 40 28 48 89% 92% 71% 37 26
Mike Clevinger 80 74 448 5.6 62 41 64 80% 86% 66% 49 27
Stephen Strasburg 83 83 514 6.2 75 52 75 90% 90% 76% 63 28
Chris Sale 84 84 520 6.2 73 54 73 87% 87% 70% 59 35
Clayton Kershaw 82 81 515 6.3 59 25 75 91% 93% 86% 70 37
Luis Castillo 78 78 450 5.8 54 35 68 87% 87% 56% 44 40
Blake Snell 78 78 417 5.3 50 34 60 77% 77% 50% 39 44
Patrick Corbin 99 98 592 6.0 81 41 88 89% 90% 70% 69 45
Chris Paddack 26 26 141 5.4 11 0 20 77% 77% 38% 10 49
Lucas Giolito 68 68 395 5.8 54 35 58 85% 85% 65% 44 50
Yu Darvish 70 70 405 5.8 49 24 57 81% 81% 59% 41 53
Charlie Morton 88 88 508 5.8 63 33 78 89% 89% 60% 53 54
Aaron Nola 94 94 583 6.2 78 47 87 93% 93% 71% 67 57
Zack Greinke 98 98 619 6.3 83 39 91 93% 93% 78% 76 61
Tyler Glasnow 72 36 234 3.3 13 4 23 32% 64% 36% 13 61
Jose Berrios 90 89 538 6.0 71 36 75 83% 84% 63% 56 75
Brandon Woodruff 49 34 207 4.2 24 6 24 49% 71% 44% 15 78
Trevor Bauer 94 92 565 6.0 82 75 78 83% 85% 68% 63 80
Sonny Gray 88 81 468 5.3 51 29 64 73% 79% 56% 45 95
Frankie Montas 52 27 193 3.7 16 4 23 44% 85% 67% 18 100
Corey Kluber 69 69 454 6.6 55 36 62 90% 90% 80% 55 101
Mike Soroka 34 34 200 5.9 16 5 28 82% 82% 65% 22 104
James Paxton 81 81 447 5.5 59 39 61 75% 75% 54% 44 119
Zack Wheeler 77 77 464 6.0 64 41 67 87% 87% 69% 53 120
Lance Lynn 97 95 551 5.7 80 58 83 86% 87% 58% 55 121
Dinelson Lamet 35 35 187 5.4 17 6 29 83% 83% 40% 14 122
Zac Gallen 15 15 80 5.3 12 5 13 87% 87% 33% 5 123
Julio Urias 45 13 107 2.4 3 0 6 13% 46% 15% 2 126
Madison Bumgarner 72 72 448 6.2 59 34 69 96% 96% 79% 57 130
Max Fried 56 39 225 4.0 16 4 31 55% 79% 38% 15 135
Eduardo Rodriguez 86 81 470 5.5 69 49 71 83% 88% 53% 43 137
Carlos Carrasco 87 74 472 5.4 55 33 63 72% 85% 66% 49 139
David Price 68 63 358 5.3 45 21 52 76% 83% 59% 37 139
Hyun-Jin Ryu 69 68 392 5.7 36 14 52 75% 76% 57% 39 146
Kyle Hendricks 87 87 516 5.9 56 22 75 86% 86% 57% 50 153
Robbie Ray 85 85 460 5.4 71 41 69 81% 81% 46% 39 158
Matthew Boyd 89 88 491 5.5 67 30 69 78% 78% 59% 52 158
Kenta Maeda 105 71 413 3.9 26 9 51 49% 72% 32% 23 162
Carlos Martinez 113 50 372 3.3 41 20 44 39% 88% 64% 32 167
Lance McCullers Jr. 47 44 247 5.3 34 10 32 68% 73% 50% 22 172
German Marquez 90 90 532 5.9 65 26 76 84% 84% 64% 58 176
Mike Minor 125 60 443 3.5 50 28 54 43% 90% 62% 37 177
Ian Kennedy 115 52 337 2.9 35 17 38 33% 73% 46% 24 182
Sean Manaea 61 61 349 5.7 34 13 52 85% 85% 57% 35 183
Jake Odorizzi 90 90 467 5.2 70 36 66 73% 73% 37% 33 185
Luis Severino 66 66 397 6.0 52 34 58 88% 88% 61% 40 194
Jose Urquidy 9 7 41 4.6 1 0 4 44% 57% 43% 3 195
Luke Weaver 55 47 261 4.7 30 10 33 60% 70% 38% 18 197
Andrew Heaney 53 53 297 5.6 35 14 43 81% 81% 51% 27 202
Mike Foltynewicz 81 80 454 5.6 57 36 64 79% 80% 51% 41 204
Marcus Stroman 84 84 488 5.8 64 29 66 79% 79% 57% 48 207
Masahiro Tanaka 89 88 516 5.8 47 23 71 80% 81% 63% 55 207
Dylan Bundy 89 89 503 5.7 70 30 73 82% 82% 54% 48 213
Joe Musgrove 89 65 395 4.4 28 9 51 57% 78% 55% 36 216
Joshua James 55 4 84 1.5 1 0 3 5% 75% 0% 0 221
Mitch Keller 11 11 48 4.4 8 0 6 55% 55% 9% 1 228
Adrian Houser 42 18 125 3.0 4 0 9 21% 50% 17% 3 229
Ryan Yarbrough 66 20 289 4.4 18 4 30 45% 80% 55% 16 234
Caleb Smith 53 46 249 4.7 27 17 34 64% 74% 39% 18 234
Anthony DeSclafani 52 52 282 5.4 19 5 39 75% 75% 38% 20 247
Joey Lucchesi 56 56 294 5.2 22 7 43 77% 77% 32% 18 248
Jon Gray 77 76 433 5.6 52 21 61 79% 80% 55% 42 248
Garrett Richards 25 25 113 4.5 8 4 14 56% 56% 20% 5 248
Chris Archer 84 84 469 5.6 67 40 70 83% 83% 58% 49 251
Aaron Civale 10 10 58 5.8 4 0 9 90% 90% 60% 6 252
Alex Wood 67 59 340 5.1 27 5 49 73% 83% 56% 33 252
Sandy Alcantara 46 38 240 5.2 32 10 34 74% 89% 58% 22 266
Michael Kopech 4 4 14 3.6 0 0 1 25% 25% 25% 1 270
Yonny Chirinos 44 25 223 5.1 12 5 30 68% 80% 44% 14 274
Rich Hill 63 62 327 5.2 33 7 49 78% 79% 45% 28 277
Dylan Cease 14 14 73 5.2 12 7 12 86% 86% 43% 6 278
Steven Matz 75 73 381 5.1 45 25 54 72% 74% 47% 34 283
Dallas Keuchel 76 76 463 6.1 62 33 70 92% 92% 70% 53 286
Miles Mikolas 64 64 385 6.0 44 13 58 91% 91% 66% 42 287
Dustin May 14 4 35 2.5 2 0 4 29% 100% 0% 0 295
Jordan Montgomery 37 36 187 5.0 17 5 25 68% 69% 39% 14 296
Cole Hamels 83 83 480 5.8 66 29 69 83% 83% 60% 50 297

Here are some pitchers whose innings per start won’t be enough to help their value.

Marcus Stroman and Masahiro Tanaka: I believe both pitchers are perfectly fine to roster, but Dallas Keuchel and Miles Mikolas are going about 100 picks later and have similar projections.

Veteran Starters Comparison
Name K/9 ERA WHIP ADP
Mikolas 7.2 4.12 1.24 287
Keuchel 7.2 4.30 1.37 286
Stroman 7.3 3.80 1.31 207
Tanaka 8.0 4.45 1.26 207
SOURCE: Depth Chart Projections

If an owner needs a steady boring vet, don’t pay up and grab the last available of these four.

Sandy Alcantara: The 24-year-old righty was 17th in innings pitched last season. Even with all those innings, he had barely any value. He won just six games. He did have 151 strikeouts which were good for 57th overall. He didn’t get hit around too bad keeping his ERA under 4.00. His projections have him taking a major step backward (4.60 ERA, 1.44 WHIP) and 190 innings of his projected ratios could be devastating. I’ll let someone else handle that time bomb.

Sean Manaea: I’m a little surprised to see Manaea so high. I’ll continue to doubt him until he finds some way to stay healthy. His five September starts provided some helium, but career stats (7.3 K/9, 1.20 WHIP, and 3.77 ERA) are in line with the four aging vets profiled earlier.

Carlos Martinez: Whenever Martinez has started over the past few seasons, he’s gone long into games. The problem is that he’s just started 50 games with more games as a reliever. I have no faith he can stay healthy through a shortened 2020 season and will head to the bullpen … again. Since his role will change, it’s tough for me to invest an 11th round pick on an unknown role. At that point in the draft, I need to know if I’m adding a starter or reliever.

Corey Kluber: I just think he may be done. His Spring Training velocities have him at or under his 2019 fastball speeds. I could not find any other information from Spring Training so I decided to compare his NFBC ADP to see his draft position jumped. Maybe others knew more than I did. In February’s online championships, he averaging pick 102. It jumped to 90 in March. Owners seem to believe in as Spring Training progressed. I’m not one of them but there will be a second chance to evaluate him to see who’s right.

David Price: Part of the allure around Price is that he goes long into games to accumulate bulk strikeouts. Since he’s now on the Dodgers, I’m not sure. The Dodgers have curtailed Kershaw’s innings so they’ll do the same with Price.

We hoped you liked reading Innings Per Start Analysis: Fool’s Gold by Jeff Zimmerman!

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Jeff, one of the authors of the fantasy baseball guide,The Process, writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first two seasons in Tout Wars, he's won the H2H league and mixed auction league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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bigchuck
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bigchuck

Jeff,
This is great stuff and thank you for presenting this to us. Are there any other stats we should be looking at to differentiate someone on the cusp of the next level vs someone who is on the downslide?Age? Years in the MLB? Declining skill set? Injury history? What say you? Not to deluge your chart with stats but this info has me – as well as other readers I am sure – very interested in using this info. ALWAYS looking for an edge!