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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.

  1. BucLover says:
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    Hooray for the Pirates!

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @BucLover: There you go! They should stay out of this list for 2013 too…

  2. apoxonbothyourhouses says:
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    you just name dropped Neutral Milk Hotel. I like you.

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @apoxonbothyourhouses: Haha thanks! I was listening to the album while writing and couldn’t help but mention it. It’s one of my faves…

  3. AdamH says:
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    Can you give me a handful of mid round starters that get a boost in a 6×6 where the additional cat is k/bb?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @AdamH: Jeff Samardzija, Brandon McCarthy, Marco Estrada, Mike Fiers, Homer Bailey, Jon Niese, and Kyle Lohse are a few…

  4. Ryan says:
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    I have the first pick in my prospect draft for my 20 team h2h dynasty league. I am having a hard time deciding between profar and taveras. Who do I pick and why?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Ryan: I’d go with Profar because it is far more difficult to find a great SS than a great OF, especially in that deep of a league.

  5. The Atacolypse says:
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    I see some of those stadiums are bandboxes and I’ll stay away from AZ, BOS, CHC no problem. What if, in a deep league, Scott Diamond is over-performing in the homer-killing retrodome of Target Field? Invest a buck and play him at home only? Or find a Hodge-Padre with more upside?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @The Atacolypse: I’d have a hard time trusting Diamond this year, especially since he had surgery on his shoulder in the offseason. I’m guessing that Bud Selig lost his fantasy league by the Hodge-Padre strategy, which is why the walls are coming in at Petco or Safeco. I’d still be willing to trust Padres pitchers at home, but I’m also liking whatever Billy Beane throws out in the A’s rotation (at home) since they seemed to be successful last year.

  6. IrishPride says:
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    I’m in a 6×6 league with OPS & QS as the additional 6th categories. I’m having a real hard time getting an accurate cheat sheet together when factoring in OPS & QS. Any suggestions?

  7. 4 down territory says:
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    Mr. Jacks, thanks for the article. Very informative. I was wondering how you would draft in a H2H league with the following pitching set-up and how you would handle your staff during the week?… 30 min IP,

    QS, K, L, SV, ERA, WHIP

    1. Would the streaming tactic be in play in this set-up?

    2. Would you load up on RP/MR and get to your minimum each week and then forfeit QS, K and try to win L, SV, ERA, WHIP?

    • 4 down territory says:
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      @4 down territory: Sorry, rosters are: SP, SP, RP, RP, P, P, P with 7 bench total

      • Tom Jacks

        Tom Jacks says:
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        @4 down territory: Thanks! If there’s no inning maximum, I’d actually try a combination, where you try to fill your roster with as many of the 5 spots ( RP+P) with closers as you can (no need to draft top tier closers though) and also stream starters across one of your bench spots. The relievers should lock you in for saves/WHIP/ERA, while the starters will get you the QS/K to win. I wouldn’t worry about the L from the streamers as long as they get you QS.

        • Tom Jacks

          Tom Jacks says:
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          @Tom Jacks: I should also add that I’m not saying to stream just anybody, but use your judgement on matchups against bad teams or in pitcher parks, etc. The Stream-o-Nator should help: http://razzball.com/streamers

  8. Matt says:
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    I’m keeping Bruce, tulo, freeman, mad bum, j zimmerman, and Matt Moore. I have first pick in my keeper league and wondering who I should take.

    My best options are greinke, encarnacion, Matt Holliday, bj upton, kris medlen and chase headley.

    I’m thinking I have good enough pitching not to go after a starter. What are your thoughts on who I should take with my first pick considering my team needs?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Matt: If this is 5 x 5 and you plan to keep him for a few years, then I’d go with Upton.

  9. TheNewGuy says:
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    Got a late SOS call before my draft tonight (sunday night that is)!

    Just had all our contracts announced in our keeper league, loads of teams are in win now mode offering 1 year deals to get the cheapest prices possible, so enssentially 1 year rentals (eg 1 team has Chapman ($3), Kimbrel ($9), Sale ($3), Reed ($3), A-Jax ($4), Desmond ($4). Dirt cheap huh.

    Ok thats the most extreme example, but theres another 3 (out of 10) thats done the same thing too. So what im asking is how much more should I value players going into the draft, with all these bargains already kept? As all this money available in the draft will lead to inflated prices. Is x1.5 a good rough idea for auction values??

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @TheNewGuy: Sorry, I could’ve sworn I answered this earlier. I think 1.5 is a reasonable estimate, but it obviously will vary by player depending on personal preferences. I wouldn’t worry too much about overpaying, but you’ll want to make a mental note of a cap when a player gets nominated to make sure you don’t go overboard. Also, I love the strategy of nominating players who will go for a lot but you don’t want (which you may already do) to decrease the amount of available dollars when a player you actually want gets nominated. Lastly, be aware that values can occur at the end of drafts (because everybody already spent their money) or early on (because everybody realizes that they still have money to spend later in the draft), so values can be had at any point depending on the dynamic of the auction. Good luck!

  10. Mike says:
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    I’ve got first pick in my OPS league, I really want to get Swiggy Cabrera, any thoughts?

    • Tom Jacks

      Tom Jacks says:
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      @Mike: That’s who I’d take first as well. I love Votto’s OPS, but the position clinches it for Miggy. Good luck!

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