It’s August 11, and that means there are just 50 days remaining in the fantasy baseball season. To celebrate this occasion, I will provide readers with 50 advanced stats that they may want to know for the final 50 days. Here we go!
Walks, strikeouts, and (bad) luck
1. K:BB ratio remains the best advanced stat for analyzing starting pitchers. Nine of the top 10 in this category have a WHIP below 1.10 and eight have an ERA below 3.30.
3. In fact, the bottom-5 in BB:K ratio include fantasy assets such as Javier Baez, Leury Garcia, Kevin Pillar, and Freddy Galvis.
4. Just three hitters have been lucky enough to record a BABIP over .370 this year: Bryan Reynolds, David Dahl, and Yoan Moncada.
5. All four of the players with a batting average of .330 or better (DJ LeMahieu, Christian Yelich, Jeff McNeil, Bryan Reynolds) also own a BABIP over .350.
6. Jurickson Profar and Justin Smoak are the only qualified players unlucky enough to own a BABIP under .225.
7. Wil Myers and Michael Chavis are the only qualified players with strikeout rates over 32 percent.
8. The best batters in terms of strikeout rate are all fantasy afterthoughts: David Fletcher, Hanser Alberto, and Joe Panik.
Who hits the ball hardest/softest?
9. Even at age 39, Nelson Cruz has still got it. His 54.7% hard-contact rate leads the Majors by a wide margin.
10. Surprisingly, Christian Walker is among the top 5 in hard-contact rate. The other four players are all fantasy studs.
11. Coveted rookie Victor Robles is the only qualified hitter with a hard-contact rate below 24%.
12. Robles also owns the second-highest rate of soft contact, trailing only Mallex Smith.
13. Yasiel Puig strangely sits among a group of light-hitting speedsters in the tier with the highest soft-contact rates.
14. Joey Votto hasn’t totally lost it. He joins J.D. Martinez as the players with the lowest rate of soft contact.
15. Just three players own a HR/FB rate above 30%: Nelson Cruz, Christian Yelich and Pete Alonso.
16. Rhys Hoskins is the only qualified hitter with a fly ball rate above 50%.
17. Whit Merrifield is the only qualified hitter with a line drive rate above 30%.
18. Niko Goodrum sits second in line drive rate, followed by a group of fantasy studs that includes Cody Bellinger, Freddie Freeman, Mike Trout, and Justin Turner.
19. Wilson Ramos isn’t maximizing his skill set, as he is the only qualified hitter with a groundball rate over 57%.
20. Mike Trout knows all about launch angles, as his groundball rate is the lowest in baseball.
21. Hanser Alberto and Kevin Pillar are last in the Majors in walk rate. Not coincidentally, they are also the worst offenders for swinging at pitches outside the strike zone.
22. Alex Bregman and Mookie Betts are the only qualified hitters who have swung at fewer than 20% of pitches outside the strike zone.
23. David Fletcher and Michael Brantley are the only two players with contact rates over 90%.
24. Michael Chavis is the only player with a contact rate under 65%. Don’t get too down on Chavis — many fantasy studs own contact rates between 65-70%.
Mike Trout ... and everything else
25. Mike Trout leads the Majors in wRC+ (186).
26. Beyond Trout, Cody Bellinger and Christian Yelich are the only players with a wRC+ over 165.
27. Aaron Sanchez has the highest walk rate among qualified pitchers.
28. Among the eight pitchers with the highest walk rates, just two (Luis Castillo, Julio Teheran) have an ERA under 3.99.
29. Chris Sale leads the Majors in K/9 rate. With a 4.41 ERA, Sale is the only hurler with a top-10 K/9 rate and an ERA over 4.20.
30. Five of the top-8 pitchers in K/9 rate own a sub-3.00 ERA.
31. Although Sale leads the Majors in K/9 rate, he ranks behind Gerrit Cole and Max Scherzer in the more descriptive stat of K%.
32. Strikeouts aren’t everything though, as three of the bottom-5 qualified pitchers in K% (Brett Anderson, Zach Davies, Mike Fiers) own an ERA under 4.00.
33. Max Fried and Jon Lester are the only pitchers with a BABIP above .330.
34. Justin Verlander owns a BABIP that is 40 points lower than that of any other qualified hurler. The second-lowest BABIP belongs to his teammate, Wade Miley.
35. The lowest BABIP for a pitcher who doesn’t get to work in front of the Astros belongs to Mike Fiers.
36. Verlander also owns a strand rate that is 3.9% higher than that of any other qualified pitcher.
37. Beyond Verlander, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Mike Minor are the only pitchers with strand rates above 84%.
Truth behind some disappointments and successes
38. Joe Musgrove’s disappointing season can be partially traced to his league-worst 64% strand rate.
39. Beyond Musgrove, Rick Porcello is the only qualified pitcher who has been unlucky enough to have a strand rate under 65%.
40. Those who are waiting for Chris Sale to achieve his best should know that he is the only pitcher with a FIP that is more than a full run lower than his ERA.
41. Nine pitchers own a FIP that is a full run worse than their ERA. The three hurlers with a gap over 1.30 are Dakota Hudson, Wade Miley, and Hyun-Jin Ryu.
42. Shane Bieber and Madison Bumgarner are the only pitchers who have allowed hard contact at a rate of at least 44%.
43. Noah Syndergaard should probably own a better BABIP than .305, as he leads the Majors with a 28.3% hard-contact rate.
44. Syndergaard is also one of six qualified pitchers who have induced soft contact on more than 21% of batted balls. The others are Kenta Maeda, Eduardo Rodriguez, Jack Flaherty, Jacob deGrom and Rick Porcello.
45. Justin Verlander and Jake Odorizzi are the only qualified pitchers with a fly ball rate over 45%.
46. Ground balls are a good thing in the juiced ball era. The four pitchers with a groundball rate over 54% are Dakota Hudson, Luis Castillo, Mike Soroka, and Marcus Stroman.
47. Line drives are bad news in any era, and Tanner Roark is the only pitcher allowing them at a rate over 25%.
48. Wade Miley may deserve his previously mentioned low BABIP, as he allows line drives at the lowest rate of any qualified pitcher.
49. Dakota Hudson gives up few fly balls but plenty of homers, as a result of his league-leading 23.8% HR/FB rate.
50. It is easy to see why Mike Soroka is so successful. He gives up few fly balls and his HR/FB rate is the lowest in baseball.