Bullish or Bearish: Trevor Bauer
Ordinarily, one would think that being bearish on a guy with a 5.53 ERA is as relevant as a National Enquirer headline, but for some reasons, the DFS markets are still surprisingly high on Trevor Bauer. Priced at $8,600 on Fan Duel, this is the kind of mispricing that led investors to create a way to short stocks. That said, there is usually SOME context in these cases and it is important to understand what that context is.
The DFS market operates similarly to the stock market in the way that prices fluctuate daily with new information. With hitters that information first comes from daily boxscores. Much in the way that the Bullish and Bearish series tries to look at the next level data informing the validity of those boxscore outputs, DFS players everywhere have access to this data and knowledge of how to use it. Similarly, FanDuel and DraftKings are using this data every day to establish long term pricing of each player as well as day to day fluctuations. So what could be leading FanDuel to price Bauer so high?
Why is Bauer’s price so inflated?
Let’s start with his xFIP, sitting at 3.65, very respectable given the spike in homeruns and overall offensive output these last two years. Usually I like to assume the xFIP as the baseline in my pitcher evaluations. His 10.29 K/9 also looks elite. Until June His walk rate looked like he was showing progression, improving by 0.5 BB/9 (much more significant than that number looks at first glance. Bauer’s walk rates have always been below average. Being simply average would allow his elite 2017 strikeout rate to stand out. His below average 56.9% F-Strike% (first pitch strike %) suggests his control has not improved. Then there’s the other problem.
That new K/9 rate may be a predictive stat this far into the season, but as the fake BB/9 improvement, prior year rates can matter more and his prior three years averaged at an 8.3 K/9, simply above average. Statistical outliers happen, but behind Bauer’s 10.29 K/9 this year, is a measely 8.8% swinging strike rate, which is actually worse than any of the previous 3 years. Equally concerning, is his 23.8% O-Swing% (pitches outside of the zone that generate swings), below average. This suggests that hitters are laying off the pitches he wants them swinging at.
When is Bauer playable?
In the $8,600 range on FanDuel, you want a pitcher with a relatively high floor for cash games. Trevor Bauer has a solid four pitch arsenal so his upside can be amazing (see vs Oakland recently), but I only want to spend $7,500 on this kind of profile in a tournament game. Bauer is too inconsistent and overall not an above average pitcher. If he falls into the $7,500 range, then I’ll play him against Minnesota or in some good spot.
He is platoon split neutral so there isn’t an obvious spot to fade him, but there’s certainly no reason to shy away from fading Bauer.
I am BEARISH on Trevor Bauer.
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