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Fantasy Baseball Pitching Trends

Taking a look back at stats from the 2012 MLB season through last season, we discovered some pretty interesting trends that can help you win your fantasy baseball league!  Just so we are clear, these are not the best pitchers in baseball, just those that are getting better each season.

10+ Wins201220132014
Adam Wainwright141920
Clayton Kershaw141621
Doug Fister101416
Rick Porcello101315

Wainwright, Kershaw, Fister and Porcello are the only pitchers who won 10+ games in each season and increased their win total.

Gonzalez won 21 games in 2012, and has since seen his win totals drop to 11 in 2013 and just 10 last season.  Darvish won 16 games in 2012, just 13 in 2013 and won just 10 games for the Texas Rangers last season.

IP 150+201220132014
Bartolo Colon152.1190.1202.1
Jeff Samardzija174.2213.2219.2
Jon Lester205.1213.1219.2
Lance Lynn169.0201.2203.2
Max Scherzer187.2214.1220.1
Mike Leake179.0192.1214.1
Stephen Strasburg159.1183.0215.0

Lester is the only pitcher in baseball to have tossed 200+ innings for three straight seasons and seen an increase in innings pitched.  Not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing for a pitcher who just signed a 6 year $155 mil contract.

Justin Verlander and R.A. Dickey have each pitched 200+ innings in each of the last three seasons, but both of them have seen a decline in IP each year.

Cole Hamels, Felix Hernandez, James Shields, Madison Bumgarner and Mark Buehrle are the only other pitchers to have tossed 200+ innings over each of the last three seasons.

K/9 7+201220132014
Chris Sale9.009.4910.79
Ian Kennedy8.088.099.27
Jon Lester7.287.479.01
Madison Bumgarner8.258.909.07

Even with the increased innings Lester has thrown, he has managed to strike out more and more batters per inning, each season.  His 220 Ks were the first time he struck out 200+ since the 2010 season, when he duplicated his 225 Ks from 2009.

The only qualified starting pitchers with a higher K/9 than Sale since the start of the 2012 season are Yu Darvish, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg!

Adam Wainwright, James Shields, Jeff Samardzija, and Lance Lynn have all seen their K/9 decrease in each of the last three seasons, but still struck out better than 7 batters per inning pitch..

ERA < 4.00201220132014
Adam Wainwright3.942.942.38
Clayton Kershaw2.531.831.77
Felix Hernandez3.063.042.14
Jose Quintana3.973.513.32
Matt Garza3.913.823.64

Quintana and Garza really standout in a list with Wainwright, Kershaw and Hernandez.  They are 2 of just 5 pitchers in the MLB to have owned an ERA under 4.00 for three straight seasons, and seen their ERA decline!

Scott Feldman, Rick Porcello, Jon Lester, Henderson Alvarez and Bud Norris have all seen a decline in ERA for three straight seasons, but they each had ERA's above 4.00 in 2012.

Gio Gonzalez, Jered Weaver and Kyle Lohse have kept their ERA under 4.00 for three straight seasons, but have seen it increase each year.

Justin Verlander, Marco Estrada, Tommy Milone and Wade Miley had ERA's below 4.00 in 2012 and have seen it balloon up over that mark during the past three season.

xFIP < 4.00201220132014
Clayton Kershaw3.252.882.08
Felix Hernandez3.202.662.51
Chris Sale3.232.952.83
Madison Bumgarner3.453.322.99
Jordan Zimmermann3.783.483.10
Max Scherzer3.233.163.12

Understanding xFIP via FanGraphs

GB 40%+201220132014
Brandon McCarthy40.50%48.20%52.60%
Felix Hernandez48.90%51.40%56.20%
Francisco Liriano44.00%50.50%54.40%
Homer Bailey44.90%46.10%50.60%
Jeff Samardzija44.60%48.20%50.20%
Jeremy Guthrie40.60%42.90%43.60%
Justin Masterson55.70%58.00%58.20%
Yovani Gallardo47.70%49.20%50.80%

Half of these guys are on new teams in 2015.

Hitting Trends