Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Introducing Starting Pitcher Fantasy Value (SPFV)


I originally wrote this piece in early 2011.  I held onto it because I wasn't quite sure if I wanted to share the information and idea for several reasons - the highest of which being confidence in the function.  Through the 2011 season I used the SPFV to evaluate starting pitchers from week-to-week and found it mostly helpful to identify great waiver pick-ups using it with small data sample sizes.  I have added the top-40 SPFV scores of 2011 at the end of the piece.  Over the next few weeks I plan to expand on this rating and explain how it was useful throughout the season.
 
Since I started playing fantasy baseball I have always had a hard time valuing starting pitching.  The risk of injury seems greater with pitchers, end of the rotation jobs never seem secure, and too many of their stats are dependant on the team they play for are just a few of the issues that I wrestled with when determining value – and that was before we even talked about the stats.

How do you compare the fantasy value of a pitcher like Trevor Cahill - who positively contributes in ratio categories but doesn't get a lot of strike outs - to a Dan Haren - whose ratios have be trending upwards but still gets you 200+ strike outs a year.  They contribute completely different for the same position.  I understand you have the same kind of argument on the offensive side.  For instance at second base, comparing Dan Uggla - lower average but a good amount of home runs -  to Howie Kendrick - a higher average player that scores runs - is not easy.  But when building an offense in a roto league it comes down to category needs.  When putting together that offense of 14 players, it is easier to focus on the categories without worrying what positions the stats are coming from.  When building a pitching staff, you have a smaller group - usually 6 or 7 starting pitchers - to collect stats in those 4 categories that starting pitchers contribute to.  You have to compare players with different skill sets to fill the same holes.

To simplify this for myself - and hopefully for you as well - I have developed a fantasy driven rating system to rank starting pitchers named Starting Pitcher Fantasy Value (SPFV).   It simply takes into consideration the 4 standard fantasy categories starting pitchers contribute to – Wins/Strike Outs/ERA/WHIP. 

On draft day you still have to build a pitching staff that will have to compete in 4 categories to be successful.  I am using this tool to analyze how pitchers with different skill sets rate against each other in the overall value of fantasy baseball.  I developed it as an evaluation tool, not a prediction tool.  I am hoping to be able to identify trends over numerous seasons with pitchers performance in fantasy baseball.

The formula for figuring a pitchers SPFV is as follows.

As you can see all of the components of the SPFV are ratios.  This formula focuses on the quality of the innings a pitcher pitches, not the quantity.  When analyzing starting pitchers over a season I used a minimum of 140 innings pitched to qualify.

So what is good and what is bad?  Well the "magic" number that makes you a good, upper level fantasy pitcher is 3.75.  If you are at that mark or higher you are considered an upper-echelon pitcher that is desired by most fantasy owners.  In 2010 the highest rated pitcher according to SPFV was Roy Halladay at 5.07.  There were 26 pitchers in 2010 that scored a mark of 3.75 or better on the SPFV scale.  The lowest score of qualifying pitchers on the scale in 2010 is awarded to Scott Kazmir at a meek 1.93. The average rating of all 108 pitchers that qualified inning wise in 2010 is 3.22.  45% of the qualifying pitchers scored higher than 3.22 in 2010.

Here are the top-40 starting pitchers of 2010 based on SPFV:

Name
SPFV
Name
SPFV
Name
SPFV
Name
SPFV
Roy Halladay
5.07
Jered Weaver
4.17
Justin Verlander
3.87
Max Scherzer
3.54
Josh Johnson
5.04
Clayton Kershaw
4.14
Johan Santana
3.84
C.J. Wilson
3.52
Adam Wainwright
5.00
Jon Lester
4.05
Tim Lincecum
3.83
Shaun Marcum
3.51
Felix Hernandez
4.99
Cliff Lee
4.04
Brett Myers
3.8
Yovani Gallardo
3.47
Clay Buchholz
4.76
Cole Hamels
4.02
Matt Cain
3.77
Colby Lewis
3.45
David Price
4.42
CC Sabathia
3.96
Chris Carpenter
3.75
Ted Lilly
3.44
Roy Oswalt
4.34
Tim Hudson
3.95
Francisco Liriano
3.68
Chad Billingsley
3.44
Mat Latos
4.28
R.A. Dickey
3.93
Gio Gonzalez
3.63
Wandy Rodriguez
3.41
Ubaldo Jimenez
4.24
Trevor Cahill
3.90
Hiroki Kuroda
3.57
Anibal Sanchez
3.38
Jaime Garcia
4.21
Jonathan Sanchez
3.88
Tommy Hanson
3.57
Ryan Dempster
3.35


Historically speaking I analyzed every qualifying starting pitcher using SPFV since 1990 and here are some fun facts.  The highest score ever on the scale is awarded to Greg Maddux's 1994 performance with a 7.03 mark.  The lowest rating goes to Jim Abbot's 1996 performance that scored in at 1.15. 

Here are the top-40 starting pitchers of 2011 based on SPFV:

Name
SPFV
Name
SPFV
Name
SPFV
Name
SPFV
Clayton Kershaw
5.42
CC Sabathia
4.29
Madison Bumgarner
3.90
Jon Lester
3.63
Justin Verlander
5.22
Ryan Vogelsong
4.22
Hiroki Kuroda
3.89
David Price
3.62
Roy Halladay
5.21
Josh Beckett
4.18
Zack Greinke
3.83
Daniel Hudson
3.6
Cliff Lee
5.12
C.J. Wilson
4.12
Yovani Gallardo
3.79
Justin Masterson
3.6
Jered Weaver
4.88
Doug Fister
4.04
Tim Hudson
3.75
Brandon Beachy
3.59
Johnny Cueto
4.64
Matt Cain
4.00
Jeremy Hellickson
3.73
Josh Collmenter
3.54
Ian Kennedy
4.41
Ricky Romero
3.99
Matt Garza
3.71
Mat Latos
3.51
Cole Hamels
4.37
Dan Haren
3.97
Jordan Zimmermann
3.71
Chris Carpenter
3.5
James Shields
4.32
Gio Gonzalez
3.91
Felix Hernandez
3.68
Alexi Ogando
3.5
Tim Lincecum
4.3
Jair Jurrjens
3.91
Brandon McCarthy
3.64
Matt Harrison
3.48


























































































No comments:

Post a Comment