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 Pitcher Risers/Fallers - Early 2019 Sleepers and Fades (Week 26)

Welcome back to Rotoballer’s series using Statcast to extrapolate, dig into, and commiserate over data to examine pitching performances. The weekly series utilizes the myriad tools and information provided by Statcast to pinpoint encouraging and worrying trends underneath the hood of headline numbers.

Well, we’ve reached the endgame. Week 26 marks the last of the MLB regular season and the conclusion of season-long fantasy leagues. We’ve delved into various advanced metrics this year to pick risers and fallers. We’ll regard some picks with pride (German Marquez) and ‘fess up to the brutal calls (Sonny Gray). Nonetheless we hope you readers (our most valuable asset) found some useful tidbits along your fantasy journey.

For our finale, we’ll use xwOBA and wOBA variance to identify (very) early sleepers and fades for next year. Over the course of a season, a pitcher’s actual results (wOBA) and expected outcomes (xwOBA) should reach parity. Of our 144 qualified pitchers, the median difference is just -.014 year-to-date. So barring a structural issue with a pitcher’s individual makeup, a sustained gap between the two measures could indicate a highly fluky season.

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!


Early 2019 Pops

All stats as of September 24 for pitchers with over 1500 pitches thrown in 2019. All ranking references via ESPN.

Ross Stripling, Los Angeles Dodgers (8-5, 2.84 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 10.02 K/9)

Prior to suffering an injury in early August, Ross Stripling was a rising fantasy darling, toting a 2.62 ERA through 28 appearances (20 starts). Relegated to relief duties since his return, Stripling has become fantasy obsolete and fallen off the radar.

Early draft preppers should note Stripling leads all pitchers with a favorable .027 difference between his wOBA (.300) and xwOBA (.273). Considering the stellar numbers this season, he might be better next year. At 28 years old, Stripling could be considered a late bloomer but he does enjoy a 3.45 career ERA (3.59 FIP) across three seasons. His strikeout numbers have improved each year, highlighted by a spectacular 6.70 K/BB in 2018.

Stripling currently clocks in as SP90 in early 2019 projections which seems absurd. He pounds the strike zone (69.7% F-Strike%), induces weak ground balls (45% GB%, 83.0 MPH GB exit velocity) and has harnessed a potent curve to raise his whiff profile across the board. Take advantage of this blatant mispricing next year.

Nick Pivetta, Philadelphia Phillies (7-13, 4.58 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 10.45 K/9)

After a rough major league debut in 2017, Nick Pivetta bounced back admirably to start the year, boasting a 3.26 ERA and 1.09 WHIP through two months. Things went sideways in June and July, but Pivetta is poised to finish the year on a promising note (3.93 September ERA).

Pivetta holds the fifth-widest margin of .019 between his wOBA (.318) and xwOBA (.299). He’s grown confidence in his curveball this year, using it 21% of pitches to parlay with a mid-90s heater and slider. The result of his newfound Uncle Charlie was a broad dip in opponent average, SLG and increased swings-and-misses. Continuing these positive trends could drop his ERA closer to the 3.71 FIP he’s registered this season.

Pivetta slots in as SP62, so while not as egregious as Stripling, he’s not a consideration in standard leagues. Pivetta is only 25 and improved in every relevant statistical measure in his sophomore campaign. Give me upside in late-round picks over predictable mediocrity (a la Jake Arrieta, Kyle Gibson) all day.

Other possible sleepersCC Sabathia (NYY, .015 wOBA/xwOBA differential), Zach Eflin (PHI, .012), German Marquez (COL, .009)


Early 2019 Drops

Julio Teheran, Atlanta Braves (9-8, 4.03 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 8.33 K/9)

Headlining our fantasy-relevant starters with an unfavorable wOBA/xwOBA variance is Julio Teheran. His -.039 differential is seventh-worse in our pitcher pool. Teheran has followed up a 2017 faceplant (4.49 ERA) with another disappointing performance in 2018.

While Teheran has shown a modest recovery in his strikeout figures, walks have been a growing bugaboo spiking from a 2.18 BB/9 in his 2013 rookie year to 4.35 this season. Declining velocity and a material uptick in Hard% to 37% are alarming trends. For a fly ball pitcher (41% FB%), a 93.7 MPH FB/LD exit velocity is an ominous premonition.

Teheran is positioned as SP51 in early rankings so he’s not popping off the draft board. But his ownership has remained stubbornly high across the past two pedestrian seasons. Teheran is only 27 but with six full years under his belt is a known commodity. He’s a durable innings-eater but possesses a skill set more useful in fantasy as a streamer than weekly starter.

David Price, Boston Red Sox (15-7, 3.53 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, 9.00 K/9)

David Price has continued his spectacular career in 2018, collecting double-digit victories for the ninth time out of ten. However, Price has been somewhat fortunate this year, logging a wOBA (.296) and xwOBA (.325) discrepancy of -.029.

The clashing actual and expected results may support a broader portrait of Price’s deteriorating skillset. His SwStr% (9.6%) and Swing% (47.4%) are at four-year lows. Inversely, contact rates have climbed to 79.8%. Price’s excellent second half (2.00 ERA, 0.90 WHIP) has wiped the memories for most fantasy managers of his nightmare numbers before the All-Star break (4.42 ERA, 1.25 WHIP).

Price is positioned as SP24 and 100 overall. He plays for a win-friendly squad and has demonstrated enough consistency to earn undisputed fantasy trust. But the discouraging trends, alarming split performances and declining velocity and pitch effectiveness could indicate Price is entering his twilight years. As the adage goes, better to get off the bandwagon early than late.

Other possible fades: Blake Snell (TB, -.037 wOBA/xwOBA differential), Jon Lester (-.035), Madison Bumgarner (-.033).

More Recent Articles


Wide Receiver Waiver Wire Pickups - Week 8

We're heading into Week 8 of the NFL season. By now, some of y'all are getting a good sense of where you're at fantasy-wise, if you're heading to the postseason or playing for fun or, in a dynasty league, building for the future. This look at wide receivers is for all of you. As we... Read More

Quarterback Waiver Wire Pickups and Streamers - Week 8

Tragedy struck a few top quarterbacks this week, as both Patrick Mahomes and Matt Ryan left games with injuries. We already know Mahomes will miss 3-6 weeks, while more will be revealed about Ryan's status later today. Either way, owners of these quarterbacks will need a backup plan in place, and this week the waiver... Read More

Waiver Wire Express - Week 8 Lightning Round

The better part of seven weeks is in the fantasy football books, making those early trends very real -- for better or worse. One must still consider the matchups played thus far and those to come, but usage and volume are becoming reliable. Week 8 sees the Ravens and Cowboys hit their bye week. To... Read More

Week 8 Waiver Wire Pickups & Adds

It's Chase Edmonds' world, we're just living in it. Wait, what? Hopefully you added him, as suggested in this column the past two weeks, because even if David Johnson is deemed healthy enough to actually play, it's likely Edmonds continues to see action. In QB news, by the halfway point of Thursday night, we already had... Read More

Week 7 Chat - Live Fantasy Football Game Day Q&A

It's Sunday Morning Week 7... Do You Know Who to Start? Each Sunday morning of the NFL season, RotoBaller's experts will be moderating the industry's leading live chat room and answering a bunch of your fantasy football questions, from around 10:30 AM to 1:00 PM ET. Come join in on the fun, and get your... Read More

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 7 Matt Ryan is out for the game with an ankle injury. Marquise Brown is officially out again this... Read More

Updated Week 7 PPR Rankings (Top 300)

Welcome to Week 7 RotoBallers. Below are our updated consensus Week 7 PPR rankings for fantasy football, including some running notes on relevant injuries, player news and rankings updates: Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Geronimo Allison are both active. Todd Gurley is officially active, Malcolm Brown is out. Christian Kirk is not expected to play this week. David... Read More

Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 7

Welcome to our Week 7 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 7 Start/Sit: Monday Night Football Matchups Analysis

Even if this doesn’t turn out to be great MNF game, at least it's a divisional game with some importance. This is what Jets fans need to tell themselves heading into their second Monday Night Football game of the season. With the New England Patriots coming to town off their annual semi-bye in which they... Read More

Week 7 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

Wide Receiver Matchups To Target in Week 7

In Week 6, Julio Jones didn't score, but he came through with a decent fantasy day, going over 100-yards receiving. Brandin Cooks brutal Week 6 showing was a little bit of a surprise given his 2018 track record against the 49ers, but the Rams offensive line was overwhelmed which led to a rough day for... Read More

The King's Key Starters and Tough Calls - Lineup Spotlights for Week 7

Welcome to Week 7, RotoBallers! Below you will find some of my spotlight plays and tough lineup decisions for the upcoming week of the fantasy football season. These player selections are based off my Premium Weekly Lineup Rankings, available as part of the RotoBaller's NFL Premium Pass. Enter promo code KING at checkout for a... Read More

Week 7 Stream Team - Free Agent and Bye-Week Streamers

Now that bye weeks are in full swing; streaming becomes a more viable and almost 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 throughout the season could easily be the difference in winning a championship. Each week, I... Read More

Week 7 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Below are RotoBaller's Week 7 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream, start and target off the waiver wire for Week 7 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 7 Kicker Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Week 6 is done, and we've seen some outstanding games thus far. We've also seen a lot of surprising teams through six weeks. The San Francisco 49ers, after picking in the top 10 for four straight years, are 5-0 with one of the most complete teams in football. As far as kickers go, we're seeing... Read More