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Most important attributes when scouting Pitchers


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#1 5catstud

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 07:57 PM

If you could rank the most important traits in evaluating how good a pitcher is, what would it be?

A few for starters

-Command/Control
-Velocity
-Late movement on pitches
-Mechanics
-Durability
-Endurance
-Poise
-Variety of pitches
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7x7 (H, R, RBI, SB, BB, BA, OPS) x (W, L, BB, K, WHIP, ERA, S)

C - Salvador Perez
1B - Billy Butler
2B - Robinson Cano
SS - Starlin Castro
3B - Edwin Encarnacion
OF - Justin Upton
OF - Shin-Soo Choo
OF - Matt Holiday
Util - Dominic Brown
Bench - Leonys Martin
Bench - Jedd Gyorko
Bench - Carl Crawford
Bench - Adam Lind

SP - Adam Wainwright, David Price, Max Scherzer, Matt Harvey, Jose Fernandez
RP - Jim Henderson, Chris Perez, Francisco Rodriguez, Oliver Perez

#2 FantasyShmantasy

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 08:00 PM

If we are talking about tangible things, K:BB ratio is a good indicator.

#3 Z06vette

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 08:04 PM

Composure
build
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#4 johnsansomsmith

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 08:34 PM

Good stats

#5 djmax101

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 08:40 PM

Steamer tracks velocity and they have paced the field for several years in predicting pitching stats. I believe they are the only major prediction system that incorporates it. As a result, I'd have to go with velocity.

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#6 TheGreatUnwashed

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 08:56 PM

K/9 and K:BB ratio are my two favorites.

Edited by TheGreatUnwashed, 27 April 2013 - 08:56 PM.

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#7 yoda

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 09:00 PM

You want pitchers who miss bats; stuff is very important. Because the more they have in their arsenal, when they are off, they can still eek out a decent outing.

The ability to throw strikes is just as crucial. Pitchers who walk guys kill you because they rack up their pitch count really quickly.
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#8 WahooManiac

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Posted 27 April 2013 - 09:03 PM

Home ballpark. Sucks to hold somethin against a guy that isnt his fault but its often the difference, esp in the extreme environments. See: PETCO, Coors etc

Edit: I suppose this is more for fantasy value and after reading I think you're just talking scouting true talent level. My bad, disregard, Im a moron :)

Edited by WahooManiac, 27 April 2013 - 09:05 PM.

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#9 ssmarsh

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 04:20 AM

IP-H is gold. Everything else is bunk, especially wins.
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#10 Smallball

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 05:07 AM

Interesting question.

There are a few different ways that pitchers become 'elite'. You have your super prospects like Strasburg, Felix, ect. You see these guys coming, they don't always pan out but they are on everyone's radar.

There's really no reason to talk about them. What I'll focus on is the guys who go from "throwers" to pitchers. Guys who have the stuff but don't know how to pitch.

I think people get way to caught up in the stats, and don't get me wrong I've been able to use underlying metrics to help point out a breakout or two over the years but nothing beats watching guys actually pitch.

MLB.tv is one of the best investments I've ever made. To watch someone pitch is worth 100 times more than looking at their line after a game. I'd encourage people to watch pitchers as much as possible. Jump from game to game and learn how guys react with the bases loaded. What kind of pitch will they throw on a 3-2 count with an elite batter on deck?
Do they throw and off speed pitch? Do they have to throw a fastball off the plate and hope they chase? Nothing in the post game stat line will answer these questions.

But if you have to rely on post game info, remember there isn't aren't many things in the game with a smaller sample size than one game for any player. So I'd recommend using pitch f/x following games on pitchers who interest you. They amount of info you can gain is immense. See if your pitcher was getting squeezed, look to see where his release point it, is one of his pitches coming froma different arm angle, perhaps hitters are picking up on this.

I guess my point is to the OP, if your looking to dominate your league mates you have to put in real effort. It does take time. If your just looking for some stats to help look for a breakout guy, I can't help out too much. There is so much more going on than any single number can project.

Sorry to be long winded, but I will tell you that I targeted hard Matt Moore this year. He wasn't an über prospect when he was drafted but shot up fast through the rankings. After following him last year(I avoided him because of his lack of experience and his insane draft cost) but watching his stuff he is extremely special. His problem is always control, and I was willing to wager he could improve that at least a little to make him a top 15 pitcher this year.
After watching his games I feel I pegged him correctly, though that BB% will be him in trouble a few time this year his stuff, especially that fastball are literally some of the best pitches in the game today.

#11 Nick Mitchell

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 06:30 AM

Interesting question.

There are a few different ways that pitchers become 'elite'. You have your super prospects like Strasburg, Felix, ect. You see these guys coming, they don't always pan out but they are on everyone's radar.

There's really no reason to talk about them. What I'll focus on is the guys who go from "throwers" to pitchers. Guys who have the stuff but don't know how to pitch.

I think people get way to caught up in the stats, and don't get me wrong I've been able to use underlying metrics to help point out a breakout or two over the years but nothing beats watching guys actually pitch.

MLB.tv is one of the best investments I've ever made. To watch someone pitch is worth 100 times more than looking at their line after a game. I'd encourage people to watch pitchers as much as possible. Jump from game to game and learn how guys react with the bases loaded. What kind of pitch will they throw on a 3-2 count with an elite batter on deck?
Do they throw and off speed pitch? Do they have to throw a fastball off the plate and hope they chase? Nothing in the post game stat line will answer these questions.

But if you have to rely on post game info, remember there isn't aren't many things in the game with a smaller sample size than one game for any player. So I'd recommend using pitch f/x following games on pitchers who interest you. They amount of info you can gain is immense. See if your pitcher was getting squeezed, look to see where his release point it, is one of his pitches coming froma different arm angle, perhaps hitters are picking up on this.

I guess my point is to the OP, if your looking to dominate your league mates you have to put in real effort. It does take time. If your just looking for some stats to help look for a breakout guy, I can't help out too much. There is so much more going on than any single number can project.

Sorry to be long winded, but I will tell you that I targeted hard Matt Moore this year. He wasn't an über prospect when he was drafted but shot up fast through the rankings. After following him last year(I avoided him because of his lack of experience and his insane draft cost) but watching his stuff he is extremely special. His problem is always control, and I was willing to wager he could improve that at least a little to make him a top 15 pitcher this year.
After watching his games I feel I pegged him correctly, though that BB% will be him in trouble a few time this year his stuff, especially that fastball are literally some of the best pitches in the game today.


This is a fantastic post, and I agree with the "eye test" vs. numbers (even though numbers, especially certain things, can be helpful and with fantasy as well for me too because they do help show trends-- though as for scouting goes, I think a combination and the eye factor is DEFNITELY needed, and may even help with fantasy players who are only interested in it).

Being from and currently residing in Chicago with decent enough cable that I'm splitting into my TV, off of another box (in other words, I get enough for the time being and can find sports footage out of the city through other means I need not bother explaining...), I watch nearly every single Cubs and Sox game that time allows me, and last season, I had invested in both Sale & Samardjiza ($9 on Sale in the auction, and a WW pickup w/ a $1 FAAB bid for Shark, but I dropped him when he hit that really short bad stretch regrettably, even if it did not cost me in the end) and being able to watch them pitch nearly every game really gave me an idea of how they projected (in my opinion-- and I think, in the long-run, Samardjiza will have more success and less chance of injury-- though the bit about injury is likely a general consensus among many fans). Point being, seeing them pitch, getting an idea for how gutsy they were to throw in 3-2 counts in key spots or w/ the bases juiced, to see if one of them would try to wing a slider in there and get a swinging K or catch the batter off-guard.... or a change. And the same goes for other pitchers, when I had purchases the MLB Package from 2008-2011 or so.... it is just nice to see the pitchers with your own eyes, especially when the camera angles aren't crap, and the television quality is good. And I still love hearing Vin Scully call a Dodgers game when he does (or did?).

My only question would be how the MLB.tv package compares to the Extra Innings bundle? I always consider buying the latter around the ASB when the price cuts.... and if my fantasy teams are still competitive by then. Haha.
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#12 baltimore_boy

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 09:25 AM


Interesting question.

There are a few different ways that pitchers become 'elite'. You have your super prospects like Strasburg, Felix, ect. You see these guys coming, they don't always pan out but they are on everyone's radar.

There's really no reason to talk about them. What I'll focus on is the guys who go from "throwers" to pitchers. Guys who have the stuff but don't know how to pitch.

I think people get way to caught up in the stats, and don't get me wrong I've been able to use underlying metrics to help point out a breakout or two over the years but nothing beats watching guys actually pitch.

MLB.tv is one of the best investments I've ever made. To watch someone pitch is worth 100 times more than looking at their line after a game. I'd encourage people to watch pitchers as much as possible. Jump from game to game and learn how guys react with the bases loaded. What kind of pitch will they throw on a 3-2 count with an elite batter on deck?
Do they throw and off speed pitch? Do they have to throw a fastball off the plate and hope they chase? Nothing in the post game stat line will answer these questions.

But if you have to rely on post game info, remember there isn't aren't many things in the game with a smaller sample size than one game for any player. So I'd recommend using pitch f/x following games on pitchers who interest you. They amount of info you can gain is immense. See if your pitcher was getting squeezed, look to see where his release point it, is one of his pitches coming froma different arm angle, perhaps hitters are picking up on this.

I guess my point is to the OP, if your looking to dominate your league mates you have to put in real effort. It does take time. If your just looking for some stats to help look for a breakout guy, I can't help out too much. There is so much more going on than any single number can project.

Sorry to be long winded, but I will tell you that I targeted hard Matt Moore this year. He wasn't an über prospect when he was drafted but shot up fast through the rankings. After following him last year(I avoided him because of his lack of experience and his insane draft cost) but watching his stuff he is extremely special. His problem is always control, and I was willing to wager he could improve that at least a little to make him a top 15 pitcher this year.
After watching his games I feel I pegged him correctly, though that BB% will be him in trouble a few time this year his stuff, especially that fastball are literally some of the best pitches in the game today.


This is a fantastic post, and I agree with the "eye test" vs. numbers (even though numbers, especially certain things, can be helpful and with fantasy as well for me too because they do help show trends-- though as for scouting goes, I think a combination and the eye factor is DEFNITELY needed, and may even help with fantasy players who are only interested in it).

Being from and currently residing in Chicago with decent enough cable that I'm splitting into my TV, off of another box (in other words, I get enough for the time being and can find sports footage out of the city through other means I need not bother explaining...), I watch nearly every single Cubs and Sox game that time allows me, and last season, I had invested in both Sale & Samardjiza ($9 on Sale in the auction, and a WW pickup w/ a $1 FAAB bid for Shark, but I dropped him when he hit that really short bad stretch regrettably, even if it did not cost me in the end) and being able to watch them pitch nearly every game really gave me an idea of how they projected (in my opinion-- and I think, in the long-run, Samardjiza will have more success and less chance of injury-- though the bit about injury is likely a general consensus among many fans). Point being, seeing them pitch, getting an idea for how gutsy they were to throw in 3-2 counts in key spots or w/ the bases juiced, to see if one of them would try to wing a slider in there and get a swinging K or catch the batter off-guard.... or a change. And the same goes for other pitchers, when I had purchases the MLB Package from 2008-2011 or so.... it is just nice to see the pitchers with your own eyes, especially when the camera angles aren't crap, and the television quality is good. And I still love hearing Vin Scully call a Dodgers game when he does (or did?).


The bold is an exact situation where watching the pitcher pitch helps determine things about them. I can't remember what pitch it was, but the Cubs had Samardzija try out a new pitch for that month, and it was just horrible. The hitters were jumping on the pitch everytime he threw it. After a few starts though, he ditched the pitch and went back to what he had been doing all year, and he was much better and had a tremendous finish to the year. Not to single you out because the guy in my league did the same thing, but just reading his box score for the month would have caused pain to his owner and most people probably dropped him, when all he had to do was get rid of the pitch and he was back to his early season form.
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#13 pbjfb

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 09:46 PM

is there any stats that give indication of "command"?

#14 tonguetied89

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 10:57 PM

is there any stats that give indication of "command"?


I generally just look at the BB/9 stat for that. You want it under 4.

Anyone else look at other numbers for 'command'?

#15 pnoozi

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 11:05 PM

I look at WHIP, K/9 and ERA mainly. Look at IP for durability. If a guy pitches well over 200 innings that's a big plus, and a big positive indicator. Also, browse their game log, see what a typical outing looks like and spot any outlying games. Also take into account team run support (Wins can give you an idea of this).

But I agree... watching is very important as well. Being familiar with baseball in general is the way you'll know which guys have that extra "something." I look for a guy with good command (always hitting the corners), good situational IQ, and a rising fastball.

Edited by pnoozi, 05 May 2013 - 11:09 PM.

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#16 grimsfield

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Posted 05 May 2013 - 11:16 PM

WHIP first and foremost. (good ERAs follow good WHIPs)
BB/9
K/9
HR/9
BA against
home ballpark.

its also good to look at a pitchers stuff, but just because they have good stuff doesn't at all mean they're going to be a good pitcher. if they don't have command or composure, their stuff is meaningless. The worst pitchers are pitchers who can't handle the mental aspects of pitching. See Olver perez, Dontrelle Willis, etc. The best way to judge composure is by actually watching a pitcher pitch, especially in a tough situation. Another way is to look at game logs. Look for consistency. Look at how they rebound from bad games. Look at how they pitch against good offenses in tough ballparks.
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#17 9703

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 01:59 AM


is there any stats that give indication of "command"?


I generally just look at the BB/9 stat for that. You want it under 4.

Anyone else look at other numbers for 'command'?


That's control, not command.
Also, it should be under 3, not 4.

#18 tonguetied89

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 03:06 AM

edit: i stand corrected

Edited by tonguetied89, 06 May 2013 - 03:12 AM.


#19 Damn Yankee

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 08:54 AM

pre-draft it's hard to rely on the previous years numbers...you do make some assumptions that the trend will continue if a pitcher is on the same team and the team is in relatively in the same position roster wise as the year before (although the latter should only affect only the W stat...but it is a measurable). Add to that mix the age of the pitcher (were they 33 and now 34, or 27 and now 28), whether they had an injury or not...or a history of injuries...and I start to get a feel for where I want to take a guy.

I asked a good friend of mine who's been in roto leagues for the last 12 years for advice on what to look for in 5x5 leagues when evaluating pitchers. I did this because my first year in FB I was solid in the hitting categories and absolutely dreadful in the pitching categories and finished middle-of-the-pack. I had no idea what I was doing with pitchers, and it showed. He is a consistent contender/winner in his two leagues...and absolutely SWEARS by F-strike%. He showed me a couple of articles on fangraphs (The Importance of Strike One (parts 1 & 2)), and where to find those stats, and why he thinks they're important.

Of course K:BB ratio, K & BB/9, etc. are significant measurables ..but on advice from a friend, I started paying attention to f-strike% also, and I like the results so far.
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#20 MontyBrns9

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Posted 06 May 2013 - 09:18 AM

If you want to limit yourself to numbers, sabermetrically speaking about 70% of a pitcher's strikeout ability can be predicted/explained by pitch velocity and swinging strike %. If you want to look at who the real strikeout guys are, that's a good place to start.
10 team H2H league: 5x5 + OPS & K/BB (Currently in 1st place)
C: Yadier Molina - 1B: David Ortiz - 2B: Jason Kipnis - 3B: Manny Machado - SS: Jean Segura
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SP: Cliff Lee, Jeff Samardzija, Mike Minor, John Lackey, Patrick Corbin
RP: Jason Grilli, Greg Holland
Bench: Billy Butler, Edward Mujica, Matt Kemp, Ivan Nova, Ervin Santana - DL: BJ Upton, Matt Holliday