2010 Fantasy Baseball: Surprisingly Similar Starting Pitchers

Charlie SaponaraContributor IMarch 24, 2010

MIAMI - APRIL 06:  Starting pitcher Ricky Nolasco #47 of the Florida Marlins pitches against the Washington Nationals on opening day at Dolphin Stadium on April 6, 2009 in Miami, Florida.  (Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
Doug Benc/Getty Images
All alliteration aside, a couple days ago I took a look at Hiroki Kuroda using the "hidden name method," comparing his peripheral stats to those of Chris Carpenter.  It's an interesting way to look at two different pitchers and see how one may have had a bit more fortune than the other.  Also, it's a good way of finding some pitchers that may be overvalued or undervalued heading into 2010 drafts.

Using 2009 stats...
Player A: 9.50 K/9, 2.00 BB/9, 40% GB%
Player B: 9.49 K/9, 2.14 BB/9, 38.3 GB%

Player A is Zack Greinke
Player B is Ricky Nolasco

The key difference here was Nolasco's problems with allowing home runs.  He allowed 23 long balls while Greinke allowed only 11.

Player A: 9.74 K/9, 4.79 BB/9, 39.4% GB%

Player B: 9.19 K/9, 3.33 BB/9, 41.8% GB%

Player A is Clayton Kershaw
Player B is Max Scherzer
Kershaw ended 2009 with a 2.79 ERA while Scherzer finished with a 4.12 ERA.  Both pitchers generated a bunch of strikeouts, but Scherzer walked over a full batter less per nine innings.  A big difference here came in the BABIP against department where Kershaw had a quite low .274 BABIP against and Scherzer has a high .323 BABIP against.

Player A: 8.48 K/9, 4.22 BB/9, 2.01 K/BB
Player B: 9.75 K/9, 4.85 BB/9, 2.01 K/BB

Player A is A.J. Burnett
Player B is Jonathan Sanchez
For some reason people still seem to overvalue Burnett a bit.  Sanchez has the better strikeout rate and  his walk rate is not that much worse than Burnett's.

Player A: 8.18 K/9, 2.68 BB/9, 53.4% GB%
Player B: 8.22 K/9, 2.50 BB/9, 50.3% GB%
Player C: 8.45 K/9, 2.76 BB/9, 44.9% GB%

Player A is Felix Hernandez
Player B is Josh Johnson
Player C is Wandy Rodriguez
All three of these guys go into 2010 drafts as highly regarded pitchers, but Felix Hernandez is coming off the board well before the other two.  Hernandez has the best ground ball rate, but only by about three percent over Josh Johnson.

Player A: 7.88 K/9, 2.48 BB/9, 35.7% GB%
Player B: 7.87 K/9, 2.38 BB/9, 34.1% GB%

Player A is Johan Santana
Player B is Aaron Harang
Harang fell victim to a .339 BABIP against last season and has had some problems with the long ball over the past two seasons.  He's a great late round target in 2010.

Player A: 7.83 K/9, 1.32 BB/9
Player B: 7.81 K/9, 2.00 BB/9, 4.32 ERA, 3.72 FIP
Player C: 7.76 K/9, 2.10 BB/9, 3.09 ERA, 3.72 FIP

Player A is Roy Halladay
Player B is Cole Hamels
Player C is Cole Hamels (circa 2008)

Halladay has a much better ground ball rate, but the similarities in strikeouts and walks is quite telling.  Hamels had a .325 BABIP against last season, which was the worst of his career.  He should bounce back big time in 2010.

Player A: 7.71 K/9, 2.62 BB/9, 42.9% GB%
Player B: 7.70 K/9, 2.31 BB/9, 50.9% GB%
Player C: 7.60 K/9, 2.75 BB/9, 44.3% GB%

Player A is CC Sabathia
Player B is Brett Anderson
Player C is Gavin Floyd
Anderson has the best ground ball rate of the group as well as the highest BABIP against.  Gavin Floyd is the real sleeper here as he heads into his age 27 season.

Player A: 6.84 K/9, 2.13 BB/9, 42.3% GB%
Player B: 6.78 K/9, 2.14 BB/9, 46.2% GB%

Player A is James Shields
Player B is Jason Hammel

The difference in ADP is quite significant despite the similarities between the two.  Hammel was a highly regarded pitching prospect in the Rays system at one point, but was overshadowed by other pitching prospects like David Price, Wade Davis, Jeremy Hellickson, etc.  despite pitching in Coors field last season, Hammel allowed less than one home run per nine innings while Shields allowed 1.19 home runs per nine innings.

Player A: 6.45 K/9, 2.91 BB/9, 44.8% GB%
Player B: 6.23 K/9, 2.94 BB/9, 40.5% GB%
Player C: 6.36 K/9, 3.14 BB/9, 42.9% GB%

Player A is Kevin Correia
Player B is Jeff Niemann
Player C is Jair Jurrjens

This is exactly why I will not draft Jurrjens this season.  I don't think anyone will go out of their way to target either Correia or Niemann in 12-team mixed leagues, yet Jurrjens will likely go off the board in the mid-rounds or earlier.  Also, Jurrjens benefited from a low .273 BABIP against last season.
This last one is my favorite.

Player A: 6.73 K/9, 1.73 BB/9
Player B: 6.64 K/9, 1.76 BB/9

Player A is Chris Carpenter
Player B is Carl Pavano

I left out ground ball rate for effect only.  Carpenter's ground ball rate is better by over 10 percent.  Still, it goes to show just how good Pavano's command is and that he could be one of those pitchers who ends up surprising everyone in 2010 off the waiver wire. 

Charlie Saponara is the owner/author of fantasybaseball365.com and can be contacted at cs.fb365@gmail.com


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