Definitions used in Painting the Black by Mdell

Hello all!

If you do not know, my name is Matt or mdellagnese14 in slack. Also, mdellagnese14 on Twitter!

I was brought to the DFS Army to write pitching articles for all members of the DFSArmy! If you are not a member, join the DFSArmy and use promo code “DFSMATT” to get 10% off your subscription!

Pitching is one of the most, if not the most important position in your MLB lineups and selecting the right one will help you tremendously. Go check out the MLB Pitching Strategy article to get my thought process on picking these pitchers each slate!

 

I’m writing this small little article to clean up my pitching breakdowns each day and making them a bit shorter. Instead of having all the definitions located in my article, they will be connected through a link each day.

All of the definitions that I have are from fangraphs.com and mlb.com. I will have the definitions, and write why I use them throughout my articles! Enjoy!

 

Definitions

K% (Strikeout Percentage): Frequency with which the pitcher has struck out a batter, calculated as strikeouts divided by total batters faced.

An average K% is 20%, anything above is considered great or elite.

K% is one of the statistics that I use the most in my articles. Strikeouts rack up points across all sites and can easily zero out earned runs given up by the pitchers. When looking for pitchers on the day, it is important to make sure they are getting the most points possible. The higher the strikeout rate, the more points they can be expected to get. Pitchers who have a high strikeout rate pitching against a team with a high strikeout rate COULD be tournament GOLD. Strikeouts are a big factor in determining the upside of a pitcher on a slate.

BB% (Walk Percentage): Frequency with which the pitcher has issued a walk, calculated as walks divided by total batters faced. Average BB% for pitchers is 7.7%, anything lower is considered great or elite

The reason for listing a walk % in my articles is to show which pitchers are, or are not allowing free passes to hitters. On the sites like DraftKings and Fantasydraft, they subtract points for hits and walks. Finding the pitchers with lower BB% is key. If a pitcher has a high walk rate, they better have a high strikeout rate to make up for it. Walks can tend to lead to runs, which leads to losing points and no one wants that. Obviously the lower the better, but if a pitcher has a bit high walk rate, he could still make it in my article depending on the other factors.

 

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BABIP (Batting Average on Balls in Play): The rate at which the pitcher allows a hit when the ball is put in play. A BABIP at or near .300 is considered average. EXAMPLE: if a pitcher has a BABIP of .200 it means he could be getting lucky and balls in play are turned into outs if they have a BABIP of .400 he could be getting unlucky on balls in play and they are turning into hits.

Weighted On-Base Average (wOBA): A rate stat that credits a hitter for the value of each outcome rather than having each hit or time on base equal. wOBA is a better representation of offense value.

Expected wOBA: Expected weighted on-base average (xwOBA) is formulated using exit velocity and launch angle, two metrics measured by Statcast. xwOBA takes the defense out of the equation and is the number that the offensive player is expected to get if the defense was not a factor.

 

The three definitions listed above are all sort of intertwined. The xwOBA is the best one to use, but wOBA and BABIP are still important factors. BABIP shows me if a team is getting lucky or unlucky when they put balls in play. Things like robbed home runs or amazing diving plays can lower a team’s BABIP number. When selecting a pitcher, their BABIP can show me their luck in their starts. It is not a big factor that I use, but if their BABIP is something like .400 or .100 we can expect them to start to regress to the mean around .300.

wOBA and xwOBA are stats that I use to see how well pitchers are limiting the hitters the face. The lower the better obviously. When selecting pitchers, we do not want them to be allowing baserunners. If the wOBA is HIGHER than the xwOBA, the pitchers could be getting a bit unlucky. If the xwOBA is HIGHER than the wOBA, then the pitchers are getting lucky at the time.

xFIP (Expected Fielding Independent Pitching): An estimate of a pitcher’s ERA based on strikeouts, walks/HBP, and fly balls allowed, assuming league average results on balls in play and home run to fly ball ratio. The Lower the xFIP the better. 3.80 is around average.

SIERA (Skill-Interactive ERA): An ERA estimator that attempts to more accurately capture a pitcher’s performance based on strikeouts, walks/HBP, home runs, and batted ball data. The lower the better 3.80 is considered average, so anything below that is great to excellent. Anything above is poor.

xFIP and SIERA are two stats that are similar as well. SIERA shows us how good strikeouts actually are for a pitcher. It is also a better predictor of a pitchers ERA. SIERA is also adjusted to different parks too. ERA is a stat that I don’t look at much because the official scorers all think different and SIERA and xFIP are better stats to see how good or bad the pitcher SHOULD be doing.

Hard% (Hard Contact Percentage): Percentage of hard-hit batted balls. Anything below 30% is considered average or better. the lower Hard% the better, meaning pitchers are giving up more soft contact.

Hard contact is considered when the exit velocity is 95 mph or more. When selecting pitchers, Hard contact is important to look at to see how hard he is getting hit. The lower the better and if they are getting low hard contact. High hard contact does not necessarily mean the pitcher is a bad play, but it is a factor that I look at. The lower Hard%, the less chances the pitcher will get blown up.

wRC+: A rate statistic that credits a hitter for the value of each outcome rather than treating them all equally. League average is 100, each point above or below that is one percentage point better or worse than league average. wRC+ is a better representation of offense value.

The lower the better for wRC+. It will show me how well an offense is doing regarding each hit outcome. Home runs are worth more than triples, triples are worth more than doubles, etc. If a team has a very low wRC+ and low other advanced stats, he usually is a great play that day. High wRC+’s doesn’t always mean that pitcher is a bad play that day, but it makes me look deeper into that pitcher.

O-Swing% = Swings at pitches outside the zone/pitches outside the zone

O-Swing% is a stat that I just started to use recently. It shows how well the pitcher is getting hitters to chase at pitches. This could be the result of great off-speed pitches or is being deceptive. The higher O-Swing% could result in more strikeouts as well.

SwStr% = Swings and misses/Total Pitches

Swinging Strike rate shows how well a pitcher is missing bats on every swing and miss that happens. Don’t mix this up with Whiff Rate which I will explain next. Swinging strike rates can let researchers know how good a pitchers “stuff” is. The higher SwStr% rate the better and the pitchers with higher SwStr% usually are able to generate a lot of strikeouts.

More strikeouts = more points

Keep an eye on this article as it could be updated here and there!