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January 13, 2012 posted by Paul Greco

Biggest Fantasy Baseball Busts of All-Time: Pitchers

Biggest Fantasy Baseball Busts of All-Time: Pitchers
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Here is the second part to the two-part series discussing the biggest busts in fantasy baseball of all-time. This week we delve into the pitchers who generated the most grief and heartache for many fantasy managers.

10. Aaron Harang
Year: 2008
In the preseason, Harang was ranked as one of the top pitchers in the league. He was coming off two 16-win seasons and 200-plus strikeouts in each. He was solidifying his position as a reliable starting pitcher in fantasy baseball. Harang followed that up by going 6-17 with a 4.78 ERA and 153 strikeouts. All his numbers were down across the board in 2008. A quick side note: this makes Harang a great value in 2009.

9. Scott Erickson
Year: 1993
Some may feel Erickson doesn’t belong on this list because he never was good enough to be that big of a bust. Well, Erickson was well on his way to being a top pitcher in the American League in the early ‘90s. In his first three seasons in the big leagues, Erickson was 41-24 with a 3.20 ERA. Those numbers seemed to just disappear in the 1993 season and for the rest of his career. Erickson went 8-19 with a 5.19 ERA and an ugly 1.54 WHIP.

8. Esteban Loaiza
Year: 2004
Loaiza went 21-9 with a 2.90 ERA and 207 strikeouts in 2003. He had never put up numbers quite like that before, so most managers were hesitant to draft him too early. On average, he was a top 50 pick, landing in the fifth and sixth rounds of most drafts. In 2004, Loaiza was a huge dud for both the White Sox and Yankees. He went 10-7 with a 5.70 ERA, 1.57 WHIP and just 117 strikeouts.

 7. Mark Davis

Mark Davis, San Diego Padres Closer

Year: 1990
The closer position has certainly evolved in fantasy baseball, and not many closers are drafted early enough to be in the consideration of all-time greatest busts. However, Davis is a little different. Davis is among a handful of closers who have won the Cy Young award, which he did in 1989. Davis saved 44 games and posted a 1.85 ERA for the Padres and was also sixth in the MVP voting. Davis went over to the Royals in 1990 and was never really the same. He went 2-7 with only six saves and a 5.11 ERA that year.
6. Mike Hampton
Year: 2001
This bust could be filed under biggest free agent busts as well. Hampton threw batting practice during his two miserable years in Colorado. Hampton went 15-10 with a 3.14 ERA for the Mets in 2000 and was 22-4 with a 2.90 ERA for the Astros in 1999. In 2001, Hampton posted a 5.41 ERA and 1.58 WHIP.

5. Curt Schilling
Year: 2005
A consensus second-round pick in 2005, Schilling had more success in the bullpen than as a starter. Battling injury, Schilling missed time and came back to chip in as the closer picking up nine saves. However, that aside, Schilling was a huge bust that year. A year earlier, his first season in Boston, Schilling was 21-6 with a 3.26 ERA and a remarkable 203 strikeouts versus only 35 walks. He was overvalued in most drafts because like most Yankees and Red Sox players, respective fans love to draft their players too soon. Well, they were rewarded with only 93 innings and a 5.69 ERA.

4. Orel Hershiser
Year: 1990
Hershiser was entering his prime in 1990 and already had six terrific seasons under his belt. Unfortunately, Hershiser would not pitch past April in 1990. In four starts, Hershiser was 1-1 with a 4.26 ERA. A year earlier, Hershiser posted a 2.31 ERA and 178 strikeouts. And the year before that, Hershiser won 23 games and the Cy Young award with a 2.26 ERA and 1.05 WHIP. Drafting him in 1990 must have been a huge disappointment.
3. Mark Prior
Year: 2004
Quite frankly, his name could be used a couple times on this list for the amount of heartache he has caused for fantasy managers. In my four leagues that year, he was taken eighth, 10th, 12th and 13th. Prior finished 6-4 with a 4.02 ERA and 139 Ks in just 119 innings. Not a terrible season but for the spot he was taken and his performance the year before, he was as big a letdown as any. The year before, Prior went 18-6 with a 2.43 ERA and 245 strikeouts.
2. Randy Johnson
Year: 2003
The Big Unit was a “big bust” that year. Entering the 2003 season, Johnson had four straight seasons of a sub-3.00 ERA and at least 330 strikeouts. He was also a 20-game winner in 2001 and 2002. He struggled with health and consistency in 2003, finishing 6-8 with a 4.26 ERA and 125 strikeouts in 18 games.

1. Chris Carpenter
Year: 2007
How does the saying go again? You can’t win a fantasy league in the first couple rounds, but you can certainly lose one. Well, Carpenter serves as a fine example.  He was drafted seventh overall in my “public” league and kept in my keeper league, Carpenter had an ADP of 29.61 He lasted only six innings into the 2007 season. That’s how you lose a fantasy baseball league.

Dishonorable mentions:

Erik Bedard (2008), Justin Verlander (2008), Barry Zito (2007), Felix Hernandez (2006), Pedro Martinez (2006), Carl Pavano (2005), Jason Schmidt (2005), Javier Vazquez (2004), Roy Halladay (2004), Chan Ho Park (2002), Denny Neagle (1999), Hideki Irabu (1999), Juan Guzman (1994), Ron Guidry (1984)

Ron Guidry had 21(!) complete games in 1983 and followed that up with only 10 wins in 1984. Do you think the list accurately ranked the top ten pitcher busts? Who has been your biggest pitcher bust of all-time?

Paul finished the 2011-2012 Fantasy Football season as the #1 Weekly Rankings & Projections winner of the 411Fantasy Expert Challenge. He also finished 2nd in the FantasyPros.com Expert Draft Accuracy Challenge in 2011. Top 10 Finisher in the FSWA Fantasy Football Draft Projections. Paul is also apart of baseballs elite as a member of Tout Wars. You can follow me on Twitter @PaulGreco
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