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: Generally underwhelming day for the models yesterday. Best highlight was a low outcome day from Sandy Alcantara. He finished with six hits and only four strikeouts against the Mets.
MLB True AVG notable results
Leading off with the lowest True AVG on the slate we find Max Scherzer up against the Braves. To clarify, Scherzer has a short sample here coming off a game fresh out of the IL, but with his pedigree and skill it's not something that we shouldn't expect. His True AVG of .156 is terrific and with a strong strikeout rate he's an obvious priority. Even against a top five team like the Braves there's no reason to be worried. Likewise, if he ends up getting lower ownership because of the matchup it provides an even better spot of focus in DFS. All of that said, try to get him in your lineups and hit the over on his strikeout props.
Moving along is Alex Cobb with the highest True AVG and facing the Diamondbacks. This is a pretty typical example of a low upside pitcher with a relatively strong floor. His 59% groundball rate is going to mitigate any catastrophic downside, but the low BABIP and nearly full run deviation between his ERA and xFIP foreshadow regression. In cases like this, the regression is typically in the form of lots of base runners and a bullpen game. In conclusion, this is a spot to avoid entirely. The Diamondbacks make sense in large field GPPs as a secondary stack but nothing more.
Significant deviations to consider
- The highest positive deviations go to Alex Faedo in a matchup with the Royals. This is something we may start considering a “True AVG Special” as we have a pitcher with a 5+ ERA in a winnable spot. Granted, Faedo is not a terrific pitcher, but regression doesn't care much about that. Faedo has been incredibly unlucky, with a .404 BABIP and drastically low LOB rates in the recent sample. Likewise, he has a fine matchup with a below average Royals group who has very little power. Considering power is the thing that Faedo struggles with the most, this looks like a smash spot. That is to say that Faedo offers tremendous leverage and salary relief in DFS and good value in betting markets.
- Finally the largest negative deviations belong to Miles Mikolas. Mikolas is a pitcher with negative deviations in both the season long sample as well as the recent one. The season long sample is showing low BABIP and home run rates with a full run difference of ERA and xFIP. Meanwhile, the recent sample shows even worse stats as his xFIP rises to above 4.00 and his ERA drops. The matchup is a tad underwhelming as the Phillies have struggled in the recent sample, but we know they have significant power and ceilings. In sum, Stack up the Phillies at no ownership in DFS and make sure to avoid Mikolas in all formats.