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 Studs and Duds - Exit Velocity for Week 11


Welcome back to RotoBaller’s pitchers Statcast studs and duds article series! Each week we will select an advanced stat, choose two risers and two fallers, and analyze what those stats could mean for future fantasy output. This stat is one that we used earlier in the season (see Week 4) but is particularly useful for fantasy purposes, average exit velocity (EV).

EV is a better stat for hitters than pitchers as hitters have a greater influence on the measure. That being said, EV is related to ERA for pitchers, and generally speaking, pitchers don’t want to give up hard contact as it improves the hitter’s chance of getting a hit.

Now that we have more data for the season, we can draw more telling conclusions from the trends we see. Let's get into it and see how the EV velocity for starting pitchers has changed!

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off. Exclusive access to our Draft Kit, premium rankings, projections, player outlooks, top prospects, dynasty rankings, 15 in-season lineup tools, and over 200 days of expert DFS research. Sign Up Now!

 

EV Studs

All stats current as of Monday, June 10, courtesy of Baseballsavant.com.

 

Rich Hill - Los Angeles Dodgers

(3-1, 2.40 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 83.4-MPH avg. EV)

Our first EV stud, despite his age, has put together a great season and currently has the lowest average EV among pitchers with at least 100 batted-ball events. 39-year-old Rich Hill has a 2.40 ERA and 1.16 WHIP with 52 strikeouts in 45 innings pitched. Let's see how the veteran has found his success. 

Hill is able to avoid hard contact (25.8% hard-hit rate, 8.5-degree launch angle) because of his deceptive mix of fastball and curveball. Hill's curveball is in the 97th percentile in terms of spin rate (2,924 revolutions per minute) and his fastball is in the 91st percentile (2,479 revolutions per minute). His pitch movement, coupled with his strong control (6.5% walk rate) allows Hill to limit hard contact and rack up strikeouts (28.0% strikeout rate, 9.8% swinging-strike rate) with essentially just two pitches (53.8% fastball usage, 39.8% curveball usage).

Despite his age, Hill has all the makings of a high-end fantasy starter. He pitches his home games in pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium and has a strong 3.57 SIERA to back up his performance. The only issue for Hill is his history of injuries. Hill has only pitched more than 140 innings once in his career and has already done a stint on the 10-day IL this season with a left knee sprain. His proclivity for getting hurt plus his age limits his upside in points leagues, but he is still great on a per-start basis. Hill is more valuable in category leagues for these reasons. That being said, he is a strong fantasy asset in all leagues. I consider Hill to actually be undervalued given excess concern for his health and age.

 

Julio Urias - Los Angeles Dodgers

(3-2, 3.38 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, 83.7-MPH avg. EV)

Our second EV stud has been surrounded by fantasy buzz since 2016, is only 22 years old, and is a teammate of Hill's. Julio Urias has shown that he can compete at the big-league level despite his age, whether it be as a starter or coming out of the Dodgers' bullpen. Even if he is not starting, Urias has provided solid numbers in roto categories and has the second-lowest average EV among pitchers who have logged at least 100 batted-ball events, so he can still be fantasy relevant. Let's take a further look into Urias' advanced metrics to see how he has provided fantasy value.

Urias is not just an EV stud; he is pretty much at the top of all Statcast fields. He is in at least the 80th-percentile for fastball velocity (94.9 MPH), fastball spin (2,485 revolutions per minute), curveball spin (2,757 revolutions per minute), hard-hit rate (24.5%), and is in at least the 74th-percentile for all expected stats. He relies heavily on his fastball (56.6% usage), which, to be fair, is quite a good pitch, but he also has a strong secondary arsenal of changeup, slider, and curve. Aside from avoiding damaging contact, Urias has been able to post solid strikeout numbers with a 25.5% strikeout rate and a 14.7% swinging-strike rate. His 3.81 SIERA, while higher than his ERA, is still respectable.

The only thing to possibly worry about for Urias is his playing time. He is still young, so an innings cap is always a possibility regardless of his role. Further, the Dodgers often switch around their pitching staff roles, but Urias hasn't started a game since April 18. However, he will continue to get used routinely if he keeps pitching this well and is just one injury away from getting another chance to start. Owned at just 18%, Urias is certainly worth a spot on fantasy players' benches as a stash and could be used in roto leagues now.

 

EV Duds

All stats current as of Monday, June 10, courtesy of Baseballsavant.com.

 

Shane Bieber - Cleveland Indians

(5-2, 4.07 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, 90.8-MPH avg. EV)

Our first EV dud started off the season hot but has been regressing lately. I have written about the puzzling case of Shane Bieber in previous weeks, stating that he had conflicting underlying stats, more negative than positive. One of those negative stats has been EV and Bieber now has the ninth-highest average among pitchers with at least 100 batted-ball events. What should fantasy owners make of Bieber to this point?

Let's rehash Bieber's situation once again. Firstly, his pitch arsenal in itself isn't impressive; his fastball sits at 93.2 MPH and his slider and curveball don't have a ton on spin on them. Despite this, he has managed a strong 30% strikeout rate. I haven't been able to find a good explanation for this, which makes me question the validity of his K rate.

While the K rate is still a mystery, the second conundrum seems to be solving itself. Bieber had managed to keep his ERA and WHIP down despite a poor batted-ball profile, but things have started to regress. He has gotten hit quite hard this season (91.1-MPH exit velocity, 47% hard-hit rate, 13.8-degree launch angle) and his 4.07 ERA reflects this. Still, his 1.14 WHIP and 3.40 SIERA suggest that things could be ok, but I notice the batted-ball profile more than his SIERA.

Bieber is still a tough case to crack for me, but I am now more confident that he is a sell-high candidate in single-season leagues. He has had less success recently, which was foreshadowed by some of his poor underlying stats. Bieber is, of course, a great dynasty asset given his young age, but I cannot buy into him at this time.

 

Cole Hamels - Chicago Cubs

(5-2, 3.24 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, 90.2-MPH avg. EV)

Our second EV dud is a veteran who has been a fantasy staple for many seasons and is still getting it done at age 35. Cole Hamels has been solid for the Cubs this season and has a tidy 3.24 ERA and 1.20 WHIP through 77 2/3 IP. However, his average EV is in the bottom 13th percentile in the league. Is this something that fantasy owners should be worried about?

There are both positives and negatives to Hamels' EV. The bad news is that his average EV has increased each season for the past five seasons to his current mark of a 90.2-MPH average EV and 43.3% hard-hit rate. The good news is that his average launch angle has decreased in each of the last three seasons; his 8.1-degree launch angle means that Hamels is keeping the ball on the ground, so his hard-hit rate is much less damaging.

Hamels can get away with this thanks in part to his devastating changeup. He has allowed a .119 batting average against and an impressive 27% swinging-strike rate with the pitch. As long as Hamels can get hitters to pound the ball into the ground he will be just fine. His 4.28 SIERA suggests that he has room to regress, but I think he is a fine middle-of-the-rotation starter for fantasy owners as the season continues.

More Sabermetrics & Fantasy Baseball Strategy




More Recent Articles

 

2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers – Jo Adell

The most coveted type of player in fantasy baseball is the batter who can hit home runs, steal bases and hit for contact. Stolen bases are harder to find, as more big-league teams are opting to take a cautious approach to baserunning. Additionally, batting average has declined because hitters are striking out more often, as... Read More


ADP Cost Analysis - Gleyber Torres vs. Corey Seager

Fantasy baseball players acquire draft position through osmosis. The more drafts that take place, the larger sample we gain of how owners of all experience levels feel about someone. Granted, inexperienced players often rely on rankings from experts, which goes to form ADP into something resembling common rankings, but the outcome is unimpeachable, collected data... Read More


ADP Cost Analysis – Aaron Nola vs Lance Lynn

With fantasy baseball draft season in full swing, those of us who partake in this joyous game are now looking through as much draft data as possible in a bid to find players we love who have lower average draft positions (ADP) than we believe they should. All this to eke out as much draft... Read More


2020 Regression Candidates: Breakout Outfielders

Every season in MLB you can count on the fact that you will have breakout performances from players. Sometimes these breakout performances can be seen coming a mile away and sometimes they catch you entirely by surprise. Regardless of which type of breakout we see, you will almost always have to pay up for that... Read More


Bases Loaded Podcast - Quality Start Episode 1

Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) and Matt Williams (@MattWi77iams) of the Turn Two Podcast come together for a new co-pod series called "Quality Start". This will be a joint effort and episodes will be found on Bases Loaded as well as the Turn Two Podcast. We are joined by Jorge Montanez (@Roto_Nino) as well for this one.... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Sleepers - Adrian Houser

In life, there seem to be two kinds of people, the flashy and the boring. “Flashy” people like high-end materialistic things such as nice clothing or an expensive car. "Boring” people prefer the simpler things in life like spending time with their loved ones. This seems to be true when it comes to fantasy baseball,... Read More


Taking Out the Trash: Pitchers Who Should Junk Their Worst Pitch

Pitch mix changes can make or break a player’s season. That obviously goes for fantasy value as well as real-life. We've already seen how throwing an effective pitch more often could make a huge improvement a la Patrick Corbin. Sometimes pitchers just need to eliminate a pitch to see their numbers improve. Consider the following: Mitch... Read More


ADP Showdown – Trevor Story vs. Trea Turner

Pitchers and catchers have officially reported and position player workouts are getting underway, which means baseball season is officially upon us! Maybe you haven’t started prepping for your drafts, but fortunately for you, there have already been plenty of drafts, which means that fantasy players out there have already started dealing with tough draft position... Read More


Using Sabermetrics for Fantasy Baseball: Pitcher Statcast

Statcast metrics such as Barrels and Brls/BBE are great ways to evaluate a batter's performance, so it is only natural to assume that the metrics would be predictive for pitchers as well. As much as batters want to hit a Barrel every time, pitchers want to avoid them at all costs. Yet there is evidence... Read More


2020 Fantasy Baseball Staff Rankings

Below you will find RotoBaller's 2020 fantasy baseball rankings, tiers and auction dollar values for the 2020 MLB season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Mixed, Head-to-Head, Points, AL/NL Only, Two-Catcher Top 2020 prospects, Dynasty leagues, Keeper values Export the rankings easily... Read More


Bases Loaded Podcast - All Things Fantasy Baseball w/ Nick Pollack (@PitcherList)

Mike Kurland (@Mike_Kurland) is  joined by Nick Pollack (@PitcherList) and they discuss all things fantasy baseball! Subscribe to the Bases Loaded podcast, part of RotoBaller Radio's Podcast Network. Like and Subscribe to the RotoBaller channel on Youtube to get all our latest podcasts and catch us on iTunes and BlogTalkRadio as well! Be sure to also tune... Read More


Finding Combo-Player Values Using Z-Scores and ATC Projections

Towards the end of last season, I asked the question – “Draft Speed or Pound the Power?” Loaded in this seemingly simple query are two contradictory approaches – one for power and one for speed. Power Approach 1: Home run totals are dramatically up in baseball these days. Therefore, there are many power bats available... Read More


ADP Showdown - Whit Merrifield vs Austin Meadows

Spring training is officially underway, which means baseball season is upon us! Maybe you haven’t started prepping for your drafts, but fortunately for you, there have already been plenty of drafts, which means that fantasy players out there have already begun dealing with tough draft position decisions. The outfield position is deep as always, but... Read More


2020 Keeper Value Rankings - Third Base

Keeper Value Rankings are intended for Keeper Leagues in which a fantasy owner must forfeit a designated draft pick in order to keep a player into the upcoming season. These rankings are based on Keeper "Values". In the marketing world, Value can be defined as the extent to which a good or service (player) is... Read More


2020 Dynasty Leagues: Players to Sell (Premium Content)

As draft day approaches in dynasty leagues, the window to sell-high on a big name has never been better. The first days of spring training are a chance to cash in on players who may have hit their peak value before the 2020 season begins. Bartering is a matter of risk vs reward. You hate... Read More