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

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

Statcast Pitcher Risers/Fallers - Pitching Under Pressure (Week 14)


By User chris.ptacek on Flickr (Originally posted to Flickr as "[1]") [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Welcome back to RotoBaller's series using Statcast to extrapolate, dig into, and commiserate over data to examine pitching performances. The weekly series will be dynamic as we fine-tune our findings and enlighten ourselves on the information and tools at our disposal.

As a prerequisite before we start, follow this link and rock out as we delve into this week's topic. Readers may have noticed that our series focuses often on cringeworthy pitching events that make us fantasy viewers immediately regret tuning in to watch our starters and streamers. There's nothing worse than settling in with a cold beverage and having your pitcher promptly implode. For Week 14, the instances we'll discuss are meltdowns in pressure conditions.

The criteria for the analysis is simple: we'll examine opponent slugging percentage for pitchers with runners in scoring position. Overall, the median opponent slugging is .404. Surprisingly, that figure stays remarkably static in RISP situations (.405). We'll identify some starters with ice in their veins, and others that seemingly cave. At the least, our findings should make the baseball viewing experience a bit less insufferable.

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!

 

Bound to Pop

All stats as of July 2 for 122 pitchers with over 1,000 pitches. Pressure situations represent plate appearances with runners in scoring position (RISP).

CC Sabathia, New York Yankees (5-3, 3.02 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 7.13 K/9)

CC Sabathia is about average with a .394 opponent slugging percentage this season. But when runs are on the line, the savvy vet tightens up to .257, 13th-best in the majors. Sabathia's taken his smoke and mirrors show to the next level this season, on pace for his best year since 2011.

Sabathia's 2011 campaign (19-8, 3.00 ERA) was accompanied by a 95 MPH heater that he threw almost 50% of pitches. The reincarnated Sabathia in 2018 ditched his deteriorating four-seamer years ago in exchange for a cutter and complementary breaking pitches. The cutter's been a game-changer this season. In June, its mix has jumped to 44% with the whiff percentage doubling to 14%. The tangential benefits? He's getting more swings-and-misses on his pedestrian slider with opponent ISO and slugging tapering overall. Sabathia's SwStr% of 10.6% is a four-year best, certainly helpful in sticky situations.

A peek at Sabathia's peripherals are reassuring. Luck-related items like BABIP (.285) and LOB% (75.8%) are nonfactors. Batted-ball characteristics are stable and a workable 2.27 BB/9 prevents unintended damage. Haters can harp on his low HR/FB (10.4%) or FIP (4.06) to claim fraud, but our argument claims Sabathia is successfully managing his diminishing stuff. Reliable old Dub could be the formula for a strong fantasy second half.

Jhoulys Chacin, Milwaukee Brewers (6-3, 3.71 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 7.05 K/9)

When Jhoulys Chacin signed with Milwaukee this season after a rebound year in San Diego, the risk was he duped the Brew Crew, following the footsteps of other Padres alumni that leveraged Petco Park for hefty pay raises (see: Drew Pomeranz, Ian Kennedy). To the contrary. Chacin is enjoying another solid season, helped by the league's 18th-lowest .272 RISP slugging.

Chacin has endured some blowup games this season, but he's been fairly consistent, allowing two earned runs or less in 11-of-18 starts. Chacin has always had a great slider, but beginning last season, he stopped fooling around with other ineffective pitches and leaned on the good stuff. Since 2016, his slider usage has spiked from 21% to 39%. With a normalized pitch value of 2.10, the higher share hasn't reduced its potency. In June, hitters are batting .167 with a .208 slugging percentage against the pitch.

Chacin's success admittedly comes with some hairs. His strikeouts aren't stellar and an unsavory 3.99 BB/9 further stresses the importance of stranding runners. A modest .123 ISO and 6.8% HR/FB doesn't mesh with a 38.5% Hard%, but at least his exit velocity data isn't alarming (92.8 MPH FB/LD). Chacin's paid dividends for fantasy owners who've gambled thus far, if the money slider obliges, the good times can keep rolling.

Other possible risers: Tyler Mahle (CIN, .208 RISP slugging), Kyle Freeland (COL, .254), Jack Flaherty (STL, .257)

 

Due to Drop

David Price, Boston Red Sox (9-6, 4.28 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 8.57 K/9)

Recency bias and conventional wisdom suggests David Price's dead last position in RISP slugging (.721) is due to his latest meltdown in Yankee Stadium (3.1 IP, 8 ER). Not the case. Prior to the nightmare outing, Price's RISP slugging was already a putrid .667.

Despite badly struggling with runners on base, it's tough to complain about Price's season. After a horrible start, he had gone nine straight appearances allowing three or fewer runs before the Bronx debacle on July 1. The problem for Price could be his predictability. He's lost velocity on all of his pitches year-over-year and his sinker grades as his only useful pitch. As a result, Price's SwStr% (8.6%) and Swing% (46.3%) have plummeted while the contact rate has soared (81.5%). Price's 61.1% first pitch strikes and 3.07 BB/9 are far poorer than career norms, exacerbating his struggles in the stretch.

While there are no outliers to Price's performance to-date, there's also no clear indicator justifying why he's a top-50 starter going forward. His pedigree and wins will keep the ownership tag high, but his fantasy-relevant metrics are trending in the wrong direction. For Price owners, testing the trade market could provide opportunity to unload a potential burden.

Andrew Heaney, Los Angeles Angels (4-5, 3.95 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 8.34 K/9)

Amidst a breakout year, a blemish on Andrew Heaney's season has been his ninth-worst .533 RISP slugging. Heaney's fired quality starts in 8-of-14 outings, but his performance volatility could attest to his inability to strand runners. When he's off, the floodgates burst open with four starts allowing five or more earned runs.

Heaney is another peculiar pitcher that doesn't use a traditional four-seamer (Sabathia, Alex Wood, Zack Godley), instead relying on a sinker, curve and changeup. His knockout curveball generated a whiff rate of almost 20% and .094 batting average in June. One possible concern is a shift away from an unproductive changeup (.857 opponent SLG in June), essentially making him a two-pitch pony. The sinker, his worst pitch, is up to a 60% mix and its growing share has triggered a collapse in whiff rate from 14% to 7%. While the change in pitch selection hasn't directly impacted his curveball, the limited options are a risk.

Heaney's been a valuable waiver wire find, but nothing suggests he's destined for the next level. He's not a swing-and-miss pitcher (10.9% SwStr%, 46.5% Swing%) and his stuff isn't overpowering. Owners believing the 69.6% LOB% is bad luck should recognize it's mostly self-inflicted. Heaney beneficiaries should enjoy the ride, but overpaying for perceived upside could be a fool's errand.

Other possible fallers: Tyson Ross (SD, .523 RISP slugging), Michael Fulmer (DET, .514), Nick Pivetta (PHI, .507)

 

More Sabermetrics & Fantasy Baseball Strategy




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