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Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategy 2012: 4 Sabermetric Stats You Need to Follow

Eric MatulaContributor IIMay 31, 2016

Fantasy Baseball Draft Strategy 2012: 4 Sabermetric Stats You Need to Follow

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    Thanks to Bill James, the sabermetric world has been ruling fantasy baseball for decades.

    Although most fantasy leagues don't use a lot of sabermetric numbers, stats such as OPS and WHIP are very common in leagues today.

    And even if you're league might not include any sabermetrics, there are four key stats that will influence the typical numbers (batting average, home runs, ERA, etc.).

    Here's a list of the four sabremetric stats that you must follow in order to dominate your fantasy league.

BABIP

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    What it stands for

    Batting Average on Balls In Play.

     

    What it says

    BABIP measures how many of a batter's balls in play go for hits, or how many balls in play against a pitcher go for a hit, excluding home runs.

     

    Why it's important

    BABIP can be used to spot fluky seasons.

     

    How to use it

    Compare it to their career BABIP numbers. If a player's BABIP was abnormally high or low during a particular season, it's safe to assume it will hover around their career averages the next season.

     

    Key examples

    Adrian Gonzalez. A-Gon hit .338 last season, 34 points higher than his previous career-high set in 2006. Now, look at his BABIP from last year: it was .380. Gonzalez's career BABIP is .323, meaning A-Gon should most likely come close to that in 2012, which will lower his batting average.

    Pitching wise, James Shields is a good example. From 2006-2010, Shields' BABIP was never lower than .282 Then, in 2011, Shields had a remarkable .258. Expect the BABIP to increase for Shields, meaning worse numbers in his 2012 campaign.

HR/FB Ratio

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    What it stands for

    Home Run to Fly Ball Rate.

     

    What it says

    HR/FB is the ratio of home runs a player hits out of their total number of fly balls.

     

    Why it's important

    HR/FB is useful in providing context about how sustainable a player's power numbers are. 

     

    How to use it

    Compare it to their career HR/FB ratios. If a player has a spike or dip in home runs, you want to know what exactly happened. If a player suddenly doubles his HR total, it's important to see if he was hitting more fly balls, or if he was just getting lucky.

     

    Key examples

    Matt Wieters. Wieters hit 22 home runs in 2011 and had 11 home runs in 2010. The alarming stat about these numbers: his HR/FB increased by more than five percent. This means he was hitting the same amount of fly balls, but he found a way to double his HR total.

    Pitching wise, Daniel Hudson is a good example. Hudson put up very solid numbers in 2011: 16 wins with a 3.49 ERA. However, there's more behind those numbers. Chase Field was in the top 10 in home runs allowed, so you have to expect Hudson's 6.4 percent HR/FB rate to increase in 2012, meaning slightly higher numbers.

FIP

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    What it stands for

    Fielder Independent Pitching.

     

    What it says

    FIP measures a pitcher's effectiveness based solely on plays that aren't affected by fielders, which are home runs, strikeouts, hit batters and walks.

     

    Why it's important

    Pitchers have little control on balls in play. FIP can assess a pitcher's talents by looking at stats only he can control. It is also useful in projecting stats from season to season.

     

    How to use it

    Compare a pitcher's FIP to his ERA. If there is a dramatic discrepancy between the two, then that pitcher most likely had a fluke season. Here's a gauge to rank FIPs: 2.90 is excellent, 4.00 is average and anything 4.50 or higher is poor.

     

    Key example

    Ricky Romero. Many will look at Romero's 2011 stats (15 wins, 2.92 ERA) as a stepping stone for more great seasons to come. However, his FIP of 4.20 was below average last year. The difference between his ERA and FIP suggests he was very lucky last season, and he won't be able to repeat those numbers in 2012.

     

     

LOB Percentage

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    What it stands for

    Left On Base Percentage.

     

    What it says

    LOB percent is the percentage of base runners allowed that didn't score a run.

     

    Why it's important

    LOB percentage is used to track a pitcher's luck or effectiveness.

     

    How to use it

    Compare it their career LOB percentages and, also, compare it to their ERA. ERA will most likely be linked to a pitcher's LOB percentage. Obviously the higher the LOB, the lower the ERA

     

    Key examples

    Ian Kennedy. Last season, Kennedy had a 79.2 LOB percentage, which was almost four points higher than in 2010. The result: Kennedy saw his ERA drop from 3.80 to 2.88. Was it effectiveness or luck? That's the important question. Don't be surprised if Kennedy's ERA jumps up to the mid-threes in 2012.

    David Price is another good example. In 2010, Price won 19 games with a sparkling 2.72 ERA. But he was also the benefactor of a 78.5 LOB percentage. What happened in 2011? His LOB percentage dropped to 73.3 percent and the ERA increased to 3.49.

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