Originally written on Baseball Professor  |  Last updated 11/15/14
I was among the many people downgrading Hiroki Kuroda last year after he signed with New York and called Yankee Stadium his new home. Obviously the offense backing him would be better — it’s not surprising that he increased his win total from 13 to 16 — but I didn’t think he’d be able to keep his ERA low enough to remain a valuable fantasy option. For a player who doesn’t wow with his strikeout totals, a very good ERA was a necessity. So like I said, I was wrong in counting out Kuroda. For the second straight season he outperformed his FIP by a wide margin, and you can thank his well-above average strand rate (LOB%) for that. Honestly, projecting Kuroda’s strand rate in 2013 is a dicey proposition at best. He was under 69% in his first three MLB seasons and over 77% in his last two. The league average is around 72% annually, so Kuroda is either very good or very bad. If I have to guess which side he’ll end up on this year (and I’m writing this so I do), I’ll have to go with what he’...
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