Draft Day Secrets Revealed–Kawasaki Konjecture

27 03 2009

The Kawasaki Konjecture, which I mentioned earlier, is a theory of starting pitching in fantasy baseball, which I’m attributing to my long-time co-manager Hurricane Kawasaki.

Hurricane summarizes in an email:

My theory is that we can recreate some of the stats that the mid-tier to upper mid-tier pitchers give them by “combining” stats.  That is, we use numerous different stats from numerous different pitchers in their most “favorable” conditions.  The latter conditions may consist of pitching against some bad offensive teams, etc…  I won’t go out on a limb and claim that the top pitchers or those drafted in rounds 9-10 are worthless, but after that I think everything is a toss-up.  There are some options in there that may backfire and flop (like Verlander last season) and some options that came up from nowhere last season who are drafted in the top rounds of pitchers (Volquez and Harden).

There are actually two separate ideas here, where one is streaming and the other deals with breakout stars.  Hurricane and I only drafted two starting pitchers–Scott Baker and Max Scherzer.  In order to compete in starting pitching, we’ll need to do one or both of two things.  Either, we stream, constantly adding and dropping starters based on match-ups, or we identify, add and hold effective starting pitchers that are available on the wire.  Last year we were pretty succesful at finding guys, adding Harden, Volquez and Justin Duchscherer through the season, while also streaming in some spot starts.

I want to test the Konjecture a little more formally.  My plan is a weekly/bi-weekly post looking at the top starting pitchers over the last 7/14 days.  Of the top 10 pitchers, I’ll work with Hurricane to group them into these categories:

  • Pitchers drafted early (A)
  • Pitchers drafted late (B)
  • Undrafted pitchers who are very good (C)
  • Undrafted pitchers who had favorable matchups (D)
  • Undrafted pitchers who got lucky (E)

Pitchers who are drafted and dropped won’t count towards A or B, since they become part of the waiver wire.  D can be defined by looking at the strength of offenses and favorability of stadiums.  C vs. E is a somewhat subjective judgment, which I’ll leave to Hurricane.

By separating the top 10 pitchers each week into these categories and compiling the results, I should be able to gather a good idea of the relative merits of drafting pitchers early (A), drafting pitchers late (B), finding breakout stars (C), streaming (D) and luck (E).  Should be a pretty interesting analysis.

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