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Strikeout Rate Risers and Fallers - Buy or Sell for Week 12


Welcome back to the strikeout rate risers and fallers series for Week 12! Each week we will take a look at two K% risers and two fallers, analyze what is behind those changes, and then decide if they are actionable. A pitcher can best control their fate by generating swings and misses, so this exercise holds particular importance for fantasy value. Understanding strikeout trends and the stats behind them can help you sort through all the noise and determine which pitchers are legit and which pitchers should be avoided.

The players in this article were chosen using RotoBaller’s K% Risers and Fallers premium Tool. This tool identifies players who are surging and falling in strikeout percentage over the last 30 days. The goal of this tool is to help you find pitchers who are showing improving or declining K%.

As we get closer to the All-Star Break, fantasy players will need to assess if their team is ready to start the second half. Having a solid starting rotation of reliable pitchers is key to a competitive team, so now is the time to take advantage of deals. Let's take a look at two K rate risers and fallers to try to aid in that process!

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!

 

Strikeout Rate Risers

All stats current as of Sunday, June 16

 

Jake Odorizzi - Minnesota Twins

Season K%: 28.3%, Last 30 Days: 39%

The first K% riser has shown signs of both high strikeout upside and an ability to limit runs in the past and is putting it all together this season. Jake Odorizzi has a sterling 2.24 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and 85 strikeouts over 76 1/3 innings pitched this season. His K rate over the past 30 days has also been top-class at a 39% mark. Should fantasy owners buy into the career season he's having, or is he a sell-high candidate?  

We'll first take a look at Odorizzi's impressive strikeouts numbers. They are a bit puzzling, as his arsenal does not seem to be overpowering. He relies heavily on a decent fastball (92.8 MPH, 60.6% usage), complemented by a cutter (85 MPH, 17.5% usage), a split-finger (85.4 MPH, 12.6% usage), and a curveball (75.3 MPH, 9.3% usage). He also doesn't get a ton of spin on any of his pitches. That being said, Odorizzi has shown a strong command of his pitches this season, moving the ball around in the zone. He has been able to stay down in the zone with his breaking pitches and has been able to jam right-handed batters with his cutter.

Odorizzi's improved command has improved all facets of his game. While his launch angle is still high (20.3 degrees), he has been able to post a career-low in hard contact (85.6-MPH average exit velocity, 32.4% hard-hit rate). His 1.01 WHIP is also a career low and his walk rate is the lowest it has been in the past three seasons. His 3.95 SIERA suggests that his batted-ball profile is not quite as good as it looks, but I feel that he should be fine as long as he can continue to limit hard contact.

Overall, I would say that Odorizzi's success this season has been legit. He has been able to post high strikeout numbers without overpowering stuff but has shown that ability throughout his career. The more impressive thing is his improved control, which has had a bigger positive impact on his game. I would not be afraid to shop Odorizzi in hopes of getting a massive return, but would not sell high on him in the sense that his skills have not been a fluke.

 

Lance Lynn - Texas Rangers

Season K%: 25.4%, Last 30 Days: 31.6%

Our second K% riser has had a mediocre season to this point overall but has been a solid contributor in strikeouts. Lance Lynn has gone 7-4 with a 4.40 ERA, a 1.33 WHIP, and 93 strikeouts in 86 innings pitched. He has done even better lately, posting a 31.6% K rate in the last 30 days. Does Lynn offer more than his ERA suggests?    

Several things stand out from Lynn's recent performance and his performance on the season. First, Lynn's stats have been better across the board over the last 30 days; he has posted a 3.05 ERA and 1.12 WHIP along with 49 strikeouts in 39 1/3 IP. A good chunk of this could be contributed to four favorable matchups, two against the Mariners (who lead the league in strikeouts) and two against the Royals. His last two starts have been against tougher matchups, the A's and Red Sox, and Lynn racked up eight strikeouts in each.

Looking into his season's stats, there are several encouraging underlying signs for Lynn. Firstly, his batted-ball profile is strong (86.4-MPH average exit velocity, 30% hard-hit rate, 12.5-degree launch angle). Despite this, his .349 BABIP is much higher than his .305 career mark, which suggests two signs of positive regression. Secondly, while Lynn's arsenal is not particularly impressive, he has managed to generate at least a 10% swinging-strike rate on three of his five pitches (fastball, cutter, curveball).

Lynn is not a sexy fantasy option and has mediocre numbers on the surface, but, based on his stats under the hood, he looks like he could be a solid back-end rotation piece for the second half of the season. His strikeout numbers have been strong and his batted-ball profile suggests that he has performed better than his ERA and WHIP suggest. He is a strong buy-low candidate that could hopefully be acquired for cheap.

 

 

Strikeout Rate Fallers

All stats current as of Sunday, June 16

 

Patrick Corbin - Washington Nationals

Season K%: 26.4%, Last 30 Days: 20.8%

Our first K% faller broke out in 2018 thanks in large part to his incredible slider. Patrick Corbin had a career season but has been much more pedestrian this season with a 4.11 ERA, 1.22 WHIP, and a 26.4% K rate. That mark has fallen even lower in the past 30 days; has the league caught up to Corbin's slider?

Nothing all that surprising stands out regarding Corbin's performance this season. Corbin's approach has been the same as it was last season; he relies mainly on his slider (36.7%), followed by a mediocre sinker and fastball. His slider, while still quite good (23.6% swinging-strike rate, .165 batting average against), simply hasn't been as good as it was last season (29.3% swinging-strike rate, .145 batting average against). Hitters have come to expect the pitch from him and can look for it while also dealing with his fastballs.

Corbin has had a relatively rough stretch of starts in the past 30 days (5.45 ERA over 34 2/3 IP), but his performance on the season is not surprising. He is a 3.93 ERA career pitcher with an 11.5% swinging-strike rate, so his current 4.11 ERA and 12.2% swinging-strike rate seem reasonable. With only one superior pitch, it was only a matter of time before hitters figured out his game. I think Corbin has performed as expected; unfortunately, some fantasy owners probably overpaid for him in drafts this season. He is a fine middle-of-the-rotation to back-end fantasy starter, but don't be surprised to see his stat lines continue at these marks.

 

Luis Castillo - Cincinnati Reds

Season K%: 29.1%, Last 30 Days: 23.6%

Our second faller has been fantastic this season, tapping into the talent potential he has shown over the previous two seasons. Luis Castillo has gone 6-1 with a 2.20 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 96 strikeouts in 81 2/3 IP. However, his 23.6 % K rate, while still respectable, has fallen over the past 30 days. Is this just a blip on the radar or something to take seriously? 

Fortunately for fantasy owners, the answer is pretty straightforward. Castillo has pitched well over the past 30 days, posting a 3.20 ERA with 26 strikeouts over 25 1/3 IP in five starts. Over those five starts, only one was poor; Castillo allowed four runs with just two strikeouts in 2 2/3 IP against the Brewers. Without that start, there would be no reason Castillo's numbers would look different.

Castillo has maintained his strong strikeout numbers over the season with a combo of impressive fastball velocity (96.2-MPH, 33.9% usage) and a devastating changeup (26.7% swinging-strike rate, 31.5% usage). There is no reason to be concerned with Castillo. He should continue to be a top-end fantasy starter as the season progresses.

K-Rate Risers and Fallers - Premium Tool

Identifying top strikeout rate risers and fallers for each week can help you spot the best pickups before your competition. RotoBaller's Premium K-Rate Risers and Fallers tool has you covered every day. As thoughtful fantasy baseball players, we won't lead you astray. This tool will soon be active once we have a large enough sample size in the season to be considered reliable.

This type of data is available as part of our Premium MLB Subscription. Don't settle for basic stats and surface-level advice from other sites. RotoBaller brings you advanced statistics and professional analysis that you need to win your fantasy leagues and DFS games, because we're ballers just like you. We are your secret weapon!

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