The Value of Run Support


What do Lance Lynn, Max Scherzer and Bartolo Colon have in common? They lead Major League Baseball in run support. All three of them receive an average of over six runs a game when they are on the mound. Currently, they have a combined win-loss record of 31-4.

There is one factor that pitchers cannot control and that is how many runs their team scores while they are trying to get hitters out. Even though they have no control over their teams run production it can affect their statistics a significant amount.

The biggest effect is how many wins a pitcher can amass with great run support behind them. The aforementioned Lynn, Scherzer and Colon’s win totals are staggering this season. Another factor that is rarely mentioned is the amount of innings a pitcher is allowed to throw with a lead, which correlates with increased statistics across the board.

Under normal circumstances maybe a pitcher will throw six quality innings with a slim lead or his team trailing behind on the scoreboard. If you have a three, four or five run lead, a manager is more likely to keep their starters on the mound for an extra inning or two. It doesn’t seem like a lot but over the course of an entire season that will lead to increased statistics in all of the categories that count in fantasy baseball.

Bartolo Colon has thrown 98 innings this season. In his previous two seasons he didn’t throw more than 164 innings total. He is on pace to throw over fifty innings more than last season. Who wouldn’t want an extra fifty innings of strikeouts and a few extra wins to pad your fantasy teams statistics.

There are those pitchers that are just as talented and have comparable statistics but don’t have the run support to push them towards an All-Star Game appearance on July 16

Lance Lynn leads all of baseball with his run support at 6.56 runs per game. Pitchers with this kind of run support will always find success as Lance has done this season. Bronson Arroyo has .500 record with the Reds this season becauseof his lack of run support. Bronson Arroyo is seen as an above average pitcher this season while Lance Lynn is seen as an All-Star.

  ERA WHIP BAA W Run Support
Lance Lynn 3.52 1.16 .217 10 6.56
Bronson Arroyo 3.61 1.21 .264 5 3.69

Max Scherzer is having a fantastic year. He is 11-0 with a WHIP under 1.00. Every fantasy player on the planet, would love to have Scherzer on their team. If I propose a trade and offer you for A.J. Burnett would you be as excited? You should be.

A.J. Burnett is having one of the best seasons of his fourteen-year major league career. His season is nearly identical to Max Scherzer’s with the exception that A.J. Burnett has a losing record at 5-7 and Scherzer is 11-0. It all comes down to the amount of run support each player receives.

  ERA WHIP BAA W Run Support
Max Scherzer 3.05 0.91 .192 11 6.33
A.J. Burnett 3.21 1.13 .206 5 2.86

James Shields has almost identical statistics this season as Bartolo Colon with one glaring exception. The Oakland Athletics give Bartolo Colon almost three runs more a game than the support that James Shields receives from the Kansas City Royals. Bartolo Colon is being talked about as a possible starter for this year’s All-Star game while James Shields might not even make the team.

As you can see, their statistics are nearly identical but because of a lack of wins for Shields he is just an afterthought when people discuss pitchers who are having great seasons.

  ERA WHIP BAA W Run Support
Bartolo Colon 2.93 1.10 .260 9 6.27
James Shields 2.92 1.16 .238 2 3.63

Seven more wins for Bartolo Colon make a huge difference in perception.

These pitchers are just a few examples of the disparity between having a great run scoring team behind you and having a mediocre team scoring runs.

You can target pitchers for the second half that are having All-Star caliber seasons but they are not getting the respect they deserve because of their win-loss records. Arroyo, Burnett and Shields should be targeted as possible trade targets before the trade deadline.

You will not see an advance in your win column but you will receive outstanding statistics in three other categories.

Tags: A.J. Burnett Bartolo Colon Bronson Arroyo James Shields Lance Lynn Max Scherzer Pitchers Run Support