What FanDuel's New Scoring System Means for Selecting Starting Pitchers
Those who analyze and write about baseball have been moving away from pitcher wins as a meaningful statistic for some time now.
Sure, it's impressive when someone tallies 20 wins in a season or reaches 300 over the course of their career, but at the end of the day, there is a recognition that there are times when a pitcher has very little control over whether they win a game or not. The examples below help illustrate this point.
Out Of Their Control
Pitcher A throws seven shutout innings and leaves the game with a 1-0 lead, but his bullpen falters and gives up two runs in the ninth. Pitcher A does not get credited with a win.
Pitcher B throws seven innings of one-run ball and leaves the game down 1-0. The offense never gets on the board and, even worse, Pitcher B is credited with a loss despite his outstanding effort.
Pitcher C gives up five runs in five innings of work, but his offense has a field day and he leaves the game with a 7-5 lead. Pitcher C's team goes on to win the game in a rout, 12-5, and Pitcher C is credited with a win.
Obviously, Pitchers A and B both had better outings than Pitcher C, but Pitcher C emerges 1-0, while Pitcher A gets a no decision and Pitcher B falls to 0-1.
Unless a starter is going out and throwing shutouts every time they take the bump, their win total is, at some point, going to be affected by his teammates' ability to score runs or hold his lead. That inherent unfairness is why changes in FanDuel's DFS scoring for pitchers are so welcome.
New Scoring System
Last year, FanDuel's scoring gave starting pitchers 12 points for a win. This year, they are cutting that number in half (6) and awarding 4 points for a quality start (QS).
If a pitcher happens to get both a win and a QS, that's a total of 10 points, which is still two fewer than last season.
And that means a lot.
What It Means For You
You no longer have to be quite so afraid to use underdog pitchers when setting your DFS lineup.
Say the Philadelphia Phillies are playing the Washington Nationals and Vince Velasquez is taking the hill against Tanner Roark. Clearly, the Phils, and by extension, Velasquez, would not be favored to win. Philly's offense was the worst in baseball last year, and while it should be a little better this season, they probably shouldn't be counted on to do much against Roark.
But unlike in years past, getting that win no longer means quite as much. Last year, Velasquez averaged 10.44 strikeouts per nine innings, while Roark averaged 7.37, so let's put this fictional matchup in place and look at the point totals.
In this hypothetical game, Velasquez goes 6 innings and gives up 3 earned runs with 9 strikeouts, while Roark goes 7 innings and gives up 2 earned runs with 5 strikeouts. The Nationals end up winning 3-2, giving Roark the win and both hurlers get a quality start.
As displayed below, Velasquez and Roark finish with the same number of points despite Roark getting the win. Under last year's scoring rules, Roark would have outscored Velasquez 42-36.
The days of simply forfeiting 12 points are gone, opening up a wider variety of starting pitchers to use in your DFS lineups.