The "30 Over" Series Part One

About The 30 Over Series

The SP Streamer “30 Over” series will be about 30 players who I think will outperform their ADP and current market value. This idea actually stems from high-stakes player Phil Dussault. In a Twitter thread discussing accountability for analysts, he suggested that a good analyst should be able to come up with 30 to 50 players that they like more than the market. They also should be right on about 60% of them. This was an interesting idea so I decided to test myself this year to see how I do.

This series will be multiple parts because I would like to dive into each player and provide as much evidence I can to support my thought process. There will be both pitching and hitting and I will likely list closers last due to a lot of pending free agents. Here we go!

1) Yusei Kikuchi, SEA: ADP 356

Yusei Kikuchi had yet another disappointing season in 2020 and this is certainly a risky pick. In nine starts he produced a 5.17 ERA, 3.30 FIP, and 4.34 SIERA. What stands out instantly is the ERA and FIP being almost two full runs apart. Whenever you see this it causes intrigue and is the main force behind diving into Kikuchi as a pitcher. Let’s compare his 2019 to 2020.

A lot of good stuff going on here, essentially he improved in every facet of his game. For now, let’s ignore that walk rate and get back to it later.

Kikuchi made two major changes in 2020 and the first one was his velocity. Dating back to the end of 2019 Kikuchi started raising his fastball velocity from 91/92 MPH to 93/94 MPH. Then he came out balling in 2020 throwing his fastball at 95 MPH. Here were the results:

Much better results! This mainly stems from his velocity increasing his four-seam’s vertical movement. It increased from 8.64 inches to 9.71 inches leading hitters to swing at it more in the zone while making a lot less contact.

Besides higher velocity leading to a better fastball, Kikuchi also experienced a pitch mix change. Here comes another chart, consider Kikuchi “Mr. Chartable.”

Two takeaways here. He dropped the fastball usage which we like because it clearly helped his sequencing but he also added a cutter. The cutter was pretty good last year as it posted a 3.2 Barrel%, 63.8 GB%, and 10.5 SwStr%. He loves to put it low and in on right-handed hitters w