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

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:


Already have an account? Log in here.


Forgot Password


Statcast Fastball Usage Studs and Duds for Week 19

Welcome back to RotoBaller’s pitchers advanced stats and StatCast studs and duds article series! Each week we will select an advanced stat, choose two studs and two duds, and analyze what those stats could mean for future fantasy output. This week I will be using Statcast's pitch arsenal tab to look at starters' four-seam fastball usage.

The fastball is most pitcher's go-to pitch, yet it is more common to see relievers rely heavily on the pitch than starters. An overpowering fastball can be key to strong strikeout rates, a metric that is quite important to fantasy players, so it is worth identifying those starters who can succeed with high fastball usage.

I will pick two high-volume fastball pitcher who have done relatively well this season and two who have not or are slumping recently. I will not just be focusing on big-name guys, but also potential waiver-wire streamers given how far we are into the season. That being said, let's dive in!

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!


Four-Seam Fastball Studs

All stats current as of 8/6/19, courtesy of 


Vince Velasquez - Philadelphia Phillies

64.2% fastball usage

Our first pitcher has been a fantasy disappointment for several seasons now, thought to be a potential stud because of his fastball but failing to become one because of his lack of command. Vince Velasquez has been more consistent this season, compiling a 4.23 ERA over 14 starts. He has been even better lately, posting a 3.29 ERA and 25% K rate over his last five starts. Velasquez has one of the highest four-seamer usages among starters who have thrown at least 500 pitches this season, and at just 18% ownership in Yahoo leagues, could he be a worthwhile streamer?   

Velasquez relies so much on his fastball because it is a pretty good one. Both its velocity (94.4 MPH) and spin rate (2,382 revolutions per minute) are in the top 30% of baseball, leading to a 12.4% swinging-strike rate with the pitch. Further, he has allowed a .219 batting average against with the pitch and a .232 expected batting average.

Velasquez's command hasn't been all that much better on the season (1.35 WHIP) but he has been able to find it lately. His WHIP has fallen in his last five starts (1.21), which is key to finding success with the fastball. His 4.28 SIERA in those starts suggests that he has over-performed, but he has been consistent over that time period regardless.

I think that Velasquez is a nice streaming option down the stretch. His good fastball makes him a strikeout threat and he won't hurt you in ERA as long as his command is decent. Pair his fastball with a competitive offense supporting him and you have a sneaky bench pitcher who you can use to take advantage of favorable matchups.



Chris Paddack - San Diego Padres

60.1% fastball usage

Our second pitcher caused a lot of hype in dynasty leagues as a top target and he has delivered. 23-year-old rookie Chris Paddack has a stellar 3.19 ERA and 0.93 WHIP with a 26.4% K rate in 104 1/3 innings pitched this season. He has found success with a three-pitch arsenal, over half of it coming from his fastball. Let's take a look at how Paddack has found his success.

Paddack's fastball is a nice pitch (9.6% swinging-strike rate, .189 batting average against) but it isn't all that overpowering. It only comes in at 93.9 MPH with a 2,231 revolution-per-minute spin rate. The reason it is as successful as it is his devastating changeup that he pairs with it. Paddack throws his changeup 29.3% of the time and has generated a 17.4% swinging-strike rate. By implementing a classic change-of-speeds approach, Paddack has been immensely successful. 

Paddack's peripherals and underlying stats have all been great this season. He is a legitimate higher-end fantasy option, thanks to his great command and ability to keep hitters off-balance. His use of the fastball works because of his changeup and he is a great fantasy asset down the stretch; just watch out for a potential innings cap.


Four-Seam Fastball Duds

All stats current as of 8/6/19, courtesy of 


James Paxton - New York Yankees

63.1% fastball usage

Our third pitcher has been a disappointment all season long. James Paxton has a mediocre 4.61 ERA and 1.46 WHIP over 95 2/3 IP this season. His 29.5% strikeout rate has been impressive, thanks in part to his high fastball usage, but his command has not been. Fantasy owners did not bargain for this output, so is there any hope he can improve over the last two months of the season?

The big thing for Paxton has been his lack of command. He has a potentially-overpowering fastball at 95.4 MPH with an 11.6% swinging-strike rate, but as the old saying goes, the harder a pitch comes in, the harder it goes out. Paxton has allowed a .305 batting average against with the pitch and has a poor batted-ball profile overall (89.4-MPH average exit velocity, 39.8% hard-hit rate, 17.9-degree launch angle). This batted-ball profile does not bode well in Yankee Stadium and it has shown. The one bit of hope is Paxton's 3.94 SIERA, but, given how bad his batted-ball profile is, I am not optimistic that his ERA would regress all that much.

Fantasy owners don't really have much of a choice with Paxton at this point. They drafted him as a top pitcher and he simply hasn't delivered. His strikeout numbers have been good, but his fastball hasn't been enough to succeed. I would consider picking matchups wisely down the stretch.



Jake Odorizzi - Minnesota Twins

57% fastball usage

Our final pitcher has had a solid season to this point, posting a 3.61 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, and 25.4% K rate. Jake Odorizzi has been putting it all together this season, all the while relying heavily on his four-seamer (57% usage), and even more so on fastballs in general (92.1% usage of four-seamer, cutter, and split-finger). However, Odorizzi has a bloated 5.19 ERA in his last five starts. How has Odorizzi managed to be so successful despite relying so much on his fastball and can he sustain it?

Odorizzi's four-seamer isn't overpowering (92.9 MPH, 2,237 revolutions per minute), but he has managed to post a 12.8% swinging-strike rate with the pitch on the season. It may appear that he is in danger of having that catch up to him based on his last five starts. However, Odorizzi has actually pitched quite well in four of those five starts; his numbers are thrown off by one bad start against the Yankees in which he allowed nine earned runs.

As the fantasy season gets closer to the playoffs, owners tend to fixate on a pitcher's last start or two as they seem to hold more weight. However, it is important to believe in the big picture. Odorizzi has pitched well with his fastball-heavy approach thanks to his improved command. If he has helped fantasy owners this far, now is not the time to abandon hope just because of one poor start. Despite what you may think, Odorizzi is not actually a fastball dud; use him with confidence going forward.   


More Sabermetrics & Statcast for Fantasy Baseball

More Recent Articles


Keep Stashing Running Backs the Right Way

Hells to the yeah, my fellow #AllBenchRB truthers. For those of you who don’t know what #AllBenchRB is, let me give you a short recap before I get to the goods. #AllBenchRB is a strategy I’ve coined where you fill your bench with, as the name implies, only RBs. Or at least as many running... Read More

Warning Signs: Saquon Barkley, David Johnson, Aaron Rodgers

Another week, another bout of crazy results. While survivor pools came to a screeching halt with the Saints and Colts losing, there were also some worrying situations that crept up for fantasy teams. This week brings many questions. What should we do with the Atlanta run game? The answer there is nothing. How do we... Read More

NFL Survivor Pool Picks (Week 11) - Targets and Avoids

Doomsday finally arrived. The Falcons' domination of the Saints eliminated the majority of remaining entrants in survivor pools. If you avoided the Saints, odds are you took the Colts in the late game. Of course, the Dolphins beat them as well. More upsets were found as the Titans beat the Chiefs, the Steelers manhandled the... Read More

Quarterback Leaderboards At Midseason - NFL Next Gen Stats

We've consumed our first "double-digit week" set of games. That means we've entered the final part of the season and, in fact, the fantasy football playoffs are closer than you may realize. There are just three more weeks to go until we hit Week 14 and celebrate our presence in the run for the chip,... Read More

Fantasy Football Disaster Recovery: Cooper Kupp

Welcome to Disaster Recovery, where each week I'll examine why your studs played like duds. This isn't a place to find out why you should have sat a player for somebody else on your bench. Disaster Recovery is here to examine the guys who you didn't think twice about starting and to help you decide if you should... Read More

The Tape Tells All - Christian Kirk Fantasy Analysis

Welcome to another edition of "The Tape Tells All," where I break down some film of an NFL's player performance and try to draw some fantasy football conclusions from that film. This week, I'm looking at Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Christian Kirk, who broke out in Week 10, catching three touchdowns. Kirk seems to have... Read More

Fantasy Football Risers and Fallers - Darius Slayton, Christian Kirk, Kareem Hunt

Whether due to their own play, the play of others, or injuries, players' stock increases and decreases on a weekly basis. Perhaps more than any other, the NFL is a league that experiences ups and downs at a rapid pace. With only 16 games, there’s little room for error and seemingly endless opportunities for improvement.... Read More

FAAB Bidding - Week 11 Waiver Wire Targets

Assisting our famous waiver wire pickups list, and our weekly waiver wire columns by position, this column focuses on suggested waiver wire bidding percentages for fantasy football owners in leagues using a Free Agent Acquisition Budget (FAAB). As a caveat, these prices do not by any means indicate how much these free agent players will... Read More

Week 11 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

It's crunch time, with precious few games left before the fantasy regular season ends. There aren't many new names emerging on the waiver wire at this juncture but the RB situations in Atlanta and Detroit bear watching, while the Jets passing game has shown signs of life. No, really. Each week, we will advise you... Read More

Deeper League Free Agent Pickups for Week 11

Rotoballers, if you're not active on the waiver wire this time of year, there are only two reasonable explanations: 1) You're sitting at 3-7 (or worse) and don't find it enjoyable to play spoiler to your league mates, or 2) You're 8-2 (or better) and have nothing but matchup-proof studs on your starting lineup and... Read More

Week 11 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Below are RotoBaller's Week 11 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream, start and target off the waiver wire for Week 11 of the NFL and fantasy football season. In case you missed it, this is our seventh year now writing this weekly column. Our weekly tiered defense rankings are a guide to making waiver... Read More

Week 11 Kicker Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

It's Week 11, and we're getting closer and closer to the fantasy football playoffs. The consistent options are getting more and more clear, especially at the kicking position. We're also going to start dealing with everyone's favorite factor, which is inclement weather, especially up north. The margin for error in these weeks is slim, and... Read More

Week 10 Surprises? We Must Overreact Immediately!

In Week 10, Christian Kirk, Darius Slayton, Tyreek Hill, and Michael Thomas all had beatable cornerback matchups and finished as the top-four wide receivers in PPR scoring. At running back, Derrick Henry exploited a poor Chiefs run defense and rumbled for 188 yards and two touchdowns, finishing as the No. 1 running back on the week. Ronald... Read More

The Cut List - Players on the Chopping Block (Week 11)

This is your weekly list of players to drop. I will do my best to limit this list to injured players and players you might consider holding. If you roster pure handcuffs or backups, obviously you can let them go at any time. The players on this list will, ideally, be guys that aren't clearly... Read More

Running Back Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 11

The regular season continues to advance at a relentless pace as we have now entered the planning process for Week 11. Some of you are in the favorable position of only needing slight modifications to rosters that are destined to enter the fantasy playoffs. But many of you are still searching for the most effective... Read More