Hello one and all, it’s the off-season but like those douches at your local gym who are constantly drinking protein shakes and talking about their glutes would tell you, ‘there is no off-season’. If you’re unaware of what we’re trying to do with this post, I humbly ask you go take a look at the Top April Pitchers post from…well, I don’t know when this post is going live so I’ll just say ‘from earlier this off-season’. THERE IS NO OFF-SEASON! Ok, I get it Max! Go back to checking your ass out in the mirror with those spandex on and calm the eff down…now where was I. Oh yeah, this post! We’re doing a bit of a look back on the 2014 fantasy baseball season through the lense of #PitchingIsSoDeep and asking ‘but was it really’? And instead of giving generalities, we’re gonna look at this from an actual numbers perspective. Did it really pay to pay up for pitching? Or was it easier to cull your pitching stats from the waiver wire over the course of the year? We’re using Grey’s top 20 as a basis point for the argument. I’m using this simply because I couldn’t find a consensus top 20 and because Grey’s mustache is so beautiful…hey Grey? Yeah, you’re the editor, not the subject changer. Can we move along from how luscious your lip hair is? Thanks…so without further ado, let’s take a look back on the top May pitchers from 2014 Fantasy Baseball…
So what the heck am I looking at, you might ask yourself. Well, unfortunately, the names I gave those secondary columns just won’t cut through so I gotta give you some breakdown. The first column labelled simply ‘$’ is Rudy’s formula for evaluating streamers. I can’t share the secret formula, though I have been told if used in the kitchen it makes some great baked beans. The column to its immediate right is what I simply called ‘Minus Wins.’ It’s Rudy’s numbers minus the impact of wins on their value. Clearly it knocks a few bucks off the top for everyone, but it does go to show whether a guy pitched well or if it was the wins that pushed them through the gate. The third and final column is ‘Win Value Difference.’ This is simply to show the separation between their value when counting wins vs their inherent value without them. Some are drastic, some are not and some may be misleading. Also notice the spreadsheet itself has two different tabs to peruse: ‘May With Wins’ and ‘May W/out Wins.’ I don’t think this needs further explanation. If it does, please refer to Appendix I-IV. Hint: there is no appendix. PS, if this looks familiar from the April post…it is! It’s a breakdown of what you’re looking at, I don’t see a reason to recreate the wheel. Unless the original wheel were inefficient, of course. Maybe it needs spikes? YES! Back to the drawing board we go! JK, moving along…
Preseason Top 20 Pitchers For 2014 Fantasy Baseball in top 25 for May with wins: Madison Bumgarner, Julio Teheran, Yu Darvish, Felix Hernandez, Adam Wainwright, Zack Greinke, Stephen Strasburg – 7 total
Preseason Top 20 Pitchers For 2014 Fantasy Baseball in top 25 for May without wins: Madison Bumgarner, Julio Teheran, Yu Darvish, Stephen Strasburg, Felix Hernandez, Adam Wainwright, David Price – 7 total
Largest Positive Win Value Difference: Madison Bumgarner (17.8)
Largest Negative Win Value Difference: David Price (-8.3)
Not overly obvious free agent pitching pickups from the lists: Mark Buehrle, Jorge De La Rosa, Drew Pomeranz, Mike Leake, Jason Hammel, Bronson Arroyo, Dallas Keuchel, Chris Young, Ubaldo Jimenez, Ryan Vogelsong, Tyson Ross – 11 total
Corey Kluber – I almost put him under the ‘not overly obvious’ section but it’s clear you all read my sleeper post on him and drafted him in every RCL this year. Because I’m too lazy, I won’t go find the link but resident RCL expert VinWins dug up an interesting RCL piece on the Klub: ‘he was drafted in 83 of 84 RCLs and held in 54’. So basically, we here at Razzball rule cuz we know what’s up. Self back pats all around! Oh and Corey Kluber is awesome and I want to have his babies. Moving along…
Mark Buehrle – There were talks of Mark for Cy Young. I’m not joking. This has zero fantasy relevance, obviously, but felt it was a worthy note. Unless, of course, you use ESPN news as a starting point for how to evaluate your fantasy team. I’m sure Skip Bayless started this.
Dallas Keuchel – After a better March/April split, actually sneaks into the May rankings thanks to an ERA of 2.14 and great control: 3.61 GB/FB rate and a miniscule 1.36 BB/9. Sadly, his K/9 was only 6.60 which was his second best K/9 ratio by month on the year. I think you can safely file him under the Rick Porcello portion of your draft day wants in 2015. One of those ‘good in real life but not for fantasy’ types.
Chris Young – Had six starts in May, showing that volume is just as big a part of the evaluation process as the numbers can be. Overall, he was a better home pitcher than on the road. Three of his six starts were at home and another road start was against a Twins team that didn’t hit well at the time (tied for worst wOBA in MLB at .286). Lucky? Good? A mixture of both? Let’s just say situational and call it good.
Mike Leake – Not even in top 25 in the wins ranking to 13 in the ‘without wins’ category? Just thought I’d point this out considering even David Price didn’t get that huge of a bump. I’ll file this under ‘bukkake’: that’s extremely nutty!
Injuries – Clayton Kershaw and Jose Fernandez, you were missed. As I eluded to in the Top April Pitchers post, I’m not using injury as a starting point for the #PitchingIsSoDeep argument so I’m merely pointing out that these two probably would’ve been up here without them.
28% – The amount of the top 20 pitchers in the top 25 for the month of May. Add this up with April’s stats and we’re sitting at 27%. Don’t ask me how I got that number, the math is still too easy. In essence, nearly 75% of the pitching that gave a top 25 performance through the first two months of the season could’ve been drafted late or even picked up from the FA pool. The Justin Verlander drafters of the world weep with this news.
Some of the season long trends became more cemented this month – like Johnny Cueto being Cy Young worthy and Masahiro Tanaka being a draft day steal – while some of the typical monthly whims of the fickle fantasy world held. Bronson Arroyo? Really? In the end, for the month of May, there were eleven of the 50 overall that could’ve reasonably been streamed. When you parse out the duplication from both lists, the percentage shrinks. That’s kind of a big deal and even if you keep it at eleven out of 50, that’s 22%. Your median of the top 20 pitchers in the top 25 so far from month to month is 27%. Not to overly simplify, but the trend does suggest that your FA pool is just less than 5% more likely to produce a top 20 pitcher than your top 20 pitcher that you drafted. Don’t get mad, the process isn’t done. #PitchingIsSoDeep could be a mirage. Stay tuned for June’s numbers for your vengeance if you’re team #DraftPitchersHigh…or at least to find out how wrong you are. OH DID I SAY THAT OUT LOUD. I’m kidding, I’m rolling with the punches here and letting the numbers do the talking. I haven’t even looked under the hood of June, honestly. Mainly cuz May had bigger tits. Wait, what? Till we meet again…