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The Best Fantasy Baseball Stat You’ve Never Heard Of: Part 2

Cam gives you a brand new statistic that can lead to more Fantasy Baseball success!

JUPITER, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 26: Eury Perez #39 of the Miami Marlins throws a pitch against the St. Louis Cardinals during a spring training game at Roger Dean Stadium on February 26, 2024 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Rich Storry/Getty Images)

A week ago I gave you the stat I invented, called plate appearance %, PA% for short. This week I’m going to give you a stat I created for the pitchers. Similar to my hitting stat, it is a ratio meant to find those under-the-radar players who may not get as many starts or appearances.

About 45 years ago on a snowy New England afternoon Daniel Okrent invented WHIP, walks, and hits per 9IP. That stat took off to the point where it is part of every pitcher’s box score and on the back of their baseball card.

But, like all analytics, the goal is to find just one stat, one singular number for the most comprehensive look at a player. The stat I’ve created is better because it goes far beyond WHIP. WHIP is just one component of my stat, and I think it is the most comprehensive number to analyze a pitcher by.

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Since pitchers are far more volatile and prone to injury, I look at their 3-year stats. It shows a better overall barometer of the pitcher and can offset any injury he may have had over that time. It paints a far more complete picture.

The goal of this stat is to find one number that the pitcher is directly in control of. WHIP does do that to an extent, taking into account every walk and hit a pitcher gives up in an inning. It has come to be regarded that for a starter 1.30 or lower is a solid WHIP, and for a reliever, anything under 1.00 is where they need to be. But what if that one hit per inning is a HR? He’d have a WHIP of 1.00 but an ERA of 9.00. 

My goal was to combine the two stats, but not just end it there. That would be too easy and still not tell the whole story. I really wanted to find a way to get to a number that relied solely on the pitcher’s performance and not anyone else on the field. To do that, I included his strikeout ratio. That way, this stat takes into account everything the pitcher himself has control of. He controls the walks and hits he gives up every inning. And he controls his ERA. And he alone controls his strikeout ratio.

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From there, my stat was born…(WHIP+ERA)-K/9ip…(WHERK). In a nutshell, over the past three seasons, if a pitcher’s WHIP is 1.36, his ERA is 3.92, and he strikes out one 0.92 batters per 9ip, his WHERK is 4.36. A solid WHERK for a starter is 4.00, and for a reliever, it is 3.00.

To put it in perspective, Roger Clemens’ career WHERK is 3.34. Randy Johnson’s is 3.29, and Pedro Martinez’s is 2.87. But I didn’t come up with an exotic formula to tell you that Clemens, Johnson, or Martinez were all-time greats. No formula is needed for that. But the goal of all these various formulas isn’t to tell you what you already knew about the players of yesterday but to help you find those players of today…and tomorrow.

With that in mind, here are 21 under-the-radar starting pitchers who all have a WHERK under 4.00 over the past three seasons. All of them are ranked outside the top 100 of their respective leagues.

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AMERICAN LEAGUE

Kyle Bradish-Baltimore Orioles, 3.85

Luis Garcia-Houston Astros, 3.69

Tristan McKenzie-Cleveland Guardians, 3.82

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Bailey Ober-Minnesota Twins, 3.70

Seth Lugo-Kansas City Royals, 3.75

Patrick Sandoval-Los Angeles Angels, 3.95

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Gavin Williams-Cleveland Guardians, 3.57

John Means-Baltimore Orioles, 3.66

Adrian Sampson-Texas Rangers, 3.56

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Ryan Pepiot-Tampa Bay Rays, 2.80

Joe Boyle-Oakland A’s, 1.54

Sawyer Gipson-Long-Detroit Tigers, 2.50

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Shane Baz-Tampa Bay Rays, 3.94

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Bobby Miller-Los Angeles Dodgers, 3.90

Walker Buehler-Los Angeles Dodgers, 2.92

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Justin Steele-Chicago Cubs, 3.56

Ranger Suarez-Philadelphia Phillies, 3.57

Eury Perez-Miami Marlins, 3.10

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Tyler Glasnow-Los Angeles Dodgers, 2.79

Frankie Montas-Cincinnati Reds, 3.82

Michael King-San Diego Padres 2.83

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None of these pitchers should cost you an arm and a leg, or need to be selected in the early rounds of your drafts. Sprinkle in a few of these pitchers onto your staff and you will have a fantastic pitching staff.

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