Finding Undervalued Pitchers: Walk Rate

After I finished my look at correlation between 2013 pitching stats and 2014 fantasy baseball profits, I just had to look at which pitchers might bubble up this year because of their low walk rates last year.

Hisashi Iwakuma, Jordan Zimmerman, Doug Fister, David Price, Masahiro Tanaka, and Clayton Kershaw all land in the top 10 of lowest BB/9 last year. No surprises in that group. But the other names are worth talking about:

phil-hughes-mlb-minnesota-twins-new-york-yankees-850x560Phil Hughes: Set a record last year for the highest strike0ut to walk ratio in the history of baseball, so he isn’t flying under the radar. But he’s also a flyball pitcher with a low HR/FB rate, which has set expectations low. He’s expected to regress big time. On the other hand, he set the record for highest strikeout to walk ratio in baseball history and pitches in a ballpark that is historically tough for lefties to hit homers in (though not last year). He could get better.

Josh Tomlin: Threw lots of strikeouts last year, didn’t walk many, but gave up a lot of homers. Those homers have been a problem his entire career, so it is unreasonable to expect better at this point. But he’s going to be cheap, may not have a rotation slot at the beginning of the year, and would make an excellent reserve pick because he could get better.

Bartolo Colon: His age and the pumped up ERA last year make him seem like a lost cause, but based on his FIP he was a better pitcher than the stats show. Age has to be a concern, but he’ll be cheap and he’ll throw strikes.

Brandon McCarthy: Managed to stay in the rotation all of last year, and offsets a fairly hefty hit rate with a minimal walk rate. LA isn’t going to hurt him, so his price may bubble up to the point where he becomes risky. I wouldn’t go there, but he has the skills to make it work if he stays healthy.

Who are in the next group of 10? Hiroki Kuroda, Henderson Alvarez, Matt Shoemaker, Tim Hudson, Yusmeiro Petit, Wei-Yin Chen, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Dan Haren, James Shields, and Brett Oberholtzer.

Sense a pattern?

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