Fantasy Baseball: Soppe’s Stat Rant

By Kyle Soppe

[Editor’s Note: We are pleased to welcome Kyle Soppe to the staff of Kyle mines overlooked statistical nuggets about Fantasy Baseball, Football and Basketball to provide insights that are both informative and entertaining. TM]

Information is everywhere. Player A’s batting average? Common knowledge. Player B’s BABIP? Memorized by 70 percent of the Fantasy community and mentioned on nearly every primary Fantasy Baseball outlet. Play C’s career trajectory? Please. My girlfriend told me that she’s worried about Felix Hernandez’ pitch count yesterday … just before she asked me why players are required to “walk” to first base after the fourth pitch that is “difficult to hit.” Information is not hard to find, new information is. A new lens to look through could provide you with the insight it takes to separate yourself from your competition.

Whatya say we work on winning you a title via some unique statistics that no one else in your league has? Here is my patent “Stat Rant,” where one-of-a-kind statistics drip from my pen like water from a faucet.

  • Clayton Kershaw: 23 Soppe Starts in last 44 appearances (QS plus at least a strikeout per inning)
  • Yu Darvish’s walk rate dropped by 12.8 percent last season … yet he still walked 20 more batters (33.3 percent more) than Cliff Lee has in the past two seasons.
  • Clayton Kershaw at age 22: 13 wins, 2.91 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 2.62 K:BB ratio.
  • Shelby Miller at age 22: 15 wins, 3.06 ERA, 1.21 WHIP, 2.96 K:BB ratio.
  • As much as we hate wins, it is still a category in most leagues. Zack Greinke has won nearly the same percentage of his starts since the beginning of 2011 (51.1 percent) as Clayton Kershaw (51.5 percent).
  • Madison Bumgarner gave up 48 fewer hits than Kris Medlen despite pitching 4.1 fewer innings.
  • Jordan Zimmerman has opened back-to-back seasons with three of four months at a sub 3.00 ERA level.
    • Opponents hit .320 when putting the ball in play on the first or second pitch against Anibal Sanchez.
    • Two players recorded a “quality start” in at least 75 percent of their outings but struck out less than seven batters per nine innings and had an ERA north of 3.00: Travis Wood and Nate Eovaldi.
    • Jeff Samardzija was the only starter in the league with a BABIP over .300 that averaged a strikeout per inning.
    • The Cubs won nine of Samardzija’s 19 quality starts last season.
    • Patrick Corbin (11-1 2.35 ERA in the first half of the season) won fewer games than Brad Ziegler and had a higher ERA than Ryan Dempster (you know, the pitcher who can’t pitch this season) in last season’s second half.
    • Mike Minor held opponents to a lower OBP than Yu Darvish, Adam Wainwright, and Steven Strasburg.
    • Andrew Cashner notched a 3.09 ERA while giving up only 12 homers and a .233 BAA; the only other starter to make at least 30 appearances and reach those numbers? Clayton Kershaw.
    • 21.1 percent of hits allowed by A.J. Griffin left the yard last season despite playing in Coliseum (25th in HR rate). He was the only pitcher to rank in the bottom ten in home runs allowed and the top ten in opponent batting average (minimum of 30 starts).
    • There is a pitcher ranked outside 35 at his position and Top 140 overall that is averaging 202.3 strikeouts and 16 wins since 2009 if you subtract an outlier 2012 campaign. He just turned 30 and plays for a perennial contender. He is – Jon Lester.
    • Over the last two seasons, a pitcher who won 20 games the year prior averaged 13.1 wins in 30.9 starts. Max Scherzer was the only pitcher to win 20 games in 2013.
    • Chris Archer held right-handed batters to a .218 slugging percentage last season; that’s 19 points lower than righties’ OBP and 43 points lower than lefties’ BA against the phenom.  Lefties had a greater slugging percentage against him than righties had OPS.
    • Chris Sale’s WAR was 50 percent higher than any other pitcher who lost at least 11 games last season.
    • Only Cliff Lee walked fewer batters in at least 191 innings of work last season than Bronson Arroyo.
    • Only four pitchers gave up more hits than Adam Wainwright last season: the average ERA of those four was 4.44 (51 percent higher than Wainwright’s).

    Statistics like these are not simply limited to hurlers. Every Fantasy format requires balance, and the Stat Rant is no different. Here are notes to remember when drafting hitters in preparation for your run to a title in 2014.

    • Alfonso Soriano hit 13 homers and stole 11 bases against LHP. The other seven players who stole at least 11 bases against lefties combined to hit eight homers.
    • Paul Goldschmidt was the only player not named Mike Trout to bat .300, score 100 runs, and swipe 10 bases.
    • 10.3 percent of Jed Lowrie’s at-bats ended with an extra base knock, besting Adrian Beltre and Prince Fielder (both 9.8 percent).
    • 160 players hit at least 12 home runs last season. Adam Jones was the only one of them to hit more homers than walks drawn that did not play catcher.
    • No player in the league that hit better than .285 had a worse K:BB ratio than Torii Hunter.
    • Over the last five seasons, Rajai Davis is averaging one stolen base 9.3 at-bats (65 steal pace for a 600 at-bat season) while maintaining a .271 batting average (very similar to his .268 career average). Jacoby Ellsbury lead the league in steals last season with 52 and stole one base every 11.1 at-bats. As of this moment, Davis is penciled into Tigers every day lineup.
    • Elvis Andrus’ RBI total has risen three straight seasons, peaking at 67 last year as the Rangers primary number two hitter. Texas leadoff hitters had an OBP of .336 in 2013. Shin Soo-Choo’s career OBP is .389, and he set a career-high last season by reaching base 42.3 percent of the time.
    • Michael Bourn has finished in the each of the last three seasons among the four most caught base stealers in the league. His stolen base total has dropped by 19 in consecutive seasons.
    • Brandon Moss is averaging one RBI every 5.12 at-bats over the last two seasons. That’s better than David Ortiz (5.17), Carlos Gonzalez (5.86), and Robinson Cano (6.13).
    • In 16 more at-bats, Jayson Werth recorded 12 more runs, nine more steals, and had a better batting average than Troy Tulowitzki while matching him with 25 homers, 82 RBI, and a .931 OPS. Werth is being drafted some 50 picks later.
    • The Yankees put $250 million into their outfield this offseason in Brett Gardner, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Carlos Beltran. Alfonso Soriano is being drafted in the seventh round.
    • Victor Martinez was the only player with over 170 hits and 70 RBI that failed to have more than 50 extra base hits.
    • Martinez has had four consecutive seasons (dating back to 2009 because he missed 2012) with at least 50 extra base hits and a .300 batting average. Prince Fielder and David Wright have combined for four such seasons since 2009.
    • David Ortiz had more extra base hits (70) than Adrian Beltre and Adam Jones. He had 113 fewer at-bats than Beltre and 135 fewer than Jones.
    • Of the 34 players who stole more than 20 bases, only Mike Trout and Andrew McCutchen took more walks than Jason Kipnis.
    • Two players stole at least 20 bases, succeeded at least 85 percent of the time, and slugged at least .500. Both are nicknamed CarGo.
    • Two players ranked in the top 30 in stolen bases and recorded at least 35 extra base hits in fewer than 500 at-bats:  Will Venable and Leonys Martin.
    • Jose Altuve’s 35 stolen bases led all players with at least 175 hits.
    • Jose Bautista: 452 at-bats, 117 hits, 52 extra base hits, .358 OBP, .498 SLG.
      Adam Lind: 465 at-bats, 134 hits, 50 extra base hits, .357 OBP, .497 SLG
      Bautista is going about 15 rounds earlier.
    • Mike Napoli has now played 100-plus games with three different teams. In his first such season with a team, he batted .281 while averaging 74.3 RBI and 70.3 runs. In the season following, he’s batted .234 while averaging 62 RBI and 56.5 RBI.