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Five Pitchers To Buy Now

In a few of my leagues, my starting pitchers are making life miserable for my fantasy teams so far in 2011. In 4 of my money leagues my starting pitching is down near the bottom in wins, ERA and WHIP. I am sure many of you are in the same boat and are wondering what to do.

What I usually do is check out Fangraphs to see if my pitchers peripheral stats are still fine, and I try to figure out why my pitchers are getting hammered in every outing. I take at look at the pitchers BABIP and LOB% to see if they are due for a regression to the league average. For BABIP, it is somewhere around .300 or .310. For LOB%, or strand rate, the league average is around 70%, give or take a few percentage points.

With that said, here are a few starting pitchers whose BABIP and LOB% are due for a regression going forward:

Jordan Zimmermann, WAS-his BABIP sits at .292 so there won't be much regression, if any. But, his LOB% is an extreme 50%. With his ERA sitting at 4.56, one would expect his ERA to drop some once his strand rate regresses to something closer to 70%. Of concern though, is his K rate of just 4.52 as his career K rate is 7.88. His FIP is 3.04 and his xFIP sits at 4.19, so we should expect the ERA to drop as he stands more runners going forward.

Daniel Hudson, ARI-Hudson has been a bit unlucky this year as his BABIP sits at .337 and his LOB% is at 57.2%, so plenty of regression is expected for the Diamondbacks second year starter. What Hudson also has going for him is his 9.49 K rate. His ERA is 5.64, but his FIP is 3.07, and his xFIP is 3.62, so better days are ahead of Hudson. Unless he is the new Ricky Nolasco.

Ryan Dempster, CHC-Dempster has been one of the more consistent pitchers in baseball the last few years with solid win totals, 3 straight 200+ innings pitches, K rate around 8.00 and an ERA in the mid to high 3.00s. But this year, he has had some problems stranding base runners as his LOB% sits at 59.3% currently vs a career LOB% of almost 72%. In addition, his BABIP of .326 is a bit higher than his career BABIP of .302. What has hurt Dempster this year is his HR/9 of 2.35 and HR/FB% over 22%. Those will certainly come down unless he is hurt, then it won't matter. His ERA is 7.63 currently, his FIP sits at 5.71 and his xFIP is a more respectable 3.71. With a ground ball rate around 45% and a K rate around 8.00, Dempster should start to put things together for fantasy owners real soon.

Matt Garza, CHC-Dempster's teammate Matt Garza was the subject of a Rob Neyer article yesterday over at Baseball Nation. In the article, Neyer concludes the following after compariing the peripheral stats for Garza and Angels starter Jered Weaver:

To this point, though? In terms of the things that pitchers are able to control, with their skills,

there's not been a huge difference between 6-0 Jered Weaver and 0-3 Matt Garza.

Fantasy owners will beg to differ, but Neyer is right. Garza's BABIP is .414 which is unsustainable, and his LOB% is 60%. Due to the fact that he is allowing 40% his base runners allowed to score, his ERA is 4.11, with an FIP of 1.24 and an xFIP of 1.94. I don't think Garza will pitch like Bob Gibson or Pedro Martinez all year, but he should improve his ERA into the 3.00s real soon, especially when you consider his K rate is 12.03 and his BB rate is just 2.64.

Carl Pavano, MIN- Pavano has never been a big strikeout pitcher, but he has always had pretty good control, walking less than two batters per nine over the last few years. This year, he can't strand many base runners, as his LOB% sits at 55.9%, yet his batting average of balls in play is a low .245. What is hurting Pavano this year is what he usually does well, his control. He is walking almost 3 batters every nine innings, and you know what they say when you walk a batter, they usually score. HIs ERA is 5.12, but his FIP 4.33 and his xFIP is 4.78. So, his ERA may not come down much, but should his BB rate regress to around two batters per nine, his ERA could sneak under 4.00.