Michael Salfino

  • Pitching by the Numbers: Draft analysis

    Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports26 days ago

    With the alarm about to go off for real league-wide, let me share what pitchers I drafted in the Yahoo! Friends and Family League and also opine about what I would have rostered, pitching wise, had I participated in the Tout Wars Mixed League auction. The rule for the Tout Wars exercise is pretty simple -- a dollar more than the winning bid gets me the player.

    Friends and Family (round, overall pick, player)

    WSJ-Salfino 5. (66) Greg Holland (KC - RP) 7. (96) Danny Salazar (Cle - SP) 11. (156) Bobby Parnell (NYM - RP) 12. (175) Justin Masterson (Cle - SP) 13. (186) A.J. Burnett (Phi - SP) 14. (205) Yordano Ventura (KC - SP) 16. (235) Tyson Ross (SD - SP,RP) 21. (306) Tim Lincecum (SF - SP) 22. (325) Kelvin Herrera (KC - RP)

    Read More

  • Pitching by the Numbers: The 70/30 split

    Michael Salfino at Yahoo Sports1 mth ago

    A thread throughout this Pitching by the Numbers 2014 Preseason Primer has been that we find surplus fantasy baseball value with pitching because it’s cheap.

    There’s a debate within the industry on why a near universal 70/30 percent hitting/pitching split exists in auctions (which I know that so few of you play, but that doesn’t matter for this exercise). Since hitting is 50 percent of the categories, why shouldn’t we use 50 percent of our budget on it? Extending to drafts, why shouldn’t, say, every other one of your top picks be spent on a pitcher?

    I’ve tested focusing on pitching as equally as I can stomach in expert leagues (which are almost always free/no money) just to see if it really is much harder to construct a winning team that way. I’m convinced it is. But I stipulate that, in this game, any strategy well executed could win. But no one is winning because they are swimming upstream looking for bargain hitters after paying top dollar top pitchers.

    Read More

  • Pitching by the Numbers: Double trouble

    Yahoo Sports1 mth ago

    There’s a lot of talk every year around this time about hitters who had far more doubles than homers. The idea is that they are due for more homers this year. Call it the Manny Machado effect.

    But this is a better stat for pitchers. Hitters control outcomes more than pitchers do. So you can be a doubles hitter more reasonably than you can be a doubles pitcher.

    Yes, if you are a ground-ball pitcher, you can “earn” your higher double rate to some degree. While you are giving up hard contact, you arguably are controlling that this contact is of the ground-ball variety. And of course there are cheap doubles, too. But they are rare.

    So this list (below) is a good check, generally, and especially at the extremes, for pitchers due for a homer correction. The major league average last year was 1.8 doubles per homer.

    Read More

  • Pitching by the Numbers: Strikeouts Minus Walks

    Yahoo Sports2 mths ago

    Many sabermetricians prefer strikeouts minus walks to the more commonly available K/BB ratio. I agree. But I still use the latter mainly because none of the stats sites produce sortable strikeout-minus-walk lists.

    But it’s easy enough to put one together ourselves in a spreadsheet. The missing element though is tethering it to innings pitched. So I simply divided the K minus BB total by the innings pitched (IP).

    Those who read Pitching by the Numbers and follow me on Twitter (@MichaelSalfino) know my belief that strikeouts and walks are the keys to projecting pitching. And I really like this one hybrid stat very much for ranking purposes, too, since strikeout and walk rates repeat better than the other statistics (i.e., they are more bettable; remember, nothing is bankable). And I’m using only 2013 numbers because, in some cases, that’s all we have and also because pitchers can and do make lasting changes to their repertoires that especially affect strikeout rates – witness Justin Masterson last year and his slider usage with two strikes.

    But before we chart this up, let’s review the 2014 Pitching by the Numbers archives for late arrivers.

    Read More

  • Pitching by the Numbers: Special-K Closers

    Yahoo Sports2 mths ago

    The select few strikeout-dominant closers are too cheap in our game. The tremendous impact that they can have on the overall pitching staff in Ks seems too discounted given how the coming off the board now, even in expert leagues.

    I’ve always said that relievers are like french fries in that they are only good when they’re hot – and they don’t stay hot for long. But if you can bet on anything with them, it’s strikeout rates.

    So when I look at closers, I mainly see their surplus Ks over innings pitched because I want to take that surplus and add it to my starters’ strikeouts. The math is simple. For every strikeout my reliever is over innings pitched, I get to add one full strikeout for nine innings worth of pitching from my starters. This is critical of course in leagues like many on Yahoo that have innings caps, essentially turning the strikeout category into a K/9 category.

    Read More