Week 7 Pitcher:
Apr 20, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Houston Astros starting pitcher Doug Fister (58) pitches against the Texas Rangers during the first inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Doug Fister (Owned in 12.4% of ESPN Fantasy Leagues)
Fister has gone under the radar in a disappointing Astros starting rotation. After one tough start against Kansas City at home in his second start of the year, Fister has pitched remarkably well, giving up three earned runs or fewer in his other six starts of the year.
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What has changed from the Fister who struggled to keep a rotation spot as a Washington National a year ago to the Fister that the Astros acquired for a one-year $7 million deal this offseason? It’s his increased amount of outs generated by the ground ball from 44.6% a year ago to 47.1% so far in 2016. That’s why he was so successful earlier in his career for the Seattle Mariners and the Detroit Tigers. This has caused his batting average against to drop from .286 to .244 and opponents BABIP to drop even more from .310 to a career low .250.
So why is this a positive for fantasy owners? He might not get owners strikeouts, averaging only 4.64 per nine innings this season, or keep down on the walks, averaging 2.95 per nine this season. However, he gives the Astros a great chance to win while limiting the number of base runners he gives up with a 1.24 WHIP this season. And when runners do get on base, he leaves them on base 74.6% of the time, which is second in his career totals.
Although a lot of these fancy statistics aren’t used in fantasy baseball, they give Fister a better chance to win games for the Astros. So, if Fister continues to give up 3 or less earned runs a game, he will be a nice fantasy pickup for the rest of 2016.
***Stats from Baseball-Reference***