2014 Fantasy Baseball Cheat Sheets: WHIP
(Walks + Hits per Inning Pitched)
Of all the fantasy pitching categories, a pitcher's WHIP is probably the most-important statistic when evaluating his worth.
Like all fantasy stats, there are statistical anomalies, like Marco Estrada's 3.87 ERA despite his very-low 1.08 WHIP in 2013. By comparison, Gio Gonzalez, Mike Leake and Chad Gaudin each had a WHIP of 1.25, however they each had an ERA of 3.37 or less in 2014, which is more par-for-the-course (or even a touch low) with such a WHIP.
When it comes to draft day, we've already forewarned you to not get too hyped over a pitcher's wins - wins are too reliant on the team around him. Also, total strikeouts may be misleading depending on the number of starts or appearances a pitcher has in a season (K/9 is a better statistical indicator despite not being a standard 5 x 5 fantasy stat). ERA is a pretty good indication of a pitcher's worth, but there's a little more luck involved with it as compared to his WHIP.
The bottom line is that a pitcher's WHIP is calculated with more data: Hits + Walks per Inning Pitched. A starting pitcher typically has 30+ starts and 200+ innings pitched in a season. That's a pretty significant cross-section of reliable data when it comes down to pure math. Since it's a much larger cross-section of data, a pitcher's WHIP is more-likely to reflect an accurate depiction of a pitcher's true fantasy value on draft day, and WHIP is also a much better predictor of future success for a pitcher. When you break it down simply, a WHIP is a stat that indicates how many batters a pitcher allows to get on base with a hit or a walk. To dumb this way down, if a pitcher allows fewer guys on base, that means he's simply better than other pitchers with a higher WHIP.
Top 150 Fantasy WHIP Leaders: Starting Pitchers
Analysis of Fantasy Starting Pitchers
Everyone wants to know if Jose Fernandez is for real? Lots of people have an opinion about it, too, so we'll chime in... but we're not gonna be all boisterous and overly-opinionated about it. That's just lame and immature... and far be it from us to act in such a fashion. So, let's analyze, shall we?
Jose Fernandez's stats were ridiculous last season, and he carried a lot of fantasy pitching staffs after being picked up off of the waiver wire in most leagues. In 2014, however, we see his ERA getting around the 1.15 region, as well as his ERA getting into the 3.00-3.40 region - still excellent numbers, though. We think that veteran hitters this season will have figured him out a bit and will be a few steps ahead of him in the early part of the season - and maybe all season. Still, though, a 0.98 WHIP doesn't lie. Fernandez has crazy-good stuff, and that's not going to go away. Once he catches back up with hitters, he'll be fine for a long time. He only turns 22 in July, so there's a lot of time for him to be a dominant pitcher.
Johnny Cueto is just one of those pitchers who gets it done, somehow, some way (unless he's injured, of course). Over the past three seasons, Cueto has a combined WHIP of 1.125 in 68 starts. Last season, he spent the majority of the season on the DL, but came back strong to close out the season. Despite entering his 7th season in the majors already, he's still only 27 years old - an age when a lot of players enter their most-dominant seasons. Some guys will look at his stint on the DL last season and shy away from Cueto; others will look at it as a low-mileage, energy-saving season. We think that, even if Cueto does get hurt again, he's still worth a relatively-high roster spot on your fantasy team, because when he's in and pitching, he's money.
David Price owners last season were about ready to fly to Tampa Bay on their own and punch David Price right in the face after his terrible start to the season. Then he went on the DL, missed a month-and-a-half, then came back on July 2nd and proceeded to kick the league's ass through the end of the season. Over his last 18 starts, Price was dominant with a 2.53 ERA, and really had only one notably bad start. Clearly, during the first part of the season, something was bothering him physically, and going on the DL for it was the best thing he could have done. After burying countless fantasy pitching staffs the first part of the season, he more than made up for it from July 2nd on. Now, Price is the subject of many trade rumors, but don't worry about it. He'll be fine wherever he ends up.