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Strikeout Rate Risers and Fallers - Buy or Sell for Week 17


Welcome back to the strikeout rate risers and fallers series for Week 17! I skipped week 16 due to the shortened week, but we now have over a full week of data since the All-Star break. 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%.

We are now into the second half of the season, but there is still plenty of time to make important buy or sell moves before the fantasy playoffs begin. Hopefully, this article can help you out with your rotation moves!

Editor's Note: Get our 2020 MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our draft kit, premium rankings, player projections and outlooks, our top sleepers, dynasty and prospect rankings, 20 preseason and in-season lineup tools, and over 200 days of expert DFS research and tools. Sign Up Now!

Strikeout Rate Risers

All stats current as of Sunday, July 21

 

Chris Archer - Pittsburgh Pirates

Season K%: 26.7%, Last 30 Days: 34.3%

Our first K rate riser made this list in week 15 and has bumped his K rate even higher since. Chris Archer has been a reliable workhorse with high strikeout upside but has also shown a lack of command and an average ERA. His numbers have improved slightly since I last wrote about him but he still owns a poor 5.36 ERA and 1.41 WHIP on the season. His 34.3% K rate over the past 30 days, however, is a high-end mark, so can he provide fantasy value?

The issue is that Archer's last six starts haven't been that much better overall than his season numbers. His K rate has been top-notch, but it has come with a 4.65 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, and 11.4% walk rate. However, there are several positive signs from his last six starts. For one, his SIERA over those starts has been a much-better 3.80, indicating that he has pitched better than ERA indicates. Further, his .292 BABIP has been in line with his .299 career mark, which further indicates to me that his SIERA is legitimate.

Archer has always had the strikeout upside, but his command has limited his fantasy value this season. He has pitched better lately, though, and if he can continue to trend in a positive direction, he could be a nice buy-low fantasy option. I wouldn't want to give up too much for him despite his name but would jump at the right offer. 

 

Joe Musgrove - Pittsburgh Pirates

Season K%: 21.2%, Last 30 Days: 28.2%

Our second K rate riser is a teammate of Archer and was a later-round sleeper coming into the season. Joe Musgrove has put up average numbers to this point, allowing a 4.08 ERA, 1.20 WHIP, and 21.2% K rate. However, he has been great over his last six starts, owning a sterling 2.20 ERA, 1.01 WHIP, and 28.2% K rate. Is Musgrove a player to own down the home stretch? 

The first thing that stands out is Musgrove's impressive slider. The pitch has been his best swing-and-miss option this season (19.2% swinging-strike rate) and he has been throwing it more lately then he has on the season. Consequently, 17 of his 37 strikeouts (46%) from the last six games have come from the pitch.

The second thing that stands out has been his improved batted-ball profile over the last six games. Musgrove's BABIP (.280) and SIERA (3.56) are both lower than his season marks of .292 and 4.45, indicating that he has been allowing better contact. He has allowed hard contact during this time (46.5%) but has kept the ball on the ground (43%).

Musgrove presents an intriguing middle-of-the-rotation fantasy option given his overall potential upside. He has shown recently that he can command his pitches and get strikeouts without allowing damaging contact. He has a lower ceiling but higher floor than his teammate Archer and is also worth looking into as a buy-low candidate at this time.

 

Strikeout Rate Fallers

All stats current as of Sunday, July 21

 

Jake Odorizzi - Minnesota Twins

Season K%: 25.3%, Last 30 Days: 16%

Our first K rate faller has had a great season to this point, posting a 3.18 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, and 25.3% K rate. However, Jake Odorizzi has stumbled lately, posting a bloated 6.28 ERA with a pedestrian 16% K rate over his last six starts. I called him a valuable fantasy asset earlier in the season, but is this still the case?

The main thing that stands out over Odorizzi's last six starts has been his lack of command. His 1.53 WHIP has affected all aspects of his game; his BABIP (.289), walk rate (9.5%), and HR/9 rate (2.51) have all suffered, leading to his poor ERA. Consequently, he has only racked up more than three strikeouts twice in that period. His 5.31 SIERA also supports that he has lacked the control he has had the rest of the season.

Odorizzi still has a lot going for him this season. He is having a career season and, for the most part, as had solid control, high strikeout numbers, and an above-average batted-ball profile. The Twins have been competitive this season as well, improving his fantasy value. Every pitcher goes through rough patches, so I wouldn't worry about Odorizzi for the rest of the season.

 

Jose Berrios - Minnesota Twins

Season K%: 21.8%, Last 30 Days: 14.8%

Our second K rate faller is a teammate of Odorizzi who is more well-known as being a high-end fantasy option. Jose Berrios has had a great season to this point, earning himself an All-Star spot with a 2.96 ERA and 1.15 WHIP. However, his K rate over the past 30 days has fallen to a pedestrian 14.8%. Is this something that fantasy owners need to worry about? 

There are some interesting signs in his underlying stats. Berrios has pitched quite well in his last five starts, compiling a 3.30 ERA. However, his WHIP over that time was a poor 1.43 and his SIERA was an even worse 5.52. The underlying metrics conflict with his ERA, but his overall results have been good. The decline in K rate could be attributed to a lack of control, but he has never been much of a strikeout pitcher to begin with, so this is not all that alarming.

Like Odorizzi, I would not be too concerned with Berrios, especially given his overall results. He is a strong pitcher and will hopefully be able to find his command again as we move through the second half.

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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