No Runs For You!

FelixShould you take Justin Verlander, David Price, or Felix Hernandez as the first pitcher in your fantasy league? Well, the Mariners haven’t helped King Felix win many games due to their inability to score runs, Tampa Bay has a pretty pathetic offense, and Verlander has Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder to back him up. While Verlander, Price, and Hernandez will post similar ERA, WHIP, and strikeout totals, Verlander will tend to get the nod due to the added wins.

In 2012, Cliff Lee was 6-9 over 30 starts and 211 innings. He didn’t win his first game until July 4, his 14th start, after winning 17 games in 2011. Lee has already won two games in 2013, something that he couldn’t say he did last season until July 31 last year.

This year, the name is Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg has lost four games already in 2013. In 2012, he didn’t lose his fourth game until July 6. While wins are quite overrated in the statistical world, when a pitcher isn’t getting them, those who follow the sport feel like they may be doing something wrong.

Is Strasburg doing anything wrong?

Year Age Tm W L W-L% ERA GS IP H R ER HR BB SO WHIP SO/BB
2010 21 WSN 5 3 .625 2.91 12 68.0 56 25 22 5 17 92 1.074 5.41
2011 22 WSN 1 1 .500 1.50 5 24.0 15 5 4 0 2 24 0.708 12.00
2012 23 WSN 15 6 .714 3.16 28 159.1 136 62 56 15 48 197 1.155 4.10
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 4/24/2013.

Over his career, Strasburg has won 67.7 percent of his decisions while posting a no-decision percentage of 31.2 percent. Nearly one-third of his starts have led to no-decisions, so in a given year, based on his first 45 starts of his career and 33 stars in a 162-game season, Strasburg would average a 15-7 record, a 2.93 ERA, a 1.09 WHIP, and a 4.67 K:BB. This season, Strasburg’s 3.16 ERA, 1.12 WHIP, and a 3.5 K:BB.

While Strasburg’s walks seem to be up a bit, his peripheral statistics show that there isn’t much that he can be held accountable for. His xFIP is up to 3.86 (his career xFIP is 2.68), so there may be something there, but most of the blame can be attributed to the bats when he starts. Only Kevin Slowey (0.75) and Joe Saunders (1.20) have lower run support  than Strasburg (1.40) this season. At 1-4, Strasburg is a fantastic buy-low option in fantasy leagues for anyone unintelligent enough to trade him right now for this reason.

bumgarnerOther pitchers suffering from run support (RS) issues this season include:

Jeff Samardzija (3.03 ERA vs. 2.00 RS)

Trevor Cahill (3.60 ERA vs. 2.00 RS)

Madison Bumgarner (1.87 ERA vs. 2.60 RS)

Kris Medlen and Shelby Miller (2.16 ERA vs. 2.75 RS)

Clayton Kershaw (2.14 ERA vs. 2.80 RS)

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