My God, is it 2015 already?  My how the time flies.  It seems like only 365+ days ago it was January 1st, 2014!  I hope you all had a Merry Festivus, a Happy New Year and maybe a great…President’s Day?  IDK, I don’t know when you’ll get this blast from the 2014 fantasy baseball season past.  It ain’t my place to say when this shall see the light of day.  I just know I started a job and Imma finish it.  We’ve been looking back at the fantasy baseball season through the eyes of pitcher rankings by month.  We’ve now looked back at April, May, June, July, August (it’ll be out tomorrow because we like to keep you on your toes around here) and now, those who failed the sequence aptitude tests, guess what?  We’re looking at September.  It’s been an interesting series IMHO.  IYHO, it was probably the worst but since IYHO isn’t real textual slanguage, I win so you will listen to every damn word I have to say.  We’ve been exploring if #PitchingIsSoDeep really has merit which so far, there is some merit to it.  That said, there’s a reason Kershaw finished numero uno on the player raterBut who’s that at #5?  OH!  *Fans self*.  In reality, I wanted to see what the numbers had to say so I’ll let them speak for themselves.  Here’s the final go at 2014 Fantasy baseball as we look back at the top pitchers from September…

Overview:

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: ‘September With Wins’ and ‘September 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 previous posts in this series…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…

First Impressions:

Preseason Top 20 Pitchers For 2014 Fantasy Baseball in top 25 for September with wins: Clayton Kershaw, Adam Wainwright, Stephen Strasburg, Gio Gonzalez, Francisco Liriano, Felix Hernandez – 6 total

Preseason Top 20 Pitchers For 2014 Fantasy Baseball in top 25 for September without wins: Felix Hernandez, Clayton Kershaw, Stephen Strasburg, Adam Wainwright, Gio Gonzalez – 5 total

Largest Positive Win Value Difference: Clayton Kershaw (13.3)

Largest Negative Win Value Difference: Jeff Samardzija (-7.6)

Pitchers outside top 25 without win category: Jake Peavy, T.J. House, Doug Fister, Bud Norris, Francisco Liriano

Pitchers inside the top 25 without the win category: Derek Holland, Dan Haren, David Price, Josh Collmenter, Cole Hamels, Jeff Samardzija

Not overly obvious free agent pitching pickups from the lists: Bud Norris, Francisco Liriano, R.A. Dickey, Shelby Miller, T.J. House, Josh Collmenter, Dan Haren – 7 total

Second Impressions:

Jeff Samardzija – Lady Luck hates you.  Please come with me to Vegas so we can play poker against each other.  Heck, I don’t even know half the rules but I fully expect to win.  I’ve talked about this a few times simply because it’s an odd stat to see.  A guy who pitches as a top 20 caliber arm but consistently can’t get a win even when moving to a good team or improved environment.  I fully expect to see him go 8-10 for no good reason for the White Sox this year.

Francisco Liriano – He’s gonna troll us all in 2015 by finally pitching 190+ and keeping his walk rate steady all year.  He’s totally a ripening pear.  And for this I’ll forever hate him…and yet probably draft him because of his K-rate anyway.  I’m such a strikeout whore!

Carlos CarrascoFinally had a month in which the training wheels came off and he excelled with his first 40+ IP month as a starter in his career.  Don’t look, I didn’t.  I don’t have to.  His career has been as up and down as Asia Carrera on a movie set, mostly going down.  Oh and Grey pointed out how undervalued he might be heading into this year’s draft with a Carlos Carrasco Sleeper post.  You should read it cuz it’s like, 2015 content and you’re obviously into fantasy baseball if you’re here reading about 2014 pitching lines.

I had to filter so many closers out – September is a weird month.  With so many guys getting skipped in the rotation or shut down altogether, it’s no wonder I had to filter out eight relief arms.  One or two?  Sure but eight would’ve been nearly 33% of my rankings.  Goes to show September is a fragile month for your staff.

22% – The amount of top 20 arms in the top 25 for this month.  As we talked about in August, top 20 don’t mean much right now but it’s still a fun factor to consider.  Unless you owned Homer Bailey; then the fun never stops…because the fun never really began.

Conclusion

Unlike previous conclusions, we’re gonna look through and see what arms finished the year in the top 20 based on Rudy’s Player Rater to give a final verdict on whether pitching really was deep or if the concept is a little foolhardy.  Well, based on these results, a majority of your top 20 pitchers for 2014 were either from the Top 20 or from the Top 40.  In fact, only one arm finished inside the top 10 that wasn’t part of the original top 20 from the pre-season and that was Corey Kluber.  But, your top 20 overall was comprised of guys like Garrett Richards, Jake Arrieta, Tanner Roark, and Tyson Ross.  And those guys don’t even take into account the pitchers you drafted as depth such as Lance Lynn or Phil Hughes who ended up becoming stars.  So of your top 20, around 35% could’ve been had late in drafts or from free agency.  And since we’re talking top 40, might as well look at some FA names from that view as well since not all FAs pitch a full year, meaning they don’t reach innings pitched levels to reach the top 20 but the stats were just as good: SP25 Collin McHugh, SP27 Matt Shoemaker, SP33 Dallas Kuechel, SP34 Carlos Carrasco, SP36 Wily Peralta, SP38 Wei-Yin Chen.  In the end, it really comes down to approach.  On the one hand, you can’t say drafting Clayton Kershaw or Felix Hernandez was a bad investment if you drafted them early but on the other hand, you can’t say that hanging back and aiming for late round targets like Corey Kluber or being hyper vigilant on waivers and nabbing a player like Jake Arrieta is a bad approach either.  A player could conceivably have drafted/picked up a top 10-capable rotation in 2014 if they were paying attention and had the right approach.  But in kind, the Kershaw/Felix approach could’ve made you more attentive to your hitting needs, allowing you to land a guy like J.D. Martinez or Devin Mesoraco.  That said, in terms of philosophy, it’s much easier to dump an arm than it is a bat in my experience and it’s also a position that lends itself to more churn given you can have anywhere from 7 to 9 spots you can fill with any type of pitcher.  The player who drafts pitching high and has perhaps Buster Posey is going to be disinclined to pick up Mesoraco.  You’re not sitting Posey and how often to you slide a catcher into your utility spot?  Obviously this is just conjecture at this point since we didn’t do a similar experiment with hitters from 2014.  Perhaps we can aim for a similar approach in 2015.  New Years resolutions, gotta love’um!  Until next time, I think I’m gonna say I’m still on team #PitchingIsSoDeep.  Good luck with your 2015 drafts with whichever direction you lean.

  1. J_FOH says:
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    Your chart hates nationals

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      It’s not just my chart!

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      And fixed

      • J_FOH says:
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        @Sky: for all that was wrong in the world when I woke up today I was depending on your post to keep me from going over the edge. Thanks for keeping me off the ledge *goes back in window*

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          A list with TJ House as a top pitcher didn’t already do that to you?

          • J_FOH says:
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            @Sky: I’m still recovering from the Twittidity from last night.

            Random twitter guy?

            “I thought that was a good call, it makes perfect sense on second down. Who would run the ball when they most likely would of got stuffed”

            ME: “Are you a Pats fan”

            ” Yes I am but I don’t see what that has to do with it”

            ME: “You’re an idiot and please don’t breed”

            • Sky

              Sky says:
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              There was plenty of time to run the ball and still take cracks at the RZ w/a throw if they wanted. At the very least, why go empty backfield? They literally just said ‘we’re not running the ball’. You want as many options/opportunities to deceive your opponent as you can that close to the GL. It’s not so much the throw on the play, it’s that we didn’t even hide it was a throw. Very dumb overall.

              • J_FOH says:
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                @Sky: yeah i know, but I just can’t deal with the ass hat wearers

                • Sky

                  Sky says:
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                  THe internet has proven stupidity isn’t an isolated incident for some time now but I hear ya.

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Sky: but of course, its just so bad when you see what website he was associated with

                    • Sky

                      Sky says:
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                      Yeah, some people are very confusing about this situation. I mean, I hear guys saying ‘there’s only an 80% chance’…you can be considered successful at life if 80% is your success rate at anything, basically. Saying it’s results-based rage misses the point: I was yelling at the TV when they lined up with an empty backfield wondering why we were throwing. It never made sense; I’d rather see 3 GL stuffs or at the very least a 4th and desparation rollout than that crap on 2nd ever again.

                  • J-FOH says:
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                    @Sky: thanks for not asking me what webiste, I would hate to post that here but you can look at my twitter timeline if you’re curious.

                    BTW, This season more than any other, I have lost a lot of respect for some “experts” out there. They have their football logics down pretty well and can argue anything with answers that look good but are unreasonably idiotic. Its quite sad. When it comes to their teams they can justify their biases with word play that makes them look like they know what they are talking about. I took an honest root for no one this year stance and it feels good, in regard to my advice. I never felt like I was being lured by “my team” when doling out my picks. Either way, its just a little shameful, But I guess thats what the net is for, a place for nerds never to have to face someone and not try to bullshit a bullshitter.

  2. Ante GALIC says:
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    Sky!

    Nice work. Had my first live draft this AM. Was unable to snag Carrasco or Wood, too busy drafting bats early. First pitcher I drafted was Jansen at 54 in the 6th. My #1 is Cobb (67). Drafted HRondon much later so hoping for big things fr him.

    Cheers,
    Ante

    • Sky

      Sky says:
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      Cool man and thanks! Hopefully Cobb takes that next step. He’s got the ability, just needs to all come together.

  3. Sam Jacobson says:
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    Do you guys think Melo is gonna be shut down?

    Should I give my Derozan for Melo?

      • Grey

        Grey says:
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        JB’s got you!

        • Sky

          Sky says:
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          I’m gonna read that sentence backwards and smile!

          • Grey

            Grey says:
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            HA!

  4. dingus says:
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    With SO many teams taking a patient approach to pitching i think you have to consider early studs. Also, not every league allows streaming and that seems to be THE primary foundation for a wait-on-pitchers strategy.

    I’m at the end of 11-team snake and IF two aces are available at picks 33/34 I’d consider taking both.
    1. Isn’t Strasburg or Scherzer pretty likely to out-earn a lot of third round bats?
    2. Isn’t it likely you could swap one of those for a slow-starting Donaldson/Upton/Cano easy enough? (converse, how likely is it you can easily swap a 3rd round bat for a #1 starter??)
    3. By stubbornly ignoring top starters you are GIFTING value to other teams.
    4. It IS possible to draft for wins. Not with individuals but with the staff overall. Good defense, good offense, good bullpen = better odds of wins. Just like you don’t draft ‘for’ average per se, but still don’t expect a roster of .250 hitters to ‘accidentally’ reach .280. Individual players can be +/- in average each year, but a TEAM projected to hit .300 will hardly ever lose out to a TEAM projected to hit .250.

    If streaming isn’t an option, and in light of 2014 review, how much would/should that change one’s approach to getting a top-10 starter?

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