Who Says Flyballs Are Bad For Pitchers?

Andrew Benintendi  A good hitter already, but unless your league counts Doubles as a category I wouldn’t go overboard. Should hit .290 with 15 HRs, but at the bottom of the lineup and with just a few SBs. Solid filler in mixed leagues but he’s going higher than that. $14

Nick Castellanos Made some noise before he got hurt. Not the most disciplined hitter but owns a career 25.5% LD rate, and last year hit more FBs than GBs, by a lot. That explains the career-high 18 HRs in only 110 games, and 5 of the 18 were to the right of CF. I expect that pace to hold up unto 27 in 2017. The BA will be decent but has a built-in ceiling with those 43% FBs and his usual 25% Ks. Nice RBI slot, 6th on the Tigers. $18        

Todd Frazier  Doesn’t seem to be generating any Last Year’s Bum love except from me. So he hit .225, that’s bad, but he’s now a lifetime .250 hitter. Isn’t that a much better bet than .225? Meanwhile during his terrible season he scored 89 Runs and drove in 98, which both ranked 6th among 3Bs, and oh yeah he hit 40 home runs and stole 15 bases. To obtain these numbers at a discounted price is the very essence of winning roto. Just so you know. $23

Kenley Jansen  I still see analysts preaching the “ground ball good, flyball bad” gospel to the I hope unfaithful. Because it ain’t so. I didn’t run my usual study of the matter last year, I thought the issue was settled, but no and so here we go.

I take the 50 pitchers with the highest GB rates, and the Top 50 flyballers, with a minimum of 50 innings pitched. I compare them in the roto pitcher cats. Note that I do not add them all up and divide, because that tilts the numbers in favor of the pitchers who throw more innings, i.e. the better pitchers. I take the average of their ERAs and WHIPs and K rates. If you do it by totals your numbers will be a little different. But they will say the same thing.

I’ve probably run the numbers ten times and with minor variations they say the same thing every time: GB pitchers have lower ERAs and get more Wins, but FB pitchers have lower WHIPs and strike out more batters. Statistically they’re a wash. But the FBs did a lot better in Wins in 2016:


GB 3.433 1.273 8.11 4.5
FB 3.848 1.222 8.87 6.9
MLB 4.190 1.325 8.10 n/a


Last year you wanted the FB pitcher. It can happen that you would want GBs in a particular year, it depends on the size of the differences in that year – like last year the ERA edge for the GBs was bigger than usual, but the huge Win edge for the FBs, probably a fluke, more than matches it.

The larger insight to be gleaned, again, is that extreme pitchers either way are good pitchers. That doesn’t mean all of them will be, there are plenty of stiffs on both extremes too, but it’s a nice plus. Of course you want the flyballer in a big ballpark with a trio of speedy outfielders, and the groundballer who gets the extra K, with a good infield defense behind him.

Kenley Jansen is an extreme FB pitcher (second only to Ryan Buchter in all of baseball among Ps with 50 IP.) He’s probably going to get a lot of Saves with really good decimals and 100 Ks. $22


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