Don't have an account?
Join the Best Live Fantasy Chat Community!

Lost password? [X]

Receive free daily analysis:

NFL    NBA    MLB

Already have an account? Log in here.

[X]

Forgot Password


[X]

Starting Pitcher Busts Who’ll Keep Junking It Up in 2019


It’s a stocked junkyard full of veteran left-handers in this edition of starting pitcher busts. Highlighted in articles depicting their incredible value and abilities over the last few years, the players on this list have suffered a free fall from the upper ranks of talent since then. After seeing a rapid transformation in quality from these pitchers, it’s advisable to be out a year early rather than a year late on these hurlers before things get worse.

With Father Time looming over these players’ careers, they will have to adapt to their diminishing skillset, and adjust to the way hitters attack them if they want to regain their past success. Drops in velocity, erratic control, and tossing virtual melons are just a few of the factors that hurt these former aces in 2018.

With their prime years in the rearview mirror, it’s time to take a look down the long road of displeasure.

Editor's Note: Get any full-season MLB Premium Pass for 50% off, with exclusive access to our season-long articles, 15 in-season lineup tools and over 200 days of expert DFS research/tools. Sign Up Now!

 

Madison Bumgarner (SF) - 80 ADP

Madison Bumgarner’s fantasy stock has crashed harder than his dirt bike in April of 2017. Tossing 129.2 innings last year, he went 6-7 with a 3.26 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 109 strikeouts with the San Francisco Giants. While his ERA and WHIP aren’t off-putting, his deteriorating strikeout rate is distressing.

Bumgarner had a 19.8 K% in 2018, the first time it dipped below 20% since his rookie season in 2010. His K% has drastically dropped in consecutive years, as it sat at a healthy 27.5% in 2016 before his bike accident. His fastball eroded down to 88.1 MPH, and he fell well below the league average in SwStr% (9.2). Bumgarner is a smart, crafty pitcher so he can still find ways to get outs, but his dependability in the strikeout column has faded away.

Although MadBum had a satisfying ERA last year, it wasn’t all rosy beneath the surface. He had a 4.42 SIERA, 3.99 FIP, and a 4.32 xFIP, meaning he actually should have had an ERA almost a full run higher. The Giants ballpark helped him in that regard.

Bumgarner will turn in 30 in August, but he hasn't been close to the same pitcher since the dirt bike accident. It’ll be difficult for him to recover his strikeout rate with his diminishing fastball velocity, and wins will also be elusive on a sub-par Giants team. His WHIP and ERA can still keep at a respectable pace, but paying for him as an SP2 is a mistake given the high upside strikeout arms that are in his ADP neighborhood.

 

Dallas Keuchel (FA) - 184 ADP

It may be no coincidence that Dallas Keuchel hasn’t found a home yet in 2019. Despite proving to be a durable arm with 204.2 IP a year ago, Keuchel went 12-11 with a 3.74 ERA, 1.31 WHIP, while accumulating just 153 strikeouts. Statistically speaking, it wasn't an ideal contract year for the recently turned 31-year-old.

Keuchel’s K% dropped to 17.5% after it sat over 20% during the last three seasons. He’s proven to be successful with below-average fastball velocity across his career, but his complimentary pitches didn’t live up to their success from previous campaigns. His 34.4% whiff rate on his breaking balls was the lowest since he got called up to the bigs in 2012. Batters also hit .260 on these pitches, after averaging only .159 on these offerings since 2014.

Keuchel’s elusiveness with his pitches has also vanished after he produced his career-worst numbers in chase rate (28.8%) and chase contact (66.4%). Across his big-league tenure, these figures sat at an average of 30.6% and 60.7% respectively. Evaporating with his craftiness was his always dominant GB%, as it also fell more than five ticks below his career rate in 2018 to just 54.9%.

With no contract appearing to be close in sight, it seems inevitable that Keuchel will have a late start to his season. Unless Houston brings back the lefty, he’ll have to build a relationship with his new backstop as well as his new coaching staff, which is easier said than done. Keuchel will be a leg behind his opponents when he does find a team, and with his deteriorating skills and strikeout rate, this will be even more disadvantageous for him.

 

Jose Quintana (CHC) - 191 ADP

Jose Quintana has asserted himself as an inning-eater arm over his career. Making 32 starts for the sixth consecutive year, he had the potential to eclipse 200 frames once again, but his ineffectiveness limited his innings to just 174.1. He racked up 158 strikeouts with a 4.03 ERA, and a 1.32 WHIP in his first full year on the North side of Chicago.

Quintana’s BB% has increased every season over the last four years topping out at an uninspiring 9.2% a year ago, over 1.5% higher than his 2017 mark. Not only was he handing out the free passes at an alarming rate, but he was serving up the long ball on a silver platter. Giving up 1.29 HR/9 last year, hitters punished all of his pitches despite keeping his ground ball rate (44.7%) right on his career pace (44.8%).

Quintana has only thrown a K-per-inning one time over his seven big league seasons, and his 21.4% K-rate from 2018 was just slightly above his 21.0% career-rate. He’s likely to remain in this region for strikeout ability, and if his innings stay limited  in 2019, he’s unlikely to make a drastic impact in this category for your fantasy squad.

As a top-20 starting pitcher selection before the start of 2018, things could have been a lot worse for Quintana last year. His 4.43 FIP and 4.39 SIERA suggest that he was fortunate to come away with the ERA that he did last year. Quintana has a superb track record health-wise, but we can't overvalue his quantity over quality.

 

Jon Lester (CHC) - 192 ADP

Like his teammate mentioned above, Jon Lester has maintained a strong ability to take the hill every five days. Making 32 starts in 2018, he has now made at least 31 starts every year since 2007. He posted a much better roto line than his teammate generating an 18-6 record with a 3.32 ERA, 1.31 WHIP while tossing 149 K over 181.2 IP. A couple of these numbers are solid, but this may be the final time we see rates this proficient.

Although Lester’s 3.32 ERA was satisfying, his underlying metrics were unappealing as he posted an ugly 4.39 FIP and a 4.57 SIERA in 2018. He saw his line drive rate reach a new high at 30.3% while his ground ball rate fell well beneath his 45.8% career rate down to 40.0% in 2018.

The punch-outs are also dissipating from the recently turned 35-year-old’s game. Lester's whiff rate tumbled down nearly 5% from 2017, down to 20.5% in 2018, and his four-seamer once again decreased in velocity down to an average of 91.0 MPH. He was also unable to get hitters to chase pitches as often, resulting in a seven-year low in walk rate with an 8.4% BB% in 2018.

Lester somehow managed an 80.3% strand rate which is sure to regress in 2019, especially if he upholds his 1.24 HR/9 from his last two seasons combined. Age is starting to set in with the 6’4” pitcher, and there’s a lot of miles on that left arm which is bound to catch up with him even more than it already has. The glory days are over with Lester, and it would be wise to toss this hot potato as far as you can before it’s too late.

More Fantasy Baseball Busts and Avoids




More Recent Articles

 

Updated Week 7 PPR Rankings (Top 300)

Welcome to Week 7 RotoBallers. Below are our updated consensus Week 7 PPR rankings for fantasy football, including some running notes on relevant injuries, player news and rankings updates: Josh Gordon has officially been ruled out for Week 7. Todd Gurley was not on the final injury report and is expected to play. David Johnson (ankle)... Read More


Wide Receiver Matchups To Target in Week 7

In Week 6, Julio Jones didn't score, but he came through with a decent fantasy day, going over 100-yards receiving. Brandin Cooks brutal Week 6 showing was a little bit of a surprise given his 2018 track record against the 49ers, but the Rams offensive line was overwhelmed which led to a rough day for... Read More


Fantasy Football Starts and Sits: Matchups Analysis for Week 7

Welcome to our Week 7 matchup analysis and start/sit column for fantasy football. We'll be covering every single contest from the Sunday slate in one convenient location, helping you make the best decisions for your fantasy lineups. Be sure to check back regularly because this article will be updated as news comes in regarding injuries and other... Read More


Week 7 Start/Sit: Monday Night Football Matchups Analysis

Even if this doesn’t turn out to be great MNF game, at least it's a divisional game with some importance. This is what Jets fans need to tell themselves heading into their second Monday Night Football game of the season. With the New England Patriots coming to town off their annual semi-bye in which they... Read More


The King's Key Starters and Tough Calls - Lineup Spotlights for Week 7

Welcome to Week 7, RotoBallers! Below you will find some of my spotlight plays and tough lineup decisions for the upcoming week of the fantasy football season. These player selections are based off my Premium Weekly Lineup Rankings, available as part of the RotoBaller's NFL Premium Pass. Enter promo code KING at checkout for a... Read More


Fantasy Football Rookies to Watch - Darius Slayton, Jakobi Meyers, Josh Oliver

Week 7 is here RotoBallers, which means we're smack dab in the middle of the regular fantasy season! In case you are new to this column, each week we'll highlight a few first-year players who are worth keeping your eye on. Not all of the players listed below are must-starts, but all of them are... Read More


Fleaflicker's Most Added and Dropped: Week 7

Every year and in every sport, a few teams march effortlessly towards the ultimate prize as if it's been preordained. When seemingly invincible teams like these are beaten, it's not always by the quality of their opponent but instead by their own psychological mindset. They look past a lesser opponent and fall victim to the... Read More


Fantasy Football News and Injuries - Running Updates

Below is a quick-hit list of running notes on relevant injuries and player news, including pre-game reports and live in-game updates. Stay tuned for updates all throughout the week and on Sunday morning game day:   Week 7 Josh Gordon has officially been ruled out for Week 7. Todd Gurley was not on the final injury... Read More


Week 7 Fantasy Football Staff Rankings

Below you will find all of RotoBaller's fantasy football weekly rankings, tiers, player news and stats for the 2019 NFL season. Our Ranking Wizard displays our staff's rankings for various league formats, all in one easy place. Here's what you'll find: Weekly PPR Rankings Weekly Half-PPR Rankings Weekly Standard Rankings Dynasty League Rankings     Fantasy... Read More


Pass Rush vs QB Matchups to Watch - Week 7

It's Week 7 and the injuries just keep piling up. Heading into this week, six different teams will be starting quarterbacks that were not their opening-day starters, and that doesn't take into account teams like the Indianapolis Colts or Kansas City Chiefs, who just lost quarterback Patrick Mahomes (knee) for at least three weeks. To... Read More


Offensive Line Rankings Analysis: Week 7

In Week 6, we once again saw some great football, starting with the New England Patriots continuing their undefeated start to the season and ending with one of the most controversial games of the week as the Green Bay Packers overcame the Detroit Lions. The London games continued with Jameis Winston struggling once again, this... Read More


Is Stefon Diggs Really Back?

Weeks 1-5: 4.6 targets, 3.2 receptions, 50.6 yards per game, one touchdown. Week 6: 11 targets, eight receptions, 167 yards, three touchdowns. All of these numbers show a marked improvement on the season averages of Stefon Diggs in Minnesota. But, do they tell the whole story? Do they really signify that Diggs should be considered... Read More


Inside the Tent - Week 7 NFL Injury Insight

At RotoBaller, we can't stress enough the importance of keeping up with injuries and playing your best lineup week after week. Players are going to get injured, that's an unavoidable fact. What's avoidable though is making the wrong roster decisions based on the injuries surrounding your fantasy squad. If you want to dominate your leagues... Read More


Week 7 Defense (DEF) Streamers and Starts - 2019 Fantasy Tiers, Rankings

Below are RotoBaller's Week 7 defense tiers and rankings, or which defenses to stream, start and target off the waiver wire for Week 7 of the NFL and fantasy football season. In case you missed it, this is our seventh year now writing this weekly column. Our weekly tiered defense rankings are a guide to making waiver... Read More


Week 7 Stream Team - Free Agent and Bye-Week Streamers

Now that bye weeks are in full swing; streaming becomes a more viable and almost necessary strategy. Knowing who to add and when to start them could be the ultimate difference-maker in a weekly matchup. Making the right streaming decisions throughout the season could easily be the difference in winning a championship. Each week, I... Read More