Skip to main content

Starting Pitcher Regression Candidates to Avoid (2023 Fantasy Baseball)

by Chris Clegg | @RotoClegg | Featured Writer
Feb 6, 2023

What is FIP, and why is it useful? I am glad you asked! FIP, otherwise known as Fielding Independent Pitching, is an ERA indicator. FIP focuses solely on the events a pitcher has the most control over, such as strikeouts, unintentional walks, hit-by-pitches, and home runs. The idea behind FIP is that it removes defense from the equation by completely removing all batted balls into the field of play. When a pitcher has a high BABIP, the pitcher’s FIP will likely be lower than his ERA. Batted Balls in the field of play are not included in FIP because pitchers have little control over the outcome once the ball is in play. These tend to be pitchers that are in store for improved performance the following year.

So which pitchers had the highest negative ERA minus FIP in 2022, and what does it mean moving forward? Let’s take a look.

Fantasy Baseball Draft Kit

2022 ERA Minus FIP leaderboard(Min 120 IP)

Name Team IP ERA FIP Diff
Julio Urias LAD 175 2.16 3.71 -1.55
Tony Gonsolin LAD 130.1 2.14 3.28 -1.14
Alek Manoah TOR 196.2 2.24 3.35 -1.11
Marco Gonzales SEA 183 4.13 5.05 -0.92
Dylan Cease CHW 184 2.20 3.1 -0.9
Josiah Gray WSN 148.2 5.02 5.86 -0.84
Michael Wacha BOS 127.1 3.32 4.14 -0.82
Eric Lauer MIL 158.2 3.69 4.5 -0.81
Chris Flexen SEA 137.2 3.73 4.49 -0.76
Justin Verlander HOU 175 1.75 2.49 -0.74

Julio Urias (SP – LAD) and Tony Gonsolin (SP – LAD)

Two Dodgers’ arms top the list of the highest negative differential between their ERA and FIP. It is no surprise to see a higher FIP given that both arms had a 2.16 and 2.14 ERA, respectively. But why is there such a large differential for both arms?

The Dodgers did lead all teams with a 52.2 percent shift rate. While they shifted over 70 percent of the time against left-handed hitter, they also shifted against righties 42 percent of the time. While FIP is fielding independent, Urias and Gonsolin both had lower strikeout rates, and Urias had a high home run rate which played in.

The fact that both pitchers had the shift behind them quite often does not show up in FIP, and both Urias and Gonsolin benefited in major ways. This shows by the fact they ran extremely low BABIPs and high strand rates.

Alek Manoah (SP – TOR)

Alek Manoah may be a surprising name on this list. But I think there is a common theme here. Starters with lower strikeout rates typically run higher FIPs. Manoah posted an impressive 2022 season that followed up a strong rookie year. A 2.24 ERA and a 0.99 WHIP came with just a 22.9 percent strikeout rate and a 3.35 FIP. His SIERA was even higher at 3.85.

I find it also interesting that the Blue Jays shifted the third most of any team behind the Dodgers and Astros. Like both Dodgers arms, Manoah ran a low BABIP(.244) and a high strand rate(82.6%).

Regardless, Manoah had an elite season, and if you put too much stock into the higher ERA indicators and low strikeout rate, you will likely miss out on him in 2023. The projections are all over the board on Manoah but across his 308 MLB innings; he has a 2.60 ERA. Manoah is an SP1 until further notice.

Dylan Cease (SP – CHW)

Dylan Cease enjoyed a massive breakout year on his way to being the runner-up for AL CY Young. Cease posted a 2.20 ERA across 184 innings with 227 strikeouts. While Cease had a much higher FIP than his ERA, it still checked in at an impressive 3.10.

Cease is likely a regression candidate as is due to the nature of his high walk rates and inconsistencies, but the fact he had the caliber of season he did in 2022 despite that is impressive. Even if Cease pitches to an ERA somewhere between his 2021 FIP(3.41) and 2022(3.10) he should still provide plenty of value in 2023. You just have to decide whether the draft cost is worth it.

Whether you’re new to sports betting or a betting pro, our Sports Betting Strategy and Advice page is for you. You can get started with our 101 section — including 10 Sports Betting Tips for Beginners — or head to more advanced strategies — like Key Numbers When Betting Against the Spread — to learn more.

Go premium to view top prop bets based on Cover Probability, Expected Value & Star Rating >>


Subscribe: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Google Podcasts | Stitcher | RadioPublic | Breaker | Castbox | Pocket Casts

Featured, Featured Link, MLB