Five Surprisingly Unprofitable Pitchers

Yesterday we looked at five pitchers who were much better at the betting window than the average baseball fan probably thinks that they are, so it only makes sense that we look at the other extreme today. Here are five guys who the public are probably fond of, but who are burning up money at astounding rates.

Cliff Lee, Indians – This may be one of the more stunning turnarounds of all time. Last year, en route to winning a Cy Young, Lee was the most profitable pitcher in the league. The team was 24-7 behind him and, like me, most people were so sure that he would fall back to earth at some point that they didn’t bet him down nearly as much as his performance probably justified. Fast forward eight months or so, and there is not a single pitcher in the league who has cost bettors more money than Lee. The public keep making him a favorite, and he keep showing what a bad idea that is.

Francisco Liriano, Twins – This one isn’t surprising considering what he has gone through over the last three years, but it’s just sad, and a bitter reminder of how cruel this sport can be. In 2006 he was 12-3, and he looked like he had invented pitching. Now he’s just marginally better than I am, and I really am not good. The team is 3-8 behind him, and he just doesn’t instill any confidence whatsoever.

Gil Meche, Royals
– Meche was signed to be the ace of this staff, and last year it looked like he was on his way to living up to that. Not so much this year. He’s just 2-5, and the Royals are 3-8 when he pitches. He has won just one of his last eight, so things are not getting better any time soon.

James Shields, Rays – Shields was 14-8 last year, and 12-8 the year before. He looked like he was definitely on the path to a very nice career, and he had the team behind him to take a step forward. Well, the Rays have been a bit disappointing, and so has Shields. His record, 4-4, is okay, but the team is 4-7 when he pitches. The only comforting thing here is that there are reasons to believe that he will improve – his stats are mostly consistent with last year, though he is giving up a few more walks. Because his numbers look okay, he could turn the corner at some point soon and start to win back some of the money he has lost.

Chien-Ming Wang, Yankees – Injuries have obviously been a huge factor here, but it’s shocking how bad Wang has been. He was as bad as a pitcher can be in three starts before hitting the DL . He’s been better in relief since coming back, but he’s still a long, long way from what he showed last year. Unless something changes soon and drastically, he’s going to go right back to burningbig piles of money as soon as he returns to the rotation this week.

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  1. Dear Sirs:
    I agree with Your “Do not bet list” exept for Cliff Lee,as He has suffered at least 3 “Bad Beats” I beleive
    He lost 1-0 vs Detroit and Verlander several weeks back,and has been the victem of no run support.
    I beleive He’ll turn it around,soon…

    Tim Ford

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