You can look at xFIP to get an idea of a players true talent, it is far from perfect but it is better than the other composite stats imo.
You want to draft for K as much as you can since it is the one pitcher stat that doesn't vary a lot. Then I'd go for WHIP since lower WHIP pitchers tend to see less year to year variance.
As for actually judging pitchers you want to look at their rate of BB, K and GB above all else. Those 3 stats dictate the majority of what makes a pitcher good or bad. After that you can look at LOB%, BABIP, HR/FB. Those 3 stats have a lot of variation in them but pitchers do control it some as well. A pitcher like Dave Bush has a career long problem with LOB% and you shouldn't assume it will just fix itself, a decent pitcher with a 1 year sample of bad LOB% is probably going to improve the next season. A heavy GB% pitcher is going to always have high BABIP etc.
Also of course how deep into games they pitch and what teams they play on matter quite a bit for W.
I almost ignore Ws. Pitchers on better teams with top offenses and bullpens will in general have more chances for W's, but I hate to use it for anything other than deciding between two guys that I think are very similar based on other stats. Seems to fluctuate so much year to year that using it for rankings incorrectly distorts rankings.
I agree with Ender - I look at Ks and WHIP. More specifically K/9, WHIP and K/BB. In a league with strict IP max I'll pay more attention to K/9 and in leagues without maxes I'll pay more attention to WHIP and K/BB. I figure in HTH leagues and others that don't have IP maxes if you get lower ratios you can just have more mid-tier SP depth to make up for an opponent having superior K/9.
I've never really looked at xFIP before, but that is on the to-do list to bring into the evaluating this year.
Last edited by hot4tx on Fri Jan 29, 2010 5:43 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Mainly xFIP and GB/FB/LD rates. I also look at movement charts that fangraphs offers, the guys who throw it dead straight are the worst targets. It's simple to figure out, basically just look at Lincecum's charts and compare with who you're checking out to get an idea of what you want to see. Major changes like a super high HR rate compared to his career is another thing to take into account. I don't think xFIP can tell you if Ervin Santana suddenly started throwing at 93 MPH again in September for example.
I've been playing fantasy baseball for a long time and my eyes glaze over at all the new fancy stats out there. I know I'm just an old man and I need to get with the times because I'm sure those stats are useful, but my alltime favorite stat to help me forecast a pitcher's success is batting average against. It's served me well and still does, and I don't need a degree to understand it.