Infield defenses can make or break a season for starting pitchers
We have plenty of statistics at our fingertips to evaluate pitchers and project their performances for both real and fantasy purposes. Stats such as BABIP, home run, strikeout and walk rates, and left-on-base percentage are common to anyone who has embraced sabermetrics. FIP and xFIP, measures that allow us to look at how effective a pitcher is regardless of the defense behind him, give us the most accurate view of how he is pitching. But the fact remains that the seven guys behind the pitcher have a lot to do with how well his cosmetic stats, the ones used by nearly every fantasy league, end up once the season is over.
A fantasy owner can take serious advantage of the market by looking at a pitcher's ground ball and fly ball tendencies and applying them to the strengths and weaknesses of that pitcher's defense. Put simply, an extreme ground ball pitcher with a strong infield defense makes for a happy marriage. One with a poor infield defense could result in that pitcher posting high ERA and WHIP stats that might belie how well he's pitching.
Joe Sheehan recently wrote a story detailing the
As a base of reference, the league average ground-ball rate is 44 percent.