Monitor metrics to find useful pitchers

One of the biggest mistakes inexperienced fantasy baseball managers make is how they continuously turn over their roster while chasing yesterday’s points. If one of their hitters gets off to a slow start, they immediately want to change him out for anyone who came out of the gate strong. It doesn’t matter the overall talent level of either player, they just want someone who is performing now, and it’s that shortsightedness that turns a great fantasy team into a loser.

If you are looking to turn your team into a winner, you have to be proactive with your roster moves and find legitimate reasons to add a player to your team. For a pitcher, it’s not just about one good outing. Tossing five scoreless innings against the Pirates isn’t exactly scaling Mount Everest, so you need to dig deeper. If you’re looking to unearth this year’s Robbie Ray or Carlos Rodon, there are clear signs you can look for, and we’ve even found a few arms who may even be available.

robbie ray
robbie ray
AP

First and foremost, look at the pitcher’s velocity. An uptick in velocity is usually a clear indicator of impending improvement. Maybe he tweaked his mechanics or changed his release point, but once he hears that pop of the catcher’s mitt, he knows he’s throwing harder. That tends to increase the confidence, which then gives him the freedom to pound the strike zone more and challenge hitters. If you find a pitcher who is seeing that uptick, it’s then time to look at his pitch mix from him.

A pitcher’s command of his secondary offerings is paramount to his success. Anyone can throw a fastball, but if you can drop in a curveball for a strike or get the hitters to fish on a wipeout slider, you’re in business. Even a strong changeup can make all the difference. That uptick in velocity will still find him throwing his fastball a ton, but you’ll also start to see him increase his usage of the breaking stuff and start to outthink hitters rather than try to overpower them.

Take a long look at Tylor Megill of the Mets, Jesus Luzardo of the Marlins and Alex Cobb of the Giants. All three have seen an uptick in velocity while each has also found a breaking ball the hitters can’t locate. Adding even just one of them could make a huge difference. And best of all, you’re not chasing yesterday’s stats. You’re adding them for what they will bring to the table in the future.

Howard Bender is the head of content at FantasyAlarm.com. Follow him on Twitter @rotobuzzguy and catch him on the award-winning “Fantasy Alarm Radio Show” on the SiriusXM fantasy sports channel weekdays from 6-8 pm Go to FantasyAlarm.com for all your fantasy baseball advice.

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