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Hitting The Target: Late Round WHIP Sleepers

After moving my attention to the hitting side of things on Tuesday, I am returning today to evaluate the standard for WHIP. I have often felt that WHIP is one of the most ignored categories in all of fantasy baseball. When discussing pitchers and their ratios, we often look to ERA, and while the elite tier of pitchers are also WHIP gods, the middle tiers tend to be flawed. The high strikeout guys who you need to compete typically do not post the most satisfying WHIPs. The late-round gems are guys tend to be high upside fliers, not the boring types who can help to stabilize the category. WHIP is extremely important to pay attention to and should not be ignored as your league mates make the sexier picks late in drafts.

Once again, thank you to Tanner Bell for providing us with the numbers we are using in this post. 12 team refers to the results from the Online Championships and the 15 team refers to the Main Event. All ADP data comes from NFBC as of Wednesday morning.

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Hitting the Target: WHIP

In 12 team leagues, the WHIP standard is 1.174 while in 15 teamers it is 1.195. Unfortunately, Steamer does not paint a very pretty picture with regard to WHIP. Overall, the system only projects 44 pitchers with over 60 innings to have a WHIP below 1.20. Of those 44, only 18 of them can be considered full-time starters. The majority of elite WHIP arms are in the bullpen, which lessens their impact. In order to compete in WHIP, you need to be smart with pitcher usage and try to make the most out of every pitcher on your roster. Do not be afraid to stream arms and take advantage of two-start weeks. Let’s take a look at three names projected at least 80 innings who are going later in drafts.

Carlos Carrasco (ADP 109.33) was discussed in the first part of this series and his drop in drafts has nothing to do with his talent level. The Cleveland right-hander still possesses as much talent as some of the pitchers going before him, but the question is his health. His Leukemia diagnosis from last season seems to be scaring away drafters. If he can maintain his health he should be a bargain this season.

Andrew Heaney (ADP 187.14) has long been a favorite of mine. The lefty has really impressive stuff and on any given day can look the part of an ace. He posts massive strikeout rates with acceptable walk numbers but has never been able to stay fully healthy. The talent is all there and the lineup supporting him is improved, he is one of my favorite pitchers to target at this point in drafts. He just needs to find a way to stay on the mound.

Both Carrasco and Heaney project for starter workloads, but this next guy, Ross Stripling (ADP 310.69) does not. At the moment, RosterResource has him as the odd man out in the Dodgers rotation, but given the track records of the guys there, he should find his way into a starting role soon. Stripling has quietly been one of the best pitchers in baseball since his debut, albeit in limited innings. He has four straight sub-4 ERA seasons and has a career BB/9 of 2.12. He is the perfect guy to take a chance on late in deep drafts and hope that he finds a way into a regular role. If not, he provides utility and value as a multi-inning reliever.

While there are only three names to keep an eye on here, the same discussion from the ERA piece regarding elite set up men holds true. Many of the same names that can help provide ERA relief are just as valuable in the WHIP category. If you miss out on some of these names and find your WHIP is beginning to get out of hand, then pick up a few of these non-closing relievers. Also, in the age of openers, these are also names to look to as potential stabilizers. These names, as well as the bulk guys who follow them, can be really good streaming options in a given week in order to maintain ratios. Thankfully, this is the last of the ratio categories we need to discuss and the pitching lists from here on out should be increasingly more interesting.

For more great rankings, strategy, and analysis check out the 2020 FantraxHQ Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit. We’ll be adding more content from now right up until Opening Day!

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