Almost as important as knowing who to target on Draft Day, is knowing who to avoid. In other words, the busts. A bust is a player who will perform noticeably worse than his Average Draft Position. Here are Caveball’s top ten pitchers we think are overrated for the upcoming 2015 campaign:
1. Masahiro Tanaka (SP) I’ll admit, “off the bat”, Tanaka was the toughest to include on this list. He is an elite talent, and if he stays healthy he could be a high reward pick this year. But he’s high risk, as well, because that is one big if. A stellar first season was clouded over by a partial tear of his right ulnar collateral ligament. Yup, the same one that leads to Tommy John surgery. The deeper your league, the higher the risk you take here. (Injury Risk – Bust)
2. Jacob DeGrom (SP) Sophomore slumps seem to prey particularly on ROYs, and especially if they are pitchers. Degrom’s minor league stats were nothing like his great debut in the majors. His award serves only to increase his ranking and decrease his value. Rival teams will be ready for him in 2015, which should bring him back closer to his minor league numbers: 3.62 ERA/.265 BAA/1.28 WHIP. (Overvalued – Bust)
3. Michael Wacha (SP) The Cardinals are certainly seeming to favour pitchers with large frames. Their top four pitchers average 6’6″. Certainly there are some perspectives that believe big-bodied hurlers have more endurance. Wacha, however, has yet to prove he can withstand the rigors of anything close to a full season, both in the majors and the minors. Last year’s injury-shortened 107 IP was the most the 23 yr. old has thrown in a season, including the minors. Was the series-ending walk-off home run to Travis Ishikawa a sign of things to come. Maybe not, but his shoulder issues, along with a lousy September is all I need to know to give him a pass this year. He’ll be on a short leash, as well. I wouldn’t trust him with a 10-round pole this year. (Durability Issues – Bust)
4. Hyun-Jin Ryu (SP) Allowed 2 runs total in 4 “elite” starts against the hapless farm team otherwise known as the “old Padres”. This padded his numbers more than you would think, but it won’t be repeated. His division rivals have undergone more than a facelift offensively. As well, durability issues loom after September fade. (Overvalued – Bust)
5. Homer Bailey (SP) Why did it take the former first round draft pick 5 years to have a season worth regarding as good as his pedigree suggested? Answer: because he’s not really all that good. Look at his career MLB stats: record: 58-50 with a 4.17 ERA/.258 BAA/1.31 WHIP. The Christian Bale doppelganger is no superhero, but Batman could still be a nickname of sorts. Oh, that’s just cruel. (Overvalued – Bust)
6. Matt Shoemaker (SP) There had to be a rabbit’s foot in the shoes he made last year. How does a hurler with no previous sign of a potential stable career in the majors win 16 of 20 starts in his rookie year? His career minor league stats include a 4.52 ERA/.280 BAA/1.36 WHIP line. So, you have to expect a regression of some sort after last year’s 3.04 ERA/.241 BAA/1.07 WHIP. Not to worry, one of your opponents will be sure to take him long before you should even consider it. Right? (Overvalued – Bust)
7. Rick Porcello (SP) Although Porcello did manage a respectable 3.43 ERA last season, he has allowed more hits than innings pitched in each of his 6 seasons in the Majors. Keep in mind this took place in pitcher-friendly Comerica Park. The move to Boston could shorten Porcello’s career. His career BAA (.283) is particularly worrisome in the smaller confines of Fenway Park, where so much can and does happen. Can’t you just picture the Bostonian accent annunciating his name with disgust and helplessness even before the All-Star Break arrives? (Overvalued/Tough Stadium – Bust)
8. C. C. Sabathia (SP) The great thing about the old days, I imagine, is that if a player was no longer “working out”, or to put it more bluntly – way past his prime, then his team wouldn’t have much of an issue in “letting him go”, or to put it more bluntly – putting him out to pasture. These days, with millions of dollars invested in a player that should have been “pasteurized”, the front office will do everything in its power to hang onto the one-time asset, or to put it more bluntly – milk him for everything he’s worth. Expect Sabathia to get clobbered. (Big Name/Less Game – Bust)
9. Huston Street (RP) Whatever the reason (ballpark, league, or the pressure of closing games that matter), his numbers, though not horrible, rose enough to take notice after the trade to the Angels, especially in September. In the final month Street had a .294 BAA and 1.56 WHIP. Huston? He could have a problem. I even recall feeling nervous for him when he took the mound, which is never a good sign for a closer. It’s like losing confidence in your broker – it can happen in a heartbeat. (Tough Home Stadium & Division – Bust)
10. Joe Nathan (RP) Speaking of nervous, man did Nathan ever look tense on the mound last year. His huge and frequent exhales almost made me forget how dominant he once was – one of the best closers of all time. My sentimental side refuses to allow me a breakdown of his numbers. Let’s just say I think it would be a shame if the 40 yr. old continued to pitch this year. Let’s remember him for who he was. (Big Name/Less Game – Bust)
OK, We know you guys have your opinions. So, let’s have ’em.
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