Stat of the Day: What Happened To Doug Fister’s Strikeouts In 2014?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

Did You Know:
Among qualified pitchers Doug Fister owned the fifth worst K/9 in 2014:

1. Mark Buehrle – 5.30
2t. Scott Feldman – 5.34
2t. Henderson Alvarez – 5.34
4. Kyle Gibson – 5.37
5. Doug Fister – 5.38

Its a bit of an oddity, as strikeouts generally rise with a move to the NL. Instead, after posting marks of 6.07, 7.63 and 6.86 the previous three seasons we got this bitter disappointment.

So what happened? While he was getting opponents to chase outside the strike zone (35.3% O-Swing%), he wasn’t getting many swings and misses (6.1% SwStr%). He was throwing his fastball more than he had been in recent seasons, at 63.7%, and cut back significantly on his curveball (8.8%, after using it 20.2% in 2013).

That type of change can certainly have an impact on the results. Keep in mind the pitch he generated the most strikeouts with in 2013 ws his curveball, at 63 (and opponents also hit just .192 against it).

Maybe it was the lat strain that sidelined him at the start of the season, but look for a big-time rebound. Improved strikeouts, potentially elite control (1.73 career BB/9) and enough groundballs (49.2% for his career)? I’m buying in all formats if possible.

Sources – Fangraphs, Brooks Baseball

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One comment

  1. bigwang says:

    i think the problem is his price tag. for example yahoo has him as the 41st ranked SP off (158th overall), but if his K% remains at 2014 levels then it’s hard to see his ERA outperforming his FIP/SIERA by 1.5 runs again.

    i’ve always liked fister but this year the price tag and the strikeout rate drop makes me hesitant. maybe in an auction draft if i can get him for cheap.

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