Skip to main content

Fantasy Baseball Pitcher Trends Analysis

Taking a look back at stats from the 2013 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 producing consistent stats.

W 10+131415
Bartolo Colon181514
Chris Tillman161311
Chris Sale111213
Clayton Kershaw162116
Dan Haren101311
David Price101518
Felix Hernandez121518
Gerrit Cole101119
Gio Gonzalez111011
James Shields131413
John Lackey101413
Jon Lester151611
Jordan Zimmermann191413
Julio Teheran141411
Lance Lynn151512
Madison Bumgarner131818
Mark Buehrle121315
Max Scherzer211814
Mike Leake141111
R.A. Dickey141411
Zack Greinke151719

Bumgarner and Greinke are the only starting pitchers in the MLB to win as many games or more than the year prior over the past three seasons.  However, most leagues are moving towards QS over W.

QS 15+201320142015
A.J. Burnett181517
Bartolo Colon232019
Chris Sale232123
Clayton Kershaw272427
Cole Hamels252521
Dan Haren151817
David Price182424
Felix Hernandez222720
Gio Gonzalez211716
James Shields272419
Jeff Samardzija192315
John Lackey192226
Jon Lester202721
Jonathon Niese152118
Jordan Zimmermann212422
Jose Quintana172125
Julio Teheran182520
Lance Lynn192419
Madison Bumgarner222122
Mark Buehrle181919
Max Scherzer252223
Mike Leake162019
R.A. Dickey192320
Rick Porcello182115
Wade Miley221917
Zack Greinke182130

ERA <= 3.25 131415
Clayton Kershaw1.831.772.13
Madison Bumgarner2.772.982.93
Max Scherzer2.903.152.79
Sonny Gray2.853.082.73
Zack Greinke2.632.711.66

These are the only pitchers that you should be selecting in the early rounds of fantasy drafts.

HR 20+131415
Chris Tillman332120
Dan Haren282731
James Shields202333
Jason Hammel222323
Jeff Samardzija252029
Jeremy Guthrie302325
John Danks282524
John Lackey262421
Julio Teheran222227
Kyle Lohse262225
Miguel Gonzalez242424
Mike Leake212322
R.A. Dickey352625

If you end up with any of these pitchers on your roster, just pray they can keep runners off the base path!

K 175+131415
Chris Sale226208274
Clayton Kershaw232239301
Cole Hamels202198215
Felix Hernandez216248191
James Shields196180216
Jon Lester177220207
Madison Bumgarner199219234
Max Scherzer240252276

Don't overvalue Shield's strikeout totals, he is one of six pitchers to have allowed 75+ HRs over the last three seasons.

K/9 9+131415
Chris Sale9.510.811.8
Danny Salazar11.39.89.5
Francisco Liriano9.19.79.9
Max Scherzer10.110.310.9
Stephen Strasburg9.410.111.0

K 20%+131415
A.J. Burnett26%20%21%
Anibal Sanchez27%20%21%
Chris Sale26%30%32%
Clayton Kershaw26%32%34%
Cole Hamels22%24%24%
Corey Kluber22%28%28%
Danny Salazar31%25%26%
David Price20%27%25%
Felix Hernandez26%27%23%
Francisco Liriano25%25%27%
Gerrit Cole21%24%24%
Gio Gonzalez23%25%22%
Hisashi Iwakuma21%22%22%
Ian Kennedy21%25%24%
Johnny Cueto21%25%20%
Julio Teheran22%21%20%
Lance Lynn23%21%22%
Madison Bumgarner25%25%27%
Max Scherzer29%28%31%
Scott Kazmir24%21%20%
Sonny Gray25%20%20%
Stephen Strasburg26%28%30%
Tyson Ross26%24%26%
Ubaldo Jimenez25%20%21%
Zack Greinke21%25%24%

K/9 3+131415
Bartolo Colon4.05.05.5
Chris Sale4.95.36.5
Clayton Kershaw4.57.77.2
Cole Hamels4.03.43.5
Corey Kluber4.05.35.4
Dan Haren4.84.03.5
Danny Salazar4.33.43.7
David Price5.67.14.8
Felix Hernandez4.75.43.3
Gerrit Cole3.63.54.6
Hisashi Iwakuma4.47.35.3
John Lackey4.03.53.3
Jordan Zimmermann4.06.34.2
Madison Bumgarner3.25.16.0
Max Scherzer4.34.08.1
Rick Porcello3.33.33.9
Stephen Strasburg3.45.66.0
Zack Greinke3.24.85.0

WHIP <= 1.25131415
Bartolo Colon1.171.231.25
Chris Sale1.070.971.09
Clayton Kershaw0.920.860.88
Cole Hamels1.161.151.19
Dan Haren1.241.181.13
David Price1.101.081.08
Felix Hernandez1.130.921.18
Gerrit Cole1.171.211.09
Hisashi Iwakuma1.011.051.06
Jered Weaver1.141.211.23
Johnny Cueto1.050.961.13
Jordan Zimmermann1.091.071.20
Madison Bumgarner1.031.091.01
Max Scherzer0.971.180.92
Mike Leake1.251.251.16
R.A. Dickey1.241.231.19
Sonny Gray1.131.191.08
Stephen Strasburg1.051.121.11
Zack Greinke1.111.150.84

Colon has kept his WHIP at or under 1.25 for three straight seasons, but it is trending in the wrong direction.

xFIP <= 3.50131415
Chris Sale2.952.832.60
Clayton Kershaw2.882.082.09
Cole Hamels3.443.213.40
Corey Kluber3.122.573.05
Dallas Keuchel3.463.202.75
Danny Salazar2.753.453.48
David Price3.272.763.24
Felix Hernandez2.662.513.33
Francisco Liriano3.123.403.16
Gerrit Cole3.143.253.16
Hisashi Iwakuma3.282.853.27
Madison Bumgarner3.322.993.02
Max Scherzer3.163.122.88
Stephen Strasburg3.152.562.69
Tyson Ross3.223.113.15
Zack Greinke3.452.723.22

Expected Fielding Independent Pitching (xFIP) is a regressed version of Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP), developed by Dave Studeman from The Hardball Times. It’s calculated in the same way as FIP, except it replaces a pitcher’s home run total with an estimate of how many home runs they should have allowed given the number of fly balls they surrendered while assuming a league average home run to fly ball percentage (between 9 and 10% depending on the year). - FanGraphs

Sierra <= 3.50131415
Chris Sale2.892.562.52
Clayton Kershaw2.992.092.24
Cole Hamels3.413.293.45
Corey Kluber3.302.612.98
Danny Salazar2.723.333.39
David Price3.362.723.27
Felix Hernandez2.772.503.38
Gerrit Cole3.343.233.23
Hisashi Iwakuma3.332.943.36
Madison Bumgarner3.332.983.00
Max Scherzer2.912.982.63
Stephen Strasburg3.092.642.76
Tyson Ross3.203.213.35

Skill-Interactive ERA (SIERA) is the newest in a long line of ERA estimators. Like it’s predecessors FIP and xFIP, SIERA attempts to answer the question: what is the underlying skill level of this pitcher? How well did they actually pitch over the past year? Should their ERA have been higher, lower, or was it about right? - FanGraphs
Fantasy Baseball Trends