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Fantasy Baseball: What Pitching Stat Leads To Fantasy Success?

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I have spent some time looking at what pitching statistics lead to a pitchers success on the mound. Everyone looks at command, or K/BB (or K/9-BB/9), or the pitchers groundball to flyball ratio, but how about keeping the ball in the yard, or HR/9.

Here is a list of NL starting pitchers sorted by pitchers who give up the least amount of HRs per 9 innings in 2009:

Player INN W ERA WHIP K/9 BB/9 G/AO HRA HR/9
Pineiro, Joel SP STL 170.7 13 3.11 1.1 4.43 0.95 2.3 6 0.316
Kershaw, Clayton SP LA 146 8 2.96 1.27 9.43 4.99 0.8 6 0.370
Lincecum, Tim SP SF 193.3 13 2.33 1.03 10.33 2.51 1.1 8 0.372
Carpenter, Chris SP STL 151.7 14 2.2 0.97 6.82 1.48 1.7 7 0.415
Lowe, Derek SP ATL 158.7 12 4.48 1.46 4.65 2.84 2 8 0.454
Lee, Cliff SP PHI 192 12 2.62 1.19 6.84 1.83 0.9 10 0.469
Jimenez, Ubaldo SP COL 181.3 12 3.33 1.22 7.84 3.42 1.6 10 0.496
Marquis, Jason SP COL 171.3 14 3.47 1.27 4.41 2.84 1.9 11 0.578
Pelfrey, Mike SP NYM 146.3 9 4.8 1.52 5.17 3.38 1.5 10 0.615
Johnson, Josh SP FLA 171.7 13 3.04 1.11 7.81 2.15 1.4 12 0.629
Zambrano, Carlos SP CHC 128 7 3.8 1.38 7.38 4.22 1.1 9 0.633
Billingsley, Chad SP LA 166.7 12 3.83 1.29 8.1 3.83 1.1 12 0.648
Jurrjens, Jair SP ATL 164 10 2.91 1.26 6.59 3.24 1 12 0.659
Maholm, Paul SP PIT 162.7 7 4.59 1.43 5.64 2.66 1.5 13 0.719
Wainwright, Adam SP STL 187 15 2.5 1.21 7.56 2.6 1.4 15 0.722
Wells, Randy RP CHC 126.7 9 3.06 1.22 5.54 2.34 1.2 11 0.781
Correia, Kevin SP SD 156 9 4.5 1.38 6.29 3.29 1.2 14 0.808
Hammel, Jason SP COL 132 8 4.43 1.5 6.2 2.25 1.3 12 0.818
Cain, Matt SP SF 177.3 12 2.39 1.15 6.75 3.1 0.8 17 0.863
Vazquez, Javier SP ATL 176 11 3.02 1.05 9.82 1.79 1.1 17 0.869



A couple things really stand out when analyzing this chart. One, there is only one Mets pitcher and one Padres pitcher on this list. Why Mets and Padres? Because they pitch in the two best pitchers parks in the majors and only one pitcher from each team, Mike Pelfrey and Kevin Correia appear on this list.

The other thing that really stood out was that there are three Colorado Rockies pitchers on this list: Ubaldo Jimenez, Jason Marquis and Jason Hammel. Is Coors Field turning into a pitchers park? The Cardinals and Braves also have three pitchers appear on this list including the leader Joel Piniero. It is no coincidence that Piniero also induces the highest number of ground ball outs in the NL.

Taking a closer look at this list, if you take out Kevin Correia, Jason Hammel, Derek Lowe, Paul Maholm and Mike Pelfrey from this list, you are left with a list of very solid fantasy pitchers in 2009.

Does this list displace the myth that strikeout pitchers lead to fantasy success?