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


Fantasy Football News and Injuries - Running Updates

Below is a quick-hit list of running notes on relevant injuries and player news, including pre-game reports and live in-game updates. Stay tuned for updates all throughout the week and on Sunday morning game day:   Week 14 Le'Veon Bell (illness) is questionable to play this week. Marlon Mack is expected to be back on the... Read More

Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 14

Welcome to our Week 14 matchup analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. We'll be covering every single contest from the Sunday slate in one convenient location, helping you make the best decisions for your fantasy lineups. Be sure to check back regularly because this article will be updated as news comes in regarding injuries and other... Read More

Week 14 Fantasy Football Staff Rankings

Below you will find all of RotoBaller's fantasy football weekly rankings, tiers, player news and stats for the 2019 NFL season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Weekly PPR Rankings Weekly Half-PPR Rankings Weekly Standard Rankings Dynasty League Rankings     Fantasy... Read More

Fantasy Football IDP Rankings for Week 14 (Top 100)

The fantasy playoffs are here for most of us, so every position matters that much more. IDP spots often become an afterthought or a set-it-and-forget-it situation but it could be that linebacker who has a monster game or that key interception that makes the difference between winning or going home. Look to our streamer suggestions... Read More

Week 14-16 Playoff Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

The playoffs are here, and that means we're going to do things a little differently. I want to take a look at the playoffs as a whole (and in this case we are considering Weeks 14-16) and determine which DSTs you can ride all the way through and which ones you should stream this week.... Read More

Star Players Who Might Miss the Fantasy Playoffs

As we head into the playoff weeks of fantasy football, you'll hear many experts preach (correctly) the need to stash high-upside handcuffs or backups at quarterback or tight end. You'll inevitably hear about looking ahead three weeks for favorable playoff schedules and thinking less about what the player has done up until now or whether... Read More

Week 14 Busts? Players To Consider Avoiding

It's finally here... The fantasy playoffs for most leagues. Hopefully you have a chance to win a fantasy championship in the next few weeks. If you're lucky, you have a first-round bye and won't have to worry about anything this week except for picking out a Christmas tree and setting up all your holiday decorations.... Read More

Fantasy Football Booms, Busts - Zach Pascal, Jamaal Williams, Gardner Minshew

Whether this is the first week of your playoffs, the last week of your regular season, or the time to win a DFS league to pay for your holiday presents, this is the most crucial week of your fantasy football season. While my booms from last week (Robert Woods, Jack Doyle, Dede Westbrook, Kyle Allen)... Read More

Running Back Start/Sit Advice - Week 14

Pierre Camus and Chris Mangano break down the running back position to help with tough fantasy football lineup decisions for Week 14 of the 2019 NFL season. They decide who to start or sit among those in RB3 or flex consideration. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest... Read More

Wide Receiver Snap Counts and Target Trends - Week 13 Analysis

Wide receivers are essential components toward your ultimate goal of securing league championships. As many of you prepare for your Week 14 matchups, an expanding collection of tools are available that can provide you with an extensive level of knowledge. Those results provide the foundation for this weekly statistical breakdown of the wide receiver position, which... Read More

Week 14 Stream Team - Free Agent and Bye-Week Streamers

Now that the playoffs are beginning in most leagues and the final march for a championship has begun, streaming becomes a  necessary strategy. Knowing who to add and when to start them could be the ultimate difference-maker in a weekly matchup. Making the right streaming decisions could easily be the difference in winning a championship.... Read More

Wide Receiver Start/Sit Advice - Week 14

Pierre Camus and Chris Mangano break down the wide receiver position to help with tough fantasy football lineup decisions for Week 14 of the 2019 NFL season. They decide who to start or sit among those in WR3 or flex consideration. Like and subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest... Read More

The King's Week 14 Lineup Rankings and Analysis (Premium Content)

Welcome back, RotoBallers! Below you will find my Week 14 fantasy football lineup rankings for the first round of your playoffs. The ranks are available in PPR, Half PPR, and Standard formats. They will be updated as needed, so make sure to check back for the latest versions, especially on the weekends. Skill Position analysis versus... Read More

Fantasy Football Disaster Recovery: Playoff Panic

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

Thursday Night Football Matchups Analysis - Week 14

It's that time of year again! While many will be caught up in the thrills of the holiday season, those lucky few who have risen to the top of their fantasy leagues will be sweating over lineup decisions in pursuit of a championship (in most league formats). To our fantasy owners who have managed to... Read More