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Looking For Wins?

Today's guest article is by Brett Greenfield of Fantasy Phenoms.

Wins may just be the most arbitrary stat in a standard 5x5 rotisserie league.  Many are under the impression that having pitchers on winning teams nets you wins.

That is far from the case. 

Take the Cubs last year, an 85 win team.  Ted Lilly tossed 207 innings of 3.83 ERA ball.  Teammate Rich Hill tossed 195 innings of 3.92 ERA ball.  Very similar, right? 

Lilly finished with 15 wins and Hill with only 11.  Why?  Something called run support (RS).  If James Shields, for example, pitches on a day where the Rays score four runs, then his RS for that day was four.

Lilly ranked 23rd in the RS in the majors last year.  That means that his offense behind him scored enough runs each time he started to rank him 23rd in that area.  Hill, who plays behind the same offense as Lilly, was given the 129th highest RS in the majors. 

How’s that possible?  Wins are just that unpredictable.

Check out these two lines from 2007:

Kelvim Escobar 3.41 ERA 1.27 WHIP 6.43 RS 18W 7L
Matt Cain           3.65 ERA 1.26 WHIP 3.51 RS 7W 16L

Isn’t it amazing how two pitchers can pitch equally as effective as one another, yet whether or not they get a win depends on the amount of runs scored by their offense?

Those of you looking for wins shouldn’t be looking towards teams who have the most wins in 2008, but rather those who have the most run support.  Otherwise, how else can we explain Tim Lincecum having eight wins already?

The top 5 in RS are as follows…

1. Kyle Kendrick – 8.39
2. Oliver Perez – 7.47
3. Justin Duchscherer – 7.40
4. Vicente Padilla – 7.07
5. Jamie Moyer – 7.06

Kendrick, despite a 4.54 ERA, has won six of his 14 starts.  Perez has an ERA just under 5.00 yet has won five times.  Duchscherer has won seven of his 11 starts this year.  Padilla has won nine of his 15 starts.  Moyer has won almost half of his starts despite a 4.09 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP.

Mike Pelfrey, a teammate of Oliver Perez, boasts a 3-6 record despite a lower ERA than Perez.  His RS is ranked 73rd in the majors at 4.62.

The bottom 5 in RS are as follows…

1. John Lannan – 2.39
2. Paul Byrd – 2.78
3. Aaron Harang – 2.85
4. Ubaldo Jimenez – 2.98
5. Erik Bedard – 3.34

Lannan sports a 3.38 ERA yet has won only four times.  Byrd has three wins on the year.  Harang is 3-9 on the season despite a 1.28 WHIP.  Jimenez is 1-7 so far this year, although he hasn’t pitched overly well.  Bedard has only four wins on the year in 12 starts.

While these unlucky few have gotten little run support and have had little chance at getting any wins, their teammates, who have the same group of hitters behind them, have fared amazingly well.

Cliff Lee, teammate of Byrd, has the 18th highest RS in the majors.  Byrd is 115th.   Edinson Volquez ranks 25th while teammate Harang ranks 114th.
Tim Redding of the Nationals ranks 22nd while teammate Lannan ranks 116th.

Wins is the most arbitrary and unpredictable stat in a standard  5x5 rotisserie league.  If you are going to seek out pitchers in search of wins, the best you can do is look at their RS.

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