I’ll let you in on a secret: this article doesn’t just apply to OPS leagues. You see (and if you can’t, I’m sorry for prejudging), it’s finally time for me to give those lonely pitchers some attention. So I’m taking a break from my typical look at hitters in OPS leagues. Instead, I’m putting on my favorite monocle (what – you don’t have more than one?) to see how 2012 “OPS against” views different pitching staffs and what this means for pitcher values in fantasy baseball. In addition, I’m going to throw in WHIP and BB/9, because they float my boat (1912, never forget). Without further delay, here’s a list of OPS by team of the worst pitching staffs (the worst are ranked first):
Colorado Rockies: .827 OPS, 1.55 WHIP, 3.58 BB/9
Surprised? I thought not. If it wasn’t already clear, you’d be wise to treat Rockies pitchers like the plague, all else equal. This also highlights another obvious point in that it could be worthwhile to bench a non-elite pitcher starting at Coors. On a related note, it makes sense to see that the team whose pitchers had the highest OPS also had the highest WHIP. Is this a causation or merely a correlation, my logic friends?
Minnesota Twins: .775 OPS, 1.39 WHIP, 2.91 BB/9
This isn’t too surprising because the Twins have been deploying a streaming strategy for their rotation. The interesting thing is that their pitchers have a great walk rate, but still have a high WHIP and the second-highest OPS. This could be due to their pitchers being very “hittable” or their defense being mediocre. I’m guessing both of these are related factors. To make a short story even shorter: I’m staying away from Twins starters.
Toronto Blue Jays: .772 OPS, 1.39 WHIP, 3.58 BB/9
I don’t expect to see the Blue Jays here at the end of 2013 since they upgraded their pitching and defense. Normally, I stay away from AL East pitchers. However, many of the teams are showing signs of vulnerability, which I’m guessing is due to a resurgence of In The Aeroplane Over The Sea. Regardless, I’d be open to drafting AL East pitchers this season.
Cleveland Indians: .766 OPS, 1.42 WHIP, 3.39 BB/9
They’re another team I expect improvement from this season. I mentioned their rotation recently and they have a nice mix of potential rebound candidates (they signed Dennis Rodman as a team ambassador!) and rookie upside aka Trevor Bauer.
Houston Astros: .765 OPS, 1.43 WHIP, 3.41 BB/9
How much worse can they get relative to last season? We’re about to find out. I’m not exactly going out on a limb (whatever that means) by saying they will challenge the Rockies this year for the top spot on this list. You probably weren’t targeting Astros pitchers in the first place, but it could be worth a shot to stream hitters against Houston since they have a problem.
Kansas City Royals: .762 OPS, 1.41 WHIP, 3.36 BB/9
I just yawned. Read into that what you will. The Royals desperately tried to upgrade their rotation this offseason, so I would be surprised to see them in this top 10 list again next year.
Boston Red Sox: .759 OPS, 1.37 WHIP, 3.30 BB/9
Lester could bounce back, but who knows what you’ll get from Dempster and Lackey shouldn’t be starting – no offense (though that’s certainly what he creates), Lackey Family.
Chicago Cubs: .759 OPS, 1.39 WHIP, 3.65 BB/9
They had the highest walk rate last season, which isn’t surprising considering some of the pitchers (fans who won contests?) they put on the mound last year. They should’ve let Tony Campana “pitch” by running the ball from the mound to the plate. That would’ve equated to a 100 mph fastball, no? Anyway, the Cubs hoarded pitchers in the offseason (Hoarders 2014 sneak peak!), so they should be better this season. How could they be worse? Don’t answer that.
Milwaukee Brewers: .740 OPS, 1.36 WHIP, 3.25 BB/9
I didn’t expect to see them here, but we’re at the point where we’re not too much higher than league average so there’s that. They have some nice upside guys (Estrada, Fiers, Peralta), so their pitching could improve despite losing Grienke.
Arizona Diamondbacks: .732 OPS, 1.29 WHIP, 2.62 BB/9
They had one of the lowest walk rates, but still had a higher than average pitching OPS. Is this likely related to their park uncontrollably giving birth to extra base hits? Bingo, sir.