'Mariano Rivera' photo (c) 2009, Keith Allison - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/ Yesterday in ABA: The New WHIP, I laid out my six year old idea now of how to better evaluate pitchers performance than the standard that is used in virtually every fantasy league – WHIP. Instead I suggested that Average Bases Allowed (ABA) – recorded by taking Total Bases + Walks divided by Innings Pitched – gives a truer understanding of the level of performance for a hurler than WHIP (you can read about the in's an out's of ABA in the above link). Today, I'll list for you some of the leaders in ABA from the 2011 season based on innings pitched. Before I get to that a quick review of ABA.

ABA = (TBA + BB) / IP

The lower ones ABA the better, but it doesn’t read the same was as WHIP. Whereas the average WHIP last season was 1.32, the league average ABA of all pitchers in 2011 was 1.86.

Second, here is a “key” you can employ to understand the ABA totals.

Below 1.50: elite level performance 1.50-1.70: All-Star level 1.71-1.89: Solid major league hurler worthy of counting on in fantasy circles 1.91-2.10: Barley holding on to an effective role as a fantasy starter. 2.11 and up: Might as well line up a pitching machine

With that, here are some of the the hurlers that caught my eye broken down into innings pitched groupings.

2011 ABA LEADERS - Minimum 160 IP

1.31 – Clayton Kershaw 1.32 – Roy Halladay 1.35 – Justin Verlander What a shock. The three hurlers who are widely regarded as options 1-3 in 2012 finished 1-3 in ABA in 2011.

1.43 – Cliff Lee 1.44 Cole Hamels The Phillies had three of the top five arms according to ABA.

1.45 – Doug Fister He didn't beat himself with walks (37) or allow many long balls (11), a key in ABA.

1.59 – Brandon McCarthy Only issued 25 walks all season, a tremendous number. For my thoughts on McCarthy see his Player Profile.

1.61 – Phil Humber He finished last year in the top-20 in ABA. It would be surprising if he finished 2012 in the top-40.

1.69 – Gavin Floyd Often overlooked, Floyd had a better ABA mark than Gio Gonzalez (1.71), Daniel Hudson (1.73) and Yovani Gallardo (1.77).

1.84 – Zack Greinke Just slightly better than the league average in ABA (1.86), Greinke is still an elite arm. He just didn't score well according to this measure. Remember, no one measure ever paints for the you entire picture.

1.87 – Brandon Morrow You know I love the arm, but he simply must reign in the walks and cutting into the homer total would help as well.

1.97 – Bartolo Colon Don't be seduced by his strong first half last year.

2.04 – Ubaldo Jimenez Seventy-eight walks will kill ya.

2.33 – Bronson Arroyo The worst arm amongst qualifiers. Think it might have something to do with the 46 homers he allowed?

90-160 INNING HURLERS

1.39 – Johnny Cueto He led this group in ABA since he fell four innings short of appearing in the top group.

1.49 – Jim Johnson He doesn't strike many out, an I'm not sure he's a great 9th inning option, but he is rarely taken deep and doesn't beat himself with the free passes.

1.72 – Scott Baker and Vance Worley Baker's arm appears to be sound this spring, but continued minor setbacks are an issue. Worley is starting to get a lot of love in the fantasy game.

1.87 – Homer Bailey Though he had a solid WHIP of 1.28 his ABA was one hundredth worse than the league average.

2.37 – Edinson Volquez He has a great arm, has a fantastic home park, and the last two years his ground ball rate is over 50 percent. Still, ABA shows you just how far he will have to come to return to relevance.

2.42 – Danny Duffy He might look good this spring, but he looked awful last year.

LESS THAN 90 INNING ARMS

1.02 – Sergio Romo Just like with SWIP, Romo comes out on top.

1.16 – Mariano Rivera The AL leader, he gave up three homers and eight walks in over 61 innings last year.

1.23/1.24 – Craig Kimbrel/Jonny Venters How apropos that the best lefty-righty duo out of the pen also finished with nearly identical ABA marks.

1.28 – Greg Holland The Royals reliever had the same ABA mark as Sean Marshall and Jonathan Papelbon.

1.40 – John Axford, Brandon League They both induce a ton of grounders and that helped to keep their total bases down.

1.50 – Aroldis Chapman, Javy Guerra These two guys do it totally differently. One uses pure heat, the other get by more on “pitching.” Chapman walked a huge total of 41 guys in 50 innings but he allowed a mere two homers.

1.63 – Henry Rodriguez Though he finished with a poor 1.51 WHIP, he has a big arm and ABA shows him to still be better than a big league average performer last year. In fact, his ABA was the same as Andrew Bailey.

1.90 – Joe Nathan Nathan didn't get along well with ABA last year, even though he had a strong second half. Seven homers in just 44.2 innings isn't going to help anyone out.

1.99 – Huston Street Ten homers in 58.1 innings caused his ABA to be pretty high (see Nathan).

2.16 – Phil Hughes I keep warning about Hughes (see his Player Profile). The return to action of Andy Pettitte also is an issue.

For those of you who want to investigate further, here is the BBGuys-ABA-2011-PDF file that lists all men who tossed at least 40-innings last season.

Also... there is still time to pick up your copy of the 2012 BBGuys Draft Guide.

By Ray Flowers




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About Ray Flowers

The co-host of The Drive on SiriusXM Fantasy Sports Radio (Sirius 210, XM 87: Mon-Fri 7-10 PM EDT), Ray also hosts his own show Sunday night (7-10 PM EDT). Ray has spent years squirreled away studying the inner workings of the fantasy game to the detriment of his personal life. Specializing in baseball, football and hockey, some consider him an expert in all three.

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