How to handle starting pitchers in 2019 was a topic I discussed throughout the season, as there were many high selections felled by injury or ineffectiveness. By looking at the pitchers who surprised this season, it's apparent fantasy owners can find impactful arms later in drafts who can help your roster. As we have done throughout, the pitchers who disappointed will be based off of their average draft position from March.
Pitchers Who Disappointed:
1. Washington Nationals Starting Pitcher Stephen Strasburg - The right-hander had the worst season of his career, as he finished with a 3.74 ERA, 1.20 WHIP and 1.2 home runs per nine innings. Not only did Strasburg deal with ineffectiveness, but he once again had injury issues. The 30-year-old started just 22 games, a career low total which led to him throwing 130 innings. Strasburg has always been an injury risk yet is consistently drafted high. The righty had an average draft position of 25 and was being taken as the fifth starting pitcher, according to FantasyPros.com. If we are investing that much in a player, we need to know they are durable. Strasburg is not.
2. Pittsburgh Pirates Starting Pitcher Chris Archer - Frequent readers of our "Three Up, Three Down" column know that Archer's name finds himself on the "Three Down" lists quite often. For a pitcher who has struggled the last couple of years, Archer still finds himself drafted as a top-20 starting pitcher. It was once again another below-average season, as Archer was traded from the Tampa Bay Rays to the Pirates in July and continued to struggle in a different uniform. Archer finished this season with a 4.31 ERA and 1.38 WHIP and has now finished three straight seasons with an ERA higher than four. I think fantasy owners need to take the approach that Archer is just an average pitcher and hopefully his draft day stock will reflect that.
3. Cleveland Indians Reliever Cody Allen - The closer position is always volatile, which is why investing high draft picks is always a risky proposition. Allen was one of the best closers during recent seasons. He entered 2018 with a streak of 30 saves or more for three straight years and an ERA under 3.00 for five straight years. However, it was a rough 2018: Allen finished with just 27 saves and pitched to a 4.70 ERA. The veteran was drafted as the sixth closer in March, but came nowhere near providing that value this season.
4. Chicago Cubs Starting Pitcher Jose Quintana - It was a below-average season for the left-hander, as Quintana finished with a 4.03 ERA and 1.32 WHIP. Quintana did make 31 starts, but he pitched just 169.1 innings. The 29-year-old was drafted as 19th starting pitcher in March, but he didn't come close to performing at that level. This was the second straight season Quintana finished with an ERA over 3.00 which just doesn't cut it in fantasy, especially when we are drafting that player as one of our top starting pitchers.
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