Welcome to the True AVG report! This will be a frequent post outlining the results of the True AVG models on the site which can be found in the MLB Range of Outcomes as well as the free Binomial Projections model and True AVG tables. The goal of these posts is to look into the numbers and find large outliers between production and regression. We can use that to take advantage of them in sports betting markets and daily fantasy sports.
Underlined phrases and words have links for extra information! All underlined players have a link to their Fangraphs page for ease of research!
What is MLB True AVG?
True AVG is a regressed metric based on batting average allowed for MLB starting pitchers. You can use it for finding pitchers that have had their results affected either positively or negatively by factors of luck. Basically, we are trying to take luck out of the equation and find what pitchers “truly” deserve. Similar to the predictive xHR/9 stat which I developed to leverage luck in home run deviations, True AVG has been built to be an intuitive way to assess realistic outcomes for pitchers. For more info, check out this video.
Recap from yesterday's post: It was a return to strong outcomes for the models last night, with both Dylan Cease and Matthew Liberatore performing well. Cease was one of the best pitchers on the day, with six innings pitched, three hits allowed, and eight strikeouts. Meanwhile, Liberatore was able to shut down the Braves with just three hits allowed and four strikeouts in four innings.
MLB True AVG notable results
Leading off we look at Keegan Thompson with the Lowest True AVG up against the Dodgers. Keegan has an elite mark of .168 which is nearly .100 points better than his actual average allowed. To clarify, his recent sample has been extremely strong in terms of strikeout rates, but his BABIP and LOB rates have been unkind. That said, his home run and groundball rates are certainly concerning, so it's important to keep that in mind. His matchup with the Dodgers is scary, but Thompson has exhibited some terrific upside and is cheap in DFS and the betting markets. He will be solid leverage in tournaments and is worth backing in strikeout props.
Next up is Jose Urquidy with the worst True AVG and facing the Athletics. Although his season long numbers are mostly in line with expectation, his recent sample is concerning. His BABIP and LOB rates are both far outside of the norms and his ERA is 1.5 runs under his xFIP. The Athletics are, of course, a bad team and it'll surely ramp up ownershpi on Urquidy in DFS. Avoid him and find better spots to prioritize on such a large slate.
Significant deviations to consider
- The highest positive deviations belong to Connor Seabold facing the Yankees. Granted, Seabold has a small sample and an ERA north of 8.00, but this is a spot worth paying attention to. In his short stint in the majors Seabold has shown strong strikeout rates and has been exceptionally unlucky with BABIP and home run rates. Are the Yankees terrifying? Absolutely. But when you have a pitcher with a 25%+ strikeout rate at such a low price in DFS it's worth the risk. He will surely project well in the MLB range of outcomes and is a fantastic option in large field tournaments.
- Finally it is Shane McClanahan with the highest negative deviations and up against the Reds. It's a little odd to be writing about such a strong pitcher here, but it's warranted. McClanahan has been phenomenal all year and his rates make sense. However, in the recent sample, he's been outproducing his xFIP quite a bit and his BABIP is unsustainable. Granted, we see stuff like this with top end pitchers, but they typically have lower flyball rates to mitigate the average allowed. We should expect McClanahan to come back to earth a bit soon and should be cautioned.