This account and website were built on streaming pitchers, so who better to dive in and figure out a formula which can lead to streaming success? After asking a few people in the industry which offensive stat holds the most weight, the most common answer was wRC+. Using wRC+ combined with other stats produced some very interesting results, but before we get into that there is a caveat here.
It is impossible to find ownership rates on players for specific days in the past. For this study, I wanted to use pitchers who were owned 30% or less on the day of their start. Pitcher’s ownership fluctuates a ton, for instance, Lance Lynn was streamable in April. The subset of pitchers used was based on my streaming sheet from last year (everyone I streamed was 30% owned or under via Yahoo) and by using the obviously available streamer options such as Antonio Senzatela.
I’m a firm believer that when it comes to streaming you want to look at a team’s stats over the last 14 days. My thinking is you can find a team on a current cold streak. For instance, let’s say it was May 15th and I wanted to stream a pitcher. I would look to see which team was at the bottom of the league in wRC+ from May 1st to May 14th. From here on out, know that all thresholds are based on streamers facing offenses who met that threshold in the last 14 days. Side note: this can all be found on Fangraphs.com.
70 wRC+ Threshold
When it comes to wRC+ I played with a few different thresholds to try and create the best results using just that stat. The best threshold for 2019 seemed to be 70 wRC+. According to Fangraphs that is between a Poor rating and Awful rating. These were the results
Underwhelming results for sure, while the league average ERA was 4.50 the result of a 4.86 ERA might please some but not many. I was expecting better results here so I figured we had to start combining wRC+ with other stats.
25.0 K% and 70 wRC+ Threshold
Next, I went with K% because the more a team strikes out the better to stream against, right? After playing with a few thresholds, the best result was when I used the threshold of 25.0 K% or more and paired it with the 70 wRC+ threshold.
Slightly better ERA here as we went from 4.86 to 4.73. What shocked me here was the lower K/9 as you would think pitchers would have an easier time against strikeout prone teams. With yet again mediocre results I moved on to another combination.
12.0 SwStr% and 70 wRC+ Threshold
SwStr% is a very popular stat for plate discipline, after trying different percentages I found the best threshold to combine with the 70 wRC+ was if a team had an SwStr% of 12.0 or higher.
Like K% the ERA was better but came out the exact same at 4.73. Relying on SwStr% and wRC+ appears to give you higher strikeout potential. The WHIP was also the best we have seen so far, but once again, the overall numbers weren’t what I was expecting.