Friday, 19 June 2015

Balk-Off Win

Continuing on from yesterday's Clayton Kershaw themed post, fellow baseball fan Fizzer555 stopped by to say:

Although I agree completely that spotting a pitcher down from his peak before the market builds it in is a good strategy ( I had VerLayDer lay bets making money for a season but the market has long caught up with that) I still think that Kershaw is a superman amongst pitchers and isn't on the downgrade just yet. In fact, if the market does start reacting to his ERA too much he may end up being a value bet.
Latest sabermetric analysis on Kershaw is (courtesy of BaseballHQ) is: -
6/8/2015 - Don't worry about Kershaw ... every year from 2011-14, Clayton Kershaw (LHP, LA) has been in a class of his own. Kershaw was a consensus top-five pick in 2015 fantasy drafts, and while rare for a pitcher, his elite consistency warranted such a move. But Kershaw's 3.36 ERA has been mere mortal thus far in 2015. Any reason to panic?
Year IP  ERA  xERA Ctl Dom Cmd GB/LD/FB H%/S%  hr/f FpK SwK Vel BPV
==== === ==== ==== === ==== === ======== ===== ==== === === ==== ===
2011 233 2.28 2.95 2.1  9.6 4.6 43/18/39 28/79  7% 64% 11% 93.4 137
2012 227 2.53 3.23 2.5  9.1 3.6 47/19/34 27/78  8% 65% 11% 93.2 121
2013 236 1.83 2.93 2.0  8.8 4.5 46/23/31 26/82  6% 65% 12% 92.6 130
2014 198 1.77 2.27 1.4 10.8 7.7 52/19/29 29/81  7% 69% 15% 93.0 187
2015 80  3.36 2.34 2.1 11.3 5.3 52/25/23 32/71 16% 65% 15% 93.5 176
Deep breath. He'll be fine:
His Dom is at a career-high level, and it's supported by excellent SwK and a slight uptick in fastball velocity.
He's given back some of 2014's Ctl gains, but we're nitpicking. Kershaw is frequently getting ahead in counts and exhibiting pinpoint control.
2015's hr/f sure looks like an outlier. Combine that with unfortunate swings in H% and S%, and we quickly see why his ERA is more than a run higher than xERA.
Kershaw's "shaky" production through 12 starts means he's unlikely to provide a full return on preseason investments, but there's nothing wrong under the hood. Kershaw's missing plenty of bats, has an elite Cmd / GB% combo, and his BPV is still other-worldly for a starter. He's still the best pitcher in the game.
Fizzer's VerLayDer name was a rather clever play on Justin Verlander - the Detroit Tigers' fading (since 2012) pitcher.

My comment that I had a new C-LAY-ton Kershaw system was meant to be tongue in cheek - it just happened that two value opportunities came up in quick succession with him as a starting pitcher - but I'm glad it generated a good comment. As Fizzer says, he (Kershaw) will likely be just fine. This season is a small sample so far, but he will need some strong numbers to get back to the level of the past two seasons. Fizzer's comment that Kershaw will become a Back if the markets reacts too much is also right on the money, but the market doesn't show any signs of that yet.

Last night's Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher was Zach Greinke, and again the Dodgers were very short:
Despite a poor month to date (8-9, and on a three game losing run with the worst Hits to Run ratio in the National League), the prices, as you all know by know, are based on the Starting Pitchers, and the Dodgers have only lost only twice with Kershaw and Greinke pitching back-to-back so the market went for 1.41.

Too short in my humble opinion. Greinke following Kershaw is interesting, but not significant, and I was a layer pre-game at that price.
The Dodgers did win in unconventional style, 1:0 with a walk-off balk, (very rare), but the Dodgers price had drifted by then with Greinke being pulled after 7 innings, and it was easy enough to green up.

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