Imitation is the highest form of flattery- Charles Caleb Cotton
That being said I was thinking, how can I accurately rate a Starting Pitchers Performance? Let’s face it
MLB’s sketchy definition of at least six innings of three earned (or less) is flawed. A conceivable 4.50 ERA and a ratio that at times is lousy doesn’t strike me as “quality”. So the light went on: if the NFL invented QB rating system so can I, especially for the old HI/LO. I’m not gonna get into the math behind it. Let’s just say that the bar of quality now stood at 7 IP/2 ER or less/ 8 runners allowed and 7 K’s. If you do all that you’ll most assuredly be in the RQS zone
You don’t have to meet all the standards, just by virtue of “the formula” be at or above 8.64. The beauty of this system is that at a glance you can tell who’s dealing and who’s not.
REMINDER: those dealing are viable SELL HI candidates and those in the trench, the BUY LO denizens. Going forward all I have to do is plop in the latest stats and we can see which way players are heading. I topped the list with the guy I consider the gold standard (and also ineligible for HI/LO due to the fact that I don’t want to jinx him!). The columns to the right of a player’s name are the game-by-game ratings (see below BOLD denotes REAL QUALITY game score).
REAL QUALITY START GRID
As you can see, there are some hits and misses thus far. The key is that the guys deemed BUY have shown at least a glimpse of hope. Those deemed SELL have, for the most part, shown vulnerability. Regardless, I am no Kreskin– just a guy that knows that white hot/ ice cold streaks tend to level out at some point.
Addison Reed (TWINS)– let’s be real, this guy has name recognition. And may soon have “the job” after a few more Rodney meltdowns. This is without question, a top five setup in the game as attested by the prolific 40 holds he got for the Metropolitans just two years ago. Last year, he filled the familiar role well (notched 19/21 SAVES) before being swapped to the Bosox (tallied 11 holds). Overall a dominant year.
This year the Twins signed the Hat Sideways guy and are seeing the same bipolar performance that led the D’Backs to cut bait. Sure, he can get occasional saves, but the cost is getting prohibitive. If you have Reed on your team, even if your league is lame and doesn’t count holds, keep this guy around. Of course, there will be some seekers and, if your bullpen can withstand the hit, dispatch the gamer provided you get full value return.
ASBESTOS GLOVES ALERT/ BUY LO
Sonny Gray (YANKEES)- for the last time I will preach,to owners and non-owners alike, IT’S ONLY APRIL! But I will give proper props to one of the new breed writers at MLFS, Todd “7th” Nevin who said a month into the season you can see your strengths and weaknesses FEEL FREE TO PIVOT. And plenty of Gray owners will do just that based on his rancid 7.71 ERA and comical 2.14 WHIP. Oh, and as far as control. Try almost 7 walks per nine.
What happened to the guy that was an All Star and 3rd in CYA voting just a few years ago? Since the glory days he’s had arm woes, nothing crazy but enough to miss a good chunk of 2016 and a handful of starts last year. At least last year he got liberated to the Yankees where he pitched pretty well and even started two post season games with mixed results. Either way he was counted on to be a top three guy for the Bombers but the first five starts were abysmal to say the least.
So why, on earth would I recommend taking a flyer on the underachiever? A few reasons: A. he’s young still 28). B. he’s on a contender and C: the price is right (LOW). Worst case scenario is that you give up a player or two that you can live without and he remains ineffective. But then again, think of the upside and the thought… WHAT IF THE ALIENS BRING BACK THE GOOD SONNY??
STARS ALIGNMENT SELL HI GUY
Johnny Cueto (GIANTS)- This is a tipping point decision. Do I trade the guy that statistically is the best Starting Pitcher in the game? Once again, this is hold your horses territory based on the best five game start in a long, long time.
It’s been a tale of consistency- in five games he’s allowed three runs (ERA .84), has an unheard of WHIP (.688) and has a BABIP (.185) that made me double-check the stats. All that and he’s “only” 3-0. The opponents were not the Sisters of the Poor (Dodgers twice, Mariners, D’Backs and the Angels). Truly a remarkable run by a solid veteran pitcher who relies on guile and a ball that dips and dives as opposed to a blue dart heater.
This is a guy entering his 11th season most of which were good if not better with the best years being 2012, 2014 with the Reds and possibly 2016 for the Giants. But then came the injury riddled implosion that led him to miss seven starts and inflate his ERA to 4.52. A worrisome situation for sure when a 200 IP horse kind of guy who no longer throws as hard. But this year he looks like The J.C of old, or at least the vintage 2016 form that posted a 2.71 ERA and 198 K’s. The early results are spectacular for sure but the K rate by today’s standards is so-so.
So let’s do a recap to see how he measures up as a PERFECT SELL HI.
- plays in a good pitcher’s park
- has shown “star” ability in the past
- is on one helluva early season roll
Perfect score and very tempting bait for any pitching-starved fantasy roster. Face it- there will be regression based on the fact that the league average BABIP, in a common year, is close to .300. Cueto’s career BABIP mark is a respectable .280. Undoubtedly, even at 33 years old, this guy is one of the better PITCHERS in the game when on (3.33 ERA/ WHIP <1.20/ 3:1 K/BB rate). But he is also a guy who AVERAGED almost 200 innings a year if you subtract a 2013 (60 inning) wreck that led to a trip to the team orthopedist. That’s mucho mileage. The other thing that makes me prone to jump off of this Stallion is the Giants who have more holes than fishnet stockings. Last but not least, I ran his numbers through the RQS mill and found that of the five starts, that only three made the grade as QUALITY. The take I get from that is that perhaps the strikeouts part of the formula needs some tweaking. Also I need to incorporate a WHIP modifier (working on it) since I know FOR SURE THAT AT LEAST FOUR OF THOSE FIVE STARTS were superb. Either way put this guy on the block and watch them come running…….just don’t wait too long. A pulled hamstring, an arm woe, or a couple of ho-hum starts could be just around the bend, even for this Thoroughbred.
NEXT WEEK: SPECIAL EDITION- ****13 THINGS YOU MUST EXPERIENCE IN FANTASY BASEBALL****
SO LONG FOR NOW
Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio Show: Join host Brian Roach, Jr, and Cole Freel live on Sunday May 6th, 2018 from 8-9:30pm EST for episode #119 of Major League Fantasy Baseball Radio. We are a live broadcast that will take callers at 323-870-4395. Press 1 to speak with the host. We will discuss the latest information in the world of fantasy baseball.
Our guest this week is Kyle Klinker. Kyle has been an owner in MLFS baseball, and basketball leagues for over 5 years. He also has a couple of championships under his belt over that span in some tough leagues. We loving refer to him as “The Red Rocket.”
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