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 the previous slate's post: Solid results from the bookends of the model yesterday. First off, Cristian Javier had a strong performance against the Yankees with just one run (a home run) on two hits over five innings. Garrett Hill faced the Athletics, who went on to score five runs on 10 hits and a home run.
MLB True AVG notable results
Leading off we are looking at Max Scherzer with the lowest True AVG on the day. Not only is Scherzer terrific in the recent sample, but he comes in fourth best in the full season True AVG tables (found here). Meanwhile, He's got a matchup with a below average Padres team today. Considering his strong strikeout rates and matchup providing a good floor, there's very little to dislike here. Follow the field and utilize him in all formats.
Next is Spencer Howard with the highest overall True AVG. Although Howard has shown upside in the minors, it has never fully materialized in the majors. He's got good-to-great strikeout upside but struggles with walks and home run rates. Likewise, he hasn't been able to get consistent outs and thanks to middling groundball rates has a high average which is deserved. Granted, his matchup today with the Athletics is something to exploit, so the downside is mitigated. In sum, Howard will likely end up more popular than he deserves, and if that's the case you'll want to fade him in GPPs.
UPDATE: With Jose Quintana being scratched, it is Zach Thompson starting for the Pirates. He is very bad and has the highest True AVG over Spencer Howard. He's got an equally as easy matchup, so a lot of the same thoughts on Howard apply here as well.
Significant deviations to consider
- A pretty gross option has the largest positive deviations: Antonio Senzatela against the Brewers. To clarify, Senzatela is a pretty bad pitcher. He has low strikeout rates and middling groundball rates, so there's always a lot of downside in his outcomes. That being said, nobody holds a .398 BABIP through a full season and we can expect that to come back down to earth. While the Brewers are a relatively strong team, they are inconsistent. While the rest of the field attacks him, you'll want to utilize Senzatela in GPPs for direct leverage.
- Finishing things up is Jose Urquidy with the largest negative deviations and facing the Mariners. To be fair, Urquidy has been mostly as expected in terms of the full season. However, his recent outcomes have greatly benefited from luck. He's got a hilariously low .145 BABIP along with a 7.3% HR/FB rate. His xFIP is two runs higher than his ERA and his strikeout rates aren't fantastic. Now, the Mariners are a league average team but they have above average power and can make Urquidy pay for mistakes. They are a top option in GPPs today based on their upside in this matchup.