Watch Your Wallet Around These Guys: The Five Worst Pitchers to Bet on in 2012

Last week we discussed the best pitchers to bet on this season and the response was overwhelmingly positive, but one question was continually raised: If those are the best pitchers to bet on, who are the worst? Which hurlers should I stay away from?

This season the answer is the Cubs’ Chris Volstad. The 6’8″ right-hander, who was acquired over the off-season in exchange for Carlos Zambrano, has gone 0-6 this season with a 7.46 ERA in seven starts – costing Volstad his spot in the rotation.

But the biggest surprise on the list? That has to be the man commonly known as “The Freak.”  A four-time All-Star and two-time Cy Young Winner, Tim Lincecum has been excruciating for bettors to watch this season. Lincecum has more than doubled his career ERA this season which currently stands at 6.41. The undersized fireballer is still striking out more than a batter per inning, but his team has emerged victorious in just two of his ten starts.

Even so, the public remains unfazed as the Giants are currently receiving 72% of moneyline wagers as -120 favorites against the Arizona Diamondbacks. What makes that even more fascinating is that today’s starter for the D-Backs, Ian Kennedy, has actually been the best pitcher to bet on since the start of the 2011 season with a 28-15 team record; good for +11.4 units earned.

So who are the other least profitable pitchers to bet on during the 2012 season? The table below — with line data used from Pinnacle – shows the five worst hurlers to bet on this season.

 

Pitcher ERA Team Record Units
Lost
Next Game
Chris Volstad (CHC) 7.46 0-7 7.0 TBD
Tim Lincecum (SF) 6.41 2-8 6.7 5/30 vs. Arizona
Jamie Moyer (COL) 5.70 2-8 6.2 6/1 vs.
LA Dodgers
Edwin Jackson (WAS) 3.17 2-8 6.2 6/5 vs. NY Mets
Clayton Richard (SD) 4.76 2-8 6.1 6/1 vs. Arizona

Outside Lincecum, Edwin Jackson’s appearance on this list was the most jarring. The 28-year old boasts a career low 3.17 ERA, but his low run support (3.99 per game, which is good for ninth worst in baseball) has led to just two victories on the season.

For Grampa Moyer, this year’s poor performance is hardly an anomoly. If you had bet on each of Moyer’s starts since the beginning of the 2009 season, you would have gone 22-31 for -9.11 units.

Oddsmakers will begin to adjust for these struggling pitchers, but it’s worth repeating: past performance does not always guarantee future results. It would be short-sighted to believe the Nationals will continue to lose 80% of Edwin Jackson’s starts if his ERA remains close to 3 and it would be downright foolish to assume Lincecum will remain one of the worst pitchers in baseball – even if he’s not always a good bet.

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