Michael Salfino

  • Pitching by the Numbers: Harvey climbs the charts

    Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports 6 days ago

    We did our draft do-over at Roto Arcadeand were limited to two starting pitchers each. Let’s look at some of the pitchers whose value has changed the most since our Friends and Family draft back in March.

    1. Clayton Kershaw (1) 2. Max Scherzer (2) 3. Felix Hernandez (4) 4. Matt Harvey (11) 5. Johnny Cueto (14) 6. Corey Kluber (9) 7. Madison Bumgarner (7) 8. Chris Sale (6) 9. Gerrit Cole (15) 10. Zack Greinke (8) 11. Stephen Strasburg (3) 12. Jake Arrieta (20) 13. Sonny Gray (36) 14. David Price (5) 15. Jacob deGrom (19) 16. Cole Hamels (12) 17. Chris Archer (52) 18. * Danny Salazar (51) 19. * James Shields (18) 20. * Carlos Carrasco (23) 21. Jon Lester (13) 22. * Dallas Keuchel (64) 23. Michael Pineda (53) 24. Shelby Miller (77)

  • Pitching by the Numbers: Nelson an off-speed ace

    Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports 13 days ago

    Let’s look at 2015 MLB play-by-play data to assess which pitchers have the best off-speed pitches according to the hitters — meaning they swing and miss at them the most.

    I firmly believe that it’s the fastball that’s the foundation for all successful pitching. If you can’t evade hard contact with that pitch you cannot get ahead of hitters and set up these secondary offerings. But once you have the count in your favor, and especially with two strikes, you need to finish hitters with pitches that wrinkle. 

    So this is a 2015 skills analysis. I have a high confidence level that these numbers are bettable, however injury always looms for hurlers and that’s typically going to impact these pitches the most. 

    All of these stats are current as of Wednesday, May 13.

    Nelson clearly has an out pitch. My numbers are generally down on him. But this is a big plus and suggests that he may be closer to dominance than his current stats indicate (8.0 Ks and 3.0 BBs/9). 

    Strop has closer stuff when you combine his curve with his 95 mph fastball. The good thing about curveballs is that they show the lowest platoon splits.

    Alright, let's move on to the slider:

  • Pitching by the Numbers: Getting ahead

    Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    Last week we looked at pitchers’ ability to compete when behind in the count by getting outs anyway.   But the league average rate of outs on only 51% of these counts last year made it clear that Job 1 for starters is not falling behind in the first place.

    Remember one of the things we found last week with our “getting outs from behind in the count” stat is that the trailers were close to the league average. That meant that the leaders were hardly ever falling behind and the trailers were thus taking up the great majority of the “fall-behind” situations. And Scherzer was a trailer but we can see that not getting the outs at a good rate when behind didn’t matter so much for him because he was, more importantly, REALLY good at not falling behind.

  • Pitching by the Numbers: Falling behind

    Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    I’m very pleased that so many of you last week liked the deployment of my unconventional but easy-to-understand stats that help us better assess pitchers. And starting pitching is where the profits are made or lost and thus where our fantasy championships are decided.

    As I detailed last week when addressing how batters are mostly in control of outcomes, we have to be wary about randomness (how hitters happen to generally hit against a pitcher) heavily influencing pitching stats. One way to check this is to see which pitchers appeared on this leader board in both 2013 and 2014.

  • Pitching by the Numbers: Special K

    Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports 1 mth ago

    Fantasy baseball has increasingly become a game of efficiency and strikeouts, which don’t seem to go hand in hand.

    Efficiency is necessary to increase the probability of wins, handing the ball over to the dominant late-inning guys instead of the iffy middle-innings ones. It’s a product of our national obsession with pitch counts.

    But strikeout guys have to throw more pitches because you need at least three to register one and often more than three. But what if we isolated the efficient strikeouts, those that come on four pitches or less, as a percentage, not of total strikeouts but of all outs.

    That’s not only efficiency but even more pure dominance. What’s more in your face than dismissing a batter back to the dugout with the bat on his shoulder in a handful of pitches?

    Using MLB play-by-play data from last year, we’ve calculated this rate of outs on strikeouts of four pitches or less, as well as the league-wide average (13%).

    Not surprisingly, relievers who can let it all hang out on every pitch lead the list. So I cut them off at 20%, but I charted all pitchers with at least 1,000 pitches who were well above average — 17% was the cutoff.

  • Pitching by the Numbers: Weak contact

    Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports 2 mths ago

    Let’s talk about the starting pitchers who were best last year in limiting hit quality while also having playable K rates in 12-team mixers.

    [Baseball 2015 from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports: Join a league today!]

    Notice first that the ERAs of these pitchers seem to have less connection to BABIP. And 15 of 25 outperformed their FIP ERA, which is really hard to do. While BABIP is not technically a part of the FIP formula, the practical result is focusing on BABIP because it assumes league average performance in converting balls in play into outs. But I don’t like how BABIP ignores homers and how FIP ignores double and triples. So if I’m going to pick one of these stats to supplement my (K-BB)/IP, it’s going to be ISO allowed.

  • Pitching by the Numbers: Tiering up

    Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports 2 mths ago

    The assumption in fantasy baseball is that we need to project players in order to find hidden value beyond last year’s stats. Because, of course, any idiot can just pay the freight for the players’ prior-year numbers when they have similar roles and health.

    [Baseball 2015 from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports: Join a league today!]

    [Want to join a league and live draft right now? Go to the Yahoo Draft Lobby]

  • Pitching by the Numbers: Walk the line

    Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports 2 mths ago

    We continue setting the table for our 2015 pitching analysis by putting today’s individual numbers into the modern context. Last week, we adjusted strikeout percentage for the league average, where 100 was average. This week, we do the same with BB%. 

    [Baseball 2015 from Yahoo! Fantasy Sports: Join a league today!]

    [Want to join a league and live draft right now? Go to the Yahoo Draft Lobby]