Pitchers: Are Slow Starters Doomed?

On the flip side of the mostly undrafted guys who had great first halves, there is the list of the worst pitchers in the first half of this year.

The 20 Least Profitable Pitchers of 2014

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While there are some guys who were not bought on this list, the key guys are those for whom real money was paid who have not performed. Guys who weren’t bought on draft day who perform badly are quickly dropped, so even if a few diehards picked up Joe Saunders when the Rangers promoted him, he didn’t last on anyone’s fantasy squad for long.

The question for fantasy owners at this point this season is how long should you hold onto putative bums like Verlander and Masterson? A look at last year’s full season chart for the midseason Bottom 20 will show something.

The 20 Least Profitable Pitchers 2013 First Half, With Full Season Earnings

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This list is quite a bit different than this year’s list. Only one of the bad first half pitchers was expected to be good in 2013. Well, two, if you count Ryan Vogelsong at $9. Twelve of this year’s list cost $9 or more. As such, there is good news. Dan Haren, the one $10+ pitcher who was expected to be good actually was good in the second half, pitching the way he was expected to on draft day.

Many other pitchers lost less, but in many cases that’s because they pitched less, as their teams tried to improve by avoiding their worst arms. Phil Humber had 35 dreadful innings in the first half, and 14 merely bad ones in the second.

Or, in the case of Brad Peacock, a few dismal first-half innings led to demotion. When he was recalled he was better in August and September, though he didn’t earn a profit.

A look at the ten most expensive pitchers who failed worst in the first half of 2013, perhaps gives a better idea what to expect from your first-half pitching failures this year:

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Not a lot, but certainly better than the first half, in most cases.