Lost password?

Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!


Receive free daily analysis


Already have an account? Log In


Forgot Password


Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Daily Stats & Leaders
All Pitcher Matchups
Compare Any Players
Pickups & Streamers
Rookies & Call-Ups
24x7 News and Alerts

K-BB% Fallers for Fantasy Baseball - Starting Pitchers to Watch in 2022

We opened up this two-part series in this post, where we went over the K-BB gainers in 2021. Now, it's time to look at the other side of the coin and some of the most notable fallers.

In the first part, I reviewed why I believe this statistic to be the most important metric to look at when evaluating pitchers. I think it is worthwhile to cover that again, so below I did a copy-paste of what I wrote in that post.

The next section of this article will detail what this metric is, why it is so important to focus on, and what numbers are good and bad in this category.

Featured Promo: Want a free RotoBaller Premium Pass? Check out these sports betting promo offers from the top sportsbooks! All new sign-ups get a free bonus offer on their first deposit, and a free year of RotoBaller's Premium Pass for all sports ($450 value)! Sign Up Now!


What It Is

For our purposes, I am using K-BB%. I'll quickly explain what that is for those of you unaware.

K% - Strikeout Rate. The percent of hitters faced that a pitcher strikes out. If a pitcher faces 100 batters and strikes out 30 of them, that's a 30% K%.
BB% - Walk Rate. The percent of hitters faced that a pitcher walks. If a pitcher faces 100 batters and walks eight of them, that would be an 8% BB%.
K-BB% - This is the difference between K% and BB%. The bigger the number, the better.

So what's a good K-BB%? I could answer that simply, but first I'll show you the whole distribution of K-BB% that pitchers throwing 100+ innings in a given season since 2015 have posted.

The average K-BB% for pitchers reaching 100 innings in a year since 2015 is 14.2%. That basically means the average K% was 23% and the average BB% was 9%, a difference of 14 points. A K-BB% between 17% and 20% could be considered good, between 20% and 25% would be considered great, and above 25% is elite. Anything below 10% is bad, with it getting worse and worse as the number moves towards zero (only one pitcher has actually thrown 100 innings with a negative K-BB%, Tyler Chatwood in 2018).

Only 29 pitchers have gone above 25% over a full season since 2015. The names that have accomplished this: Chris Sale (five times), Max Scherzer (six times), Clayton Kershaw (four times), Gerrit Cole (three times), Justin Verlander (twice), Jacob deGrom (twice), Carlos Rodon, Shane Bieber, James Paxton, Jose Fernandez, Mike Clevinger, Robbie Ray, Corey Kluber, and Corbin Burnes.


Why It's Important

I can answer this question with one simple, and yet beautiful, scatter plot. Here is the relationship between K-BB% and ERA:

What you can see here is a very strong relationship between these two metrics. As your K-BB% goes up, your ERA trends downwards, and vice versa. There are very few examples of a pitcher posting an ERA below four while being under 10% in K-BB%.

When you look at the relationship with other statistics such as exit velocity, fly-ball rate, velocity, spin rate, and those kinds of newer statistics and ERA, you just don't see a very strong relationship. K-BB% is a great predictor of ERA, and there aren't many stats you can say that about.


Biggest 2021 Decliners

I went ahead and looked at every pitcher that threw at least 100 innings in 2021 AND at least 50 innings between 2019 and 2020, and compared their K-BB% figures between those two (meaning I just combined 2019 and 2020 together since 2020 was such a short year). Here is the full list of pitchers that saw their K-BB% decline by at least two points in 2021.

Much like last time, it's important for us not to just focus on the "Diff" column here. A pitcher could have posted a strong K-BB% in 2021 but still appear here just because they were even better in 2019-2020. Gerrit Cole is an example here, as you can see his elite 27.8% K-BB% in 2021 still put him on this list because of the super-elite 32.1% mark he posted before that. Let's get into the most interesting names here.

Zack Greinke, Houston Astros - Age may have finally caught up to Greinke, whose numbers all went the wrong way in his age-37 season with the Astros. His 17.2% strikeout rate was one of the worst marks for starters (in fact it was the 13th worst mark for pitchers that made at least 20 starts). His walk rate also got worse, coming up to (a still very good) 5.2% from 3.6% between 2019 and 2020. There are very few paths to success with such a low strikeout rate, so I think it's safe to move Greinke far down your lists for 2022.

Patrick Corbin, Washington Nationals - Corbin's career has torpedoed in a hurry, but a lot of fantasy managers were willing to take the huge discount on him in 2021 hoping for a rebound. That didn't happen, as Corbin posted a minuscule 19% strikeout rate in 2021 while posting an average walk rate of 8%. He pitched a full year and did not pitch well, making him a guy that probably just should not be drafted next season.

Mitch Keller, Pittsburgh Pirates - Keller was a popular breakout pick in 2020 because of the strong 28.6% K% and 7.0% BB% he posted in a short 2019 campaign with the Pirates. Things did not go well for him in 2020, and then they got way worse in 2021. He struck out just 19.6% of the batters he faced in 2021 while walking 10.4% of them, for a pathetic 9.1% K-BB%. These are really discouraging numbers for a guy who was so dominant in the minors, and there are seemingly fewer and fewer reasons for optimism on Keller every year.

Kyle Hendricks, Chicago Cubs - Everybody's favorite soft-tosser, Hendricks has never been a guy to sparkle in the K-BB category, but things got pretty bad for him in 2021. He had just a 16.7% strikeout rate and his walk rate came up a bit, albeit to a still great 5.6%. His end-of-year numbers still weren't that bad, as he used his pinpoint control to once again keep his team in most games he pitched, but for fantasy purposes, Hendricks is not looking very interesting in 2022.

Luis Castillo, Cincinnati Reds - Lots will be said about Castillo this year, who was drafted as a top-12 starter in 2021 and went on to absolutely bomb fantasy teams for the first couple of months before getting to the finish line in pretty darn good shape. His end-of-year strikeout rate was just 24%, about five points lower than expected. A slight silver lining was that he posted a 26% strikeout rate after July 1st with a walk rate under 9%. He has never been a guy to post elite walk rates, but the strikeouts and ground-balls kept him still elite. If he posts another 25% strikeout rate in 2022, he won't be a fantasy ace, but nobody is doubting his upside. All of this said, I don't think many people will draft Castillo as their SP1 next year, and rightly so.

Blake Snell, San Diego Padres - Another weird year for Snell, as he was terrible for the first four months (a 5.44 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP), but then was dominant down the stretch (a 1.83 ERA and a 0.77 WHIP in his last eight starts). In those last eight starts, he posted a 39.4% strikeout rate and an 8.5% walk rate, which really salvaged his numbers for the year. For the year, he posted a 12.4% walk rate, which is just not going to get the job done. The question for 2022 will be what do you expect? There is certainly ace-level upside with Snell, but he's just been so frustratingly inconsistent that it's tough to click that button in drafts.

Zach Plesac, Cleveland Indians - Another popular breakout pick for 2021, Plesac fell flat. His strikeout rate came down to 16.7%, which was not to be saved by his great 5.7% walk rate. It doesn't seem like Plesac has the strikeout ability to stick as a good fantasy option, but at the ripe age of 26 and with the command he has shown, it is certainly much too early to write Plesac off for fantasy purposes moving forward.

Other names to be worried about: Hyun-Jin Ryu, Chris Paddack, Kenta Maeda, Cal Quantrill

More Fantasy Baseball Advice


Articles & Tools
Import Your Leagues
Daily Stats & Leaders
All Pitcher Matchups
Compare Any Players
Pickups & Streamers
Rookies & Call-Ups
24x7 News and Alerts


James Robinson10 mins ago

To Get Involved In Team Drills
Bruno Silva11 mins ago

Drops Second Straight Fight
Max Fried19 mins ago

In Line For Late-Week Return
Darrell Henderson Jr.20 mins ago

Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson Jr. Dealing With Minor Injuries
Gerald Meerschaert20 mins ago

Successful In Main-Card Opener
Wander Franco24 mins ago

Could Be Back This Weekend
Bryce Harper47 mins ago

Could Begin Rehab Assignment Next Week
Luis Robert51 mins ago

To Miss His Third Straight Game Monday
Ketel Marte56 mins ago

Out With Hamstring Injury Monday
Ronald Acuña Jr.1 hour ago

Ronald Acuna Jr. Returns To The Lineup On Monday
Walker Buehler1 hour ago

To Have Season-Ending Elbow Surgery
DJ LeMahieu1 hour ago

Out With Toe Inflammation
Kyle Schwarber1 hour ago

Still Sidelined Monday
Kenyan Drake3 hours ago

Actively Involved In Second Preseason Game
Zamir White3 hours ago

Sees Seven Touches In Win Over Vikings
J.J. Arcega-Whiteside3 hours ago

Seahawks Acquire J.J. Arcega-Whiteside From Eagles
Miami Dolphins3 hours ago

Mackensie Alexander Signs With Dolphins
Texas Rangers4 hours ago

Rangers Fire Manager Chris Woodward
Bryce Harper4 hours ago

Taking Batting Practice Monday
George Springer4 hours ago

Activated From Injured List
San Francisco 49ers4 hours ago

49ers Release Darqueze Dennard
Baltimore Ravens4 hours ago

Marcus Peters Activated Off The PUP List
Mike Trout4 hours ago

Takes Batting Practice On Sunday
Cleveland Browns5 hours ago

Nick Harris Likely Done For The Year
Cleveland Browns5 hours ago

Browns Activate Denzel Ward Off PUP List
Denver Broncos5 hours ago

Randy Gregory Coming Off PUP List
Mike Strachan5 hours ago

Activated From PUP List
Denver Broncos5 hours ago

Broncos Sign Joe Schobert
Greg Joseph8 hours ago

Perfect In Preseason Opener
Albert Wilson9 hours ago

Catches Two Touchdowns
Kene Nwangwu9 hours ago

Totals 59 Yards In Loss
Ty Chandler9 hours ago

Leads Vikings With 50 Rushing Yards
Kellen Mond9 hours ago

Throws Two Touchdowns In Preseason Opener
Jonathan Taylor9 hours ago

To Miss Entire Preseason
Cleveland Browns9 hours ago

Greg Newsome II Won't Miss Significant Time
Garrett Griffin10 hours ago

Released By Lions
Brandon Lowe10 hours ago

Dealing With Shoulder Soreness
Kyrie Irving21 hours ago

Allegedly Had Interesting Contract Demands
Donovan Mitchell21 hours ago

Knicks Remain Frontrunners In Donovan Mitchell Sweepstakes
Jaylen Brown21 hours ago

Still Being Discussed In Durant Deal
Russell Westbrook22 hours ago

Training Camp A "Soft Deadline" For Russell Westbrook Move
C.J. Abrams23 hours ago

Nationals Are Calling Up Top Prospect C.J. Abrams
NBA1 day ago

Lakers/Mavericks, Grizzlies/Warriors Likely To Play Christmas Day
De'Anthony Melton1 day ago

Drops 26 Points In Drew League Playoffs
Dallas Mavericks1 day ago

Dallas Inks McKinley Wright IV, Mouhamadou Gueye To Deals
Kyle Busch2 days ago

Starts 29th At Richmond Sunday
Chase Elliott2 days ago

Not Happy In Qualifying On Saturday
Christopher Bell2 days ago

Starts 21st On Sunday At Richmond
Chris Buescher2 days ago

Long Shot To Finish Top Ten
Joey Logano2 days ago

Could Move Up At Richmond
Chase Briscoe2 days ago

Begins In Row Eight For Sunday
Ty Gibbs2 days ago

Enjoying Extended Run With 23XI Racing
Kevin Harvick2 days ago

Poised For A Possible Top Ten Result
Austin Dillon2 days ago

Begins Sunday 12th At Richmond
NASCAR2 days ago

Bubba Wallace Starts 11th At Richmond Sunday
Mike Trout2 days ago

Takes BP On Saturday
Giancarlo Stanton2 days ago

Could Begin Rehab Assignment Next Week
Luis Robert2 days ago

Won't Play Saturday
Denver Nuggets2 days ago

Justin Tillman Joins Nuggets For 2022-23 Season
Sacramento Kings2 days ago

Sacramento Adds Sam Merrill For 2022-23 Season
Houston Rockets2 days ago

Willie Cauley-Stein Inks One-Year Deal With Rockets
NBA2 days ago

Lakers-Warriors Matchup Set For Opening Night Oct. 18
DL Hall2 days ago

To Start Against Rays On Saturday
Luis Robert3 days ago

Sprains Wrist Friday
Fernando Tatis Jr.3 days ago

Suspended 80 Games For PED Use
Dominick Cruz4 days ago

Returns To Action At UFC Fight Night
Marlon Vera4 days ago

Set For Main Event Against A Former Champion
Nate Landwehr4 days ago

Looking To Break .500 UFC Record On Saturday
David Onama4 days ago

Looking For Third-Straight Finish
MMA4 days ago

Iasmin Lucindo Set For UFC Debut Against Fellow Newcomer
Simi Shittu4 days ago

Orlando Brings Simi Shittu Aboard
4 days ago

San Antonio Inks Jordan Hall To Two-Way Contract
NBA4 days ago

NBA Will Retire Bill Russell’s No. 6 Uniform Number
Maverick McNealy5 days ago

Set For Debut At TPC Southwind
Keith Mitchell5 days ago

Has Something To Play For At TPC Southwind
Corey Conners5 days ago

Has Great Value At TPC Southwind
Yazmin Jauregui5 days ago

Set For Big UFC Debut
Azamat Murzakanov5 days ago

Can Remain Undefeated
Devin Clark5 days ago

Hopes To Build Off Of His Last Win
Max Homa5 days ago

Looks To Cap Off A Strong Year
Cameron Young5 days ago

Looking Forward To The FedEx Cup
Webb Simpson5 days ago

Hopes To Find Form In Memphis
Bruno Silva5 days ago

Looking To Rebound On Saturday
Gerald Meerschaert5 days ago

Looking For A Big Performance Saturday
Trent Forrest5 days ago

Atlanta Inks Trent Forrest To Two-Way Contract
Jose Alvarado5 days ago

Faces Crowded Pelicans Backcourt
Norman Powell5 days ago

Returns To Action In Drew League
Washington Wizards5 days ago

Makur Maker Inks Exhibit 10 Deal To Join G League
Victor Oladipo5 days ago

Eyes Bounce-Back Performance In 2022-23
PGA5 days ago

Joohyung “Tom” Kim Peaking Heading Into Playoffs
Denny McCarthy5 days ago

A High-Risk, High-Reward Play This Week
Aaron Wise5 days ago

Struggling On Approach
Sam Burns5 days ago

Relying On Red Hot Putter
Cameron Smith5 days ago

Continues To LIV On The Edge
Jon Rahm5 days ago

Has Incredible Driving Streak Snapped
PGA5 days ago

Sungjae Im Enters Week With Back-To-Back Second-Place Finishes
Tyrrell Hatton5 days ago

Gaining Strokes Across The Board
Will Zalatoris5 days ago

Making Second Career Start At TPC Southwind
Adam Scott5 days ago

Not An Option At TPC Southwind
Jordan Spieth5 days ago

A Nice Option At TPC Southwind
Billy Horschel5 days ago

Continues His Residency At TPC Southwind
Davis Riley5 days ago

Back On Track Entering FedEx St. Jude
Scott Stallings5 days ago

Playing Very Well Heading Into FedEx St. Jude
Harold Varner5 days ago

III Inconsistent Entering FedEx St. Jude
Gorgui Dieng6 days ago

Spurs Officially Ink Gorgui Dieng To A Contract
Collin Sexton6 days ago

Cavs, Collin Sexton Not Close On New Contract Agreement
Thiago Santos7 days ago

Continues To Struggle
Jamahal Hill7 days ago

Scores Big With TKO Victory
Vicente Luque1 week ago

Stopped By TKO On Saturday
Geoff Neal1 week ago

Scores Big TKO Victory On Saturday
Zac Pauga1 week ago

Unsuccessful In Bid For TUF Heavyweight Crown
MMA1 week ago

Mohammed Usman Earns UFC Contract
Brogan Walker1 week ago

-Sanchez Unsuccessful In Bid For TUF Title
Juliana Miller1 week ago

Crowned TUF Women's Winner Saturday
Augusto Sakai1 week ago

Suffers Fourth Straight Loss Saturday
Erik Jones1 week ago

Will Start In 10th
Denny Hamlin1 week ago

Starts In Ninth
Kyle Larson1 week ago

Starts In Eighth Place
Martin Truex Jr1 week ago

. Starts In Seventh
Tyler Reddick1 week ago

Aims For Third Win
Austin Cindric1 week ago

Starts In Fifth Place
Joey Logano1 week ago

Starts In Fourth
Kyle Busch1 week ago

Starts In Third Place
Christopher Bell1 week ago

Starts On The Front Row
NASCAR1 week ago

Bubba Wallace Nabs The Pole
Brad Keselowski1 week ago

Could Move Up On Sunday