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Fantasy Baseball: Looking at K/9 and GB%

Coming into my 2009 drafts, I found a very interesting article over at www.thebaseballanalysts.com which categorized pitchers by their K/9 and GB ratios. The importance of this for roto/fantasy owners is knowing how your pitchers get guys out. Pitchers with high K/9 and high GB ratios usually provide owners with very good win, ERA and WHIP stats, and they are the ones to target come draft day. The reason is they are getting guys out via the strikeout and inducing a high percentage of ground balls which more often than not results in an out. And ground balls don't leave the ballpark.

With that said, I provide you with the top 25 K/9 pitchers in 2009 with their corresponding GB ratios, along with some other advanced pitching stats, courtesy of www.fangraphs.com, after the jump:

Name K/9 BB/9 K/BB GB% HR/9 AVG WHIP BABIP LOB% ERA
Tim Lincecum 10.42 2.72 3.84 47.50% 0.4 0.209 1.05 0.297 75.90% 2.48
Justin Verlander 10.09 2.36 4.27 36.00% 0.75 0.244 1.18 0.328 72.70% 3.45
Jon Lester 9.96 2.83 3.52 47.70% 0.89 0.245 1.23 0.323 76.90% 3.41
Yovani Gallardo 9.89 4.56 2.17 45.00% 1.02 0.223 1.31 0.288 77.90% 3.73
Javier Vazquez 9.77 1.81 5.41 41.70% 0.82 0.226 1.03 0.297 76.60% 2.87
Jonathan Sanchez 9.75 4.85 2.01 40.70% 1.05 0.227 1.37 0.29 72.60% 4.24
Clayton Kershaw 9.74 4.79 2.03 39.40% 0.37 0.198 1.23 0.274 77.50% 2.79
Zack Greinke 9.5 2 4.75 40.00% 0.43 0.232 1.07 0.313 79.30% 2.16
Ricky Nolasco 9.49 2.14 4.43 38.30% 1.12 0.265 1.25 0.336 61.00% 5.06
Jorge de la Rosa 9.39 4.04 2.33 44.70% 0.97 0.248 1.38 0.316 71.60% 4.38
Max Scherzer 9.19 3.33 2.76 41.80% 1.06 0.257 1.34 0.323 68.70% 4.12
Dan Haren 8.75 1.49 5.87 42.90% 1.06 0.229 1 0.28 77.00% 3.14
A.J. Burnett 8.48 4.22 2.01 42.80% 1.09 0.248 1.4 0.302 75.90% 4.04
Wandy Rodriguez 8.45 2.76 3.06 44.90% 0.92 0.249 1.24 0.306 79.40% 3.02
Josh Beckett 8.43 2.33 3.62 47.20% 1.06 0.249 1.19 0.302 71.60% 3.86
Matt Garza 8.38 3.5 2.39 39.70% 1.11 0.236 1.26 0.284 75.00% 3.95
Josh Johnson 8.22 2.5 3.29 50.30% 0.6 0.238 1.16 0.299 74.90% 3.23
Chad Billingsley 8.21 3.94 2.08 45.30% 0.78 0.238 1.32 0.294 71.00% 4.03
Adam Wainwright 8.19 2.55 3.21 50.70% 0.66 0.247 1.21 0.309 80.40% 2.63
Felix Hernandez 8.18 2.68 3.06 53.40% 0.57 0.229 1.14 0.289 76.70% 2.49
Ubaldo Jimenez 8.17 3.51 2.33 52.50% 0.54 0.229 1.23 0.29 73.50% 3.47
Carlos Zambrano 8.08 4.15 1.95 44.70% 0.53 0.245 1.38 0.308 71.90% 3.77
Johan Santana 7.88 2.48 3.17 35.70% 1.08 0.249 1.21 0.296 78.00% 3.13
Aaron Harang 7.87 2.38 3.3 34.90% 1.33 0.289 1.41 0.339 75.70% 4.21
Roy Halladay 7.83 1.32 5.94 50.20% 0.83 0.258 1.13 0.313 79.00% 2.79

A couple takeaways from this analysis for me is that Jonathan Sanchez may be due for a breakout year in 2010 if he can continue pitching like he did in the seond half of 2009.

Another takeaway is I would be very afraid of drafting Johan_Santana in 2010 because you will have to spend a high draft pick or $25+ in roto leagues for a guy whose peripheral stats are taking a turn for the worse. His K/9 have decreased in each of the last 2 years, and his BB/9 and HR/9 have increased in the last 2 years.

A couple of Colorado Rockie pitchers broke out in 2009, and I am not sure we have seen the best of Ubaldo_Jimenez and Jorge De La Rosa yet. Both strikeout more than 8 batters per 9 innings, and induce ground balls at a pretty high rate in the case for Jiminez, and JDLR's GB ratio isn't that bad either. If they can increase their LOB% in 2010, they will make fantasy owners real happy.

Finally, I have already wrote about Ricky Nolasco, so I will move onto another pitcher whose peripherals scream that he could come cheap in 2010 drafts. That name is Max Scherzer, and he is an intriguing name, as he struck out more than 9 batters per 9 innings, and induced ground balls at a 42% clip in 2009. His LOB% was pretty low in 2009, so I expect a very solid season from Scherzer in 2010.