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Going into 2014, I like to look at starting pitchers who can dominate the peripheral stats that focus on swings and misses.  Making hitters look silly.  Getting bad swings.  Getting Ks.  The logic is, if they can do this consistently, they must be a pretty good pitcher, and, at minimum, will provide your fantasy team with a good amount of Ks.

The cutoffs I use are: 30 percent outside swing percentage, 20 percent strikeout percentage and 10 percent swinging strike percentage.  Or higher.  I call it the 30-20-10 test.

Now, excelling at these peripheral stats isn't everything, and of course looking only at the stats will leave out the importance of pitch mix, pitch sequencing and other untold factors.  But swinging strike percentage does have a good correlation with strikeout percentage, so there's that.  Another caveat: some of these are small sample sizes.


Gavin Floyd has had good peripherals but often disappointed.
Photo by Keith Allision, used under creative commons license.

Here's the list:

A.J. Burnett
Anibal Sanchez
Carlos Torres
Chris Sale
Clayton Kershaw
Cole Hamels
Corey Kluber
Danny Duffy
Danny Salazar
David Hale
Felix Hernandez
Francisco Liriano
Gavin Floyd
Hisashi Iwakuma
Homer Bailey
Jeff Samardzija
Jenrry Mejia
Johnny Cueto
Jose Fernandez
Josh Beckett
Julio Teheran
Justin Verlander
Madison Bumgarner
Mat Latos
Matt Harrison
Matt Harvey
Max Scherzer
Patrick Corbin
Scott Kazmir
Stephen Strasburg
Tim Lincecum
Todd Redmond
Tom Gorzelanny
Tony Cingrani
Tyson Ross
Yu Darvish
Yusmeiro Petit
Zack Greinke

 
Here is a list of pitchers that did it in the 2nd half:
 
A.J. Burnett
Anibal Sanchez
Chris Sale
Clayton Kershaw
Cliff Lee
Cole Hamels
Francisco Liriano
Homer Bailey
James Shields
Jeff Samardzija
Justin Verlander
Kris Medlen
Lance Lynn
Madison Bumgarner
Matt Garza
Ricky Nolasco
Scott Kazmir
Stephen Strasburg
Tyson Ross
Zack Greinke         
 
I like a lot of these players going into 2014.  At minimum, I like to use this list to narrow my focus of players to target, see who is on this list but getting no love in drafts and pounce for a good price.  The one guy who was top 5 in each category amongst the 30-20-10 list?  Can you guess?  It was Danny Salazar.  Keep an eye on him.