This week, we take a look at the top 10 starting pitchers benefiting and suffering from BABIP. This article takes a similar approach to last week’s column on hitters, however I did not include 2008 statistics as many of the top pitchers this year did not pitch enough innings in 2008 to be relevant.
Below we will take a look at the comparison of the 2011 season and the 2009-2010 seasons, looking to identify any potential regression or opportunities in the second half of the year.
*Stats as of 6/28/2011
We definitely have some Cy Young Award candidates on this list. Beckett and Verlander have been dominant, and I expect success to continue. Verlander is arguably the best pitcher in the game right now. Shields has been performing spectacular as well. He had an unusually high BABIP in 2010 (.341). His .250 pace this year may only marginally increase. If you can find a team to take A.J. Burnett off your hands, do it. His ratio stats are sure to inflate, while his K/9 is only 7.31 (8.18 career). Hamels could be the best pitcher in the NL, or the third best pitcher on his own team; either answer is fine as he is dealing this year. Jered Weaver has the lowest career BABIP of this group, and I doubt his .244 average this year is sustainable.
Finding the Holes
Are these the best buy low candidates right now? Lets take a look. Jackson is a little too erratic for my taste. While his 3.30 xFIP compares nicely to his 4.13 ERA, his 7.0% HR/FB ratio and 3.07 BB/9 are still too rich for me to make a pitch. Somebody likely owns him, so is he really worth buying? I’m a fan of Chris Carpenter and the likelihood he turns things around. If you play in a wins league, his ranking is probably suffering. Now is a good time to take advantage and offer a marginal hitter. Despite the major struggles this year, I still like Ryan Dempster. His ERA is currently 5.31 but he has a 3.40 xFIP. He is still striking people out at a very nice pace as well (8.42 K/9), but of course, the walks are high (3.39 BB/9). I’d still buy Ryan if I could for cheap. His HR/FB ratio is 14.9%, well above his 11.1% career. If he can stop the gopher balls, he will perform well in the second half.
Feel free to leave comments or column suggestions, and I will respond to any questions.
Brandon can be found at home being a dad and novice landscaper, in the corporate office being a hamster, on the diamond being a softball coach, or at Fenway Park enjoying a frank. You can follow Brandon on Twitter (@bginda2g).
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