Uneven Trades and K/9 vs Swinging Strikes

Uneven Trades

Most owners this season have filled their DL slots and probably have an injured player or two on their bench. As these players return from the DL, it might be a good time to look to make a trade that is a little lopsided, but benefits both parties.

With a player coming off the DL, you will need to open a spot your roster by dropping a player. Hopefully, you have been searching the waiver wire and have accumulated some useful talent on your team. Your players are hopefully better than those available on the waiver wire. Why give away the player you have to drop for free when they could be used to help your team. Instead of dropping the player, look for teams that may need a player that is better than those available on the waiver wire (the team with four starters on the DL may be a nice place to start).

Next look for a small upgrade on your team like trading Mark Teixeira and Carlos Carrasco to get Joey Votto. It doesn’t have to be the owner’s top stars, just an improvement no matter how small. You had nothing to lose since one of your players was headed to the waiver wire any way.

A couple words of caution. A owner may start by asking around to see if anyone is interested in their players before they are available, but hold off on the trade until your players are satisfactory off the DL and ready to play. Some players may have their rehab extended or pitchers may return a shell of their former selves. Also, other players on your team may end up on the DL between the time of the trade and the player is officially off the DL.

These type of trades are really a no lose situation for both owners.

Swinging Strikes vs. K/9

Swinging strike percentage is a great indicator of a pitcher’s ability to strike out a batter. A quick rule of thumb is that K/9 = SwgStr% – 1.5 (if you run a regression, the linear equation of actual formula has an r = 0.81, the quick rule of thumb has an r = 0.80). Using SwgStr%, here are the starting pitchers that are under and over performing their K/9 rates so far for 2011:

Under Performers
Name SwgStr% Projected K/9 K/9 Difference
Rick Porcello 9.8% 8.3 5.1 -3.2
Jeremy Hellickson 10.3% 8.8 5.7 -3.1
Shaun Marcum 12.0% 10.5 8.2 -2.3
Michael Pineda 12.4% 10.9 8.8 -2.1
Hiroki Kuroda 10.3% 8.8 7.0 -1.8
Over Performers
Name SwgStr% Projected K/9 K/9 Difference
Erik Bedard 8.2% 6.7 8.7 2.0
James McDonald 6.5% 5.0 7.0 2.0
Yovani Gallardo 7.7% 6.2 8.2 2.0
C.J. Wilson 6.5% 5.0 7.9 2.9
Bartolo Colon 5.9% 4.4 8.3 3.9

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Jeff writes for RotoGraphs, The Hardball Times, Rotowire, Baseball America, and BaseballHQ. He has been nominated for two SABR Analytics Research Award for Contemporary Analysis and won it in 2013 in tandem with Bill Petti. He has won three FSWA Awards including on for his MASH series. In his first season in Tout Wars, he won the H2H league. Follow him on Twitter @jeffwzimmerman.

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Paul Sporer

I had a similar situation in a league where after bidding we can actually have more than max roster if you won multiple bids and then you can make your decisions from there as long as you’re at max by Monday’s first game. There was a team decimated by injuries so I essentially traded the depth for better track records:


I positively could not keep three of the players so I parlayed that depth into some star power. It’s a keeper league, but only 2 keepers so it’s always stars and thus trading Pineda doesn’t hurt me long-term.

Long story short, I totally agree with these deals. Things don’t need to be 100% even once we’re in-season. It’s all about manipulating the standings and best using your assets. Always try a trade before just outright cutting an asset.