If you go through the top pitchers for Wins or Ks or ERA or WHIP, you might see one set of names. You know the names, Ubaldo, Garcia, Price, Pettitte, Buchholz, Wainwright… The guys that are actually helping you win your league. Well, I decided to look at some more obscure (depending on your definition of obscure, I suppose) stats and see if maybe they’re giving us a different picture. Some pitchers that can be had for cheaper or even grabbed off waivers that are pitching well just not yet putting up the numbers in the categories that matter for fantasy. Yet’s the key word. The best is yet to come for these pitchers. Anyway, here’s some pitchers that are pitching well in relative obscurity for fantasy baseball:
Bronson Arroyo – Leads the major leagues in Opponents’ Quality OPS* (OPP_Qual_OPS) with .689. As defined by BP, not the gas company, “(S)hows you what a pitcher has allowed for average, on-base and slugging rates, but also tells you how those hitters have done against the rest of the league. That way, you can see if a pitcher is struggling against more difficult opponents (or giving up a lot of hits against competition that isn’t that intimidating). Maybe someone has a higher ERA than you are used to seeing, but it’s because they have been facing difficult opponents for two months that have, as expected, raised their batting average or slugging against.” In English, Arroyo’s been better than his stats. Also in the top 10 for OPP_Qual_OPS (abbreviate that fast five times!): Jonathan Sanchez, Lincecum, Leake, Lowe, Medlen, Josh Johnson, Cain, Kershaw, Zito and Latos. The surprising names pop right out to you. Leake, Lowe, Medlen and Zito. Leake and Lowe worry me because their OPP OBP is .331 and .345, respectively. That means they’re putting players on base. For what it’s Wuertz, Ubaldo is ranked 47th for OPP_Qual_OPS, just behind Dave Bush. So obviously this stat is not the end all, but it’s something to consider. (Oh, and welcome Googlers of Ubaldo + behind + Bush!) *The stat is at Baseball Prospectus and their database is only updated through June 15th, so these stats are two days old.
Felipe Paulino – Ranked 18th overall for Defense Independent ERA (DIPS). In front of him, from top to Paulino: Cliff Lee, Liriano, Johnson, Halladay, Lincecum, Wainwright, Ubaldo, Hughes, Ricky Romero, Weaver, Oswalt, Kershaw, Gallardo, Jaime Garcia, Hanson, Cain and Lester. Besides Romero, you’ll see a lot of the same names at the top of lists like this. Well, besides Romero AND Paulino. The walks obviously take some of the glimmerino off Felipe.
Brandon Morrow – Tied for first with the best K/9 in baseball with Lincecum and just ahead of Kershaw.
Ted Lilly - Leads the league in lowest amount of run support. Now there’s a category I would dominate in fantasy.
Justin Masterson – Best GB/FB in the major leagues. He also has the 2nd best GB%, just behind Tim Hudson. Put Masterson in front of 4 Ozzie Smiths…Or 8 Jason Donalds that form an impenetrable circle three feet in front of the batter and he’s 3 ERA guy. And that’s word is bond. (Bringing it back!)