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: The largest negative deviations gave us a solid leverage spot yesterday against Urquidy. He ended up with nine strikeouts, but also gave up six hits and three earned runs. Likewise, the Athletics scored five runs with a home run against the bullpen.
MLB True AVG notable results
Starting things off is Nick Lodolo with the lowest True AVG on the day. Lodolo has a terrific pedigree and is a top prospect, so his results are less than surprising. He's got great strikeout baselines and a relatively low walk rate, but has been very unlucky in both season long and recent samples. His BABIP is well above .400 and we should expect that to come down, but his LOB rate has been above average. He's up against a Cardinals team that is slightly above average against LHP but with higher strikieout rates. In conclusion, there's volatility here, but should the BABIP come down Lodolo has an incredible ceiling. Utilize him in DFS and avoid the Cardinals in all formats.
Next up is the highest True AVG on the slate going to Ryan Yarbrough. The strikeouts have always been lackluster for the RP turned starter, but this year they have hit career lows. Paired with and escalating walk rate and low groundball rates, things look bad. The matchup with the Orioles may still have people excited, but BAL is no joke this year. They are a league average team with a 98 wRC+ against LHP and have strong SLG and ISO power numbers. There's nothing here that points to Yarbrough regressing to a better pitching baseline, so attack him at will.
Significant deviations to consider
- The largest positive deviations (after Lodolo) belong to Nick Pivetta up against the Yankees. First off, his last start came against this same opponent and they tagged him for six runs on eight hits. Likewise, the Yankees are a really good team against RHP with a 120 wRC+ in the recent sample. However, he gave up a .600 BABIP and 34% home run per flyball rate that game, both numbers that shouldn't be expected again. Considering a tough string of opponents, people may be off of Pivetta here due to recent performances. Don't let that scare you away and utilize him as a strong upside arm in DFS at low ownership.
- Lastly we look to Jared Koenig with the largest negative deviations and facing the Astros. There really isn't much to say here outside of the fact that Koenig doesn't really look like he's ready to be in the MLB. His walk rate is higher than his strikeout rate (which I call a chode baseline) and he doesn't have a necessarily strong pedigree. Houston is weaker to LHP than RHP with a 117 wRC+ to the handedness but they maintain some of the best power in the league. Considering metered success for Koenig in the league along with a rough opponent, you'll want to take the unders on him and stack up the Astros.