Think of these as the anti-Cy Young pitchers. Yesterday we featured the worst ten hitters in the majors based on Fangraphs and baseball-reference.com valuations. It was our anti-MVP awards or LVP if you will. Today you will see the ten worst starters in the majors in 2010. To qualify for this special honor, the pitcher will need to have pitched 100 innings. That is unfortunate, because the least valuable pitcher in the majors this season has 98.1 innings pitched.This poor guy is dead last in the majors in valuation with a -3.4 WAR (wins above replacement). Since each "Win" is worth around $4 million, then this pitcher (who pitches for the Mariners by the way) would be worth $-13.2 million. Man, that's harsh. But the young man is disqualified because he is an inning and a third short of our artificial limit. The innings limit also leaves out four of the highest paid pitchers in the bottom 15 in value in the majors: Marquis, Beckett, Oliver Perez and Kyle Lohse.
The top ten (or bottom ten) worst starters in baseball this year are:
1. Nick Blackburn - Minnesota Twins. Blackburn was actually rated in ERA+ above league average last year and the year before. But that was a bit of a mirage. He gave up 240 hits in 205+ innings last year. His 240 hits (basically, he pitched to Ichiro all season) were the highest in the league. That trend continued this year except he wasn't as lucky in those hits turning into runs. He ended up (The Twins pulled the plug on him) with the scary ERA of 6.66. He hada WHIP of close to 1.7. Blackburn is a pitcher whose H/9, BB/9, HRs/9 all went up in each of the last three years while his strikeouts per nine went down each year for the last three. His ERA+ this year is 64 and his valuation is -1.4 in WAR.
2. Justin Masterson - Cleveland Indians. Masterson's valuation is -1.4, so he actually ties Blackburn in that category and he has thrown more innings. This kid is really a puzzle. He has the stuff. He just can't get it to translate into big league performance. His WHIP is 1.63 which is really high. He's walked 4.1 batters per nine while giving up 10.5 hits per nine. Not a good combination.
3. Scott Feldman - Texas Rangers. This one really hurts because the Fan really likes Feldman. But he's had an awful season and his valuation sits at -1.1. His WHIP is 1.589. He's given up 11.5 hits per nine innings. He simply could not replicate his season of a year ago and the Rangers finally pulled him from the rotation.
4. Joe Blanton - Philadelphia Phillies. Blanton has had two decent starts in August but even in those decent starts, his hits per nine innings mirror what he's done all season. Blanton has given up 11 hits per nine innings this season combined with a hefty 1.4 homers per nine. Blanton's walk rate is excellent but if the batter gets the bat on the ball, they fall in safely...a lot. His valuation? -1.1
5. Manny Parra - Milwaukee Brewers. Parra's WHIP of 1.681 as high as it is, is an improvement over last year's horrendous 1.829. Parra gives up too many walks at nearly five per nine innings AND he gives up a lot of hits (10.6 per nine). His 1.4 homers per nine innings don't help any either. His ERA+ the last two seasons have been 63 and 73. Unfortunately, Parra is the poster boy of why the Brewers need starting pitching. Valuation: -1.0
6. Nate Robertson - Florida Marlins (released) Nate Roberston is probably the most expensive guy on this list at $10 million in salary this year. And he got his 100 innings in there before the Marlins had seen enough and designated him. His stats are actually hidden a bit by an effective May. But in his eight last starts in June and July, he gave up nearly 7.5 runs per game. He just couldn't get anyone out during those eight starts and in July when the Marlins had seen enough, opponents had an .889 OPS against him. Valuation: -0.9.
7. Brian Bannister - Kansas City Royals. Bannister is a very popular player. He talks to fans and reporters. He writes well. He's very smart. he just doesn't get good results when he pitches. His ERA is close to 6. His WHIP is close to 1.6. His HRs/9 is 1.7. All numbers that would safely entrench him on this list no matter how smart and popular he is. Valuation: -0.8
8. Kevin Correia - San Diego Padres. Correia will tease you with a good start now and then, but over all, he's been terrible. He had another bad outing against the Brewers on Saturday night lasting only 4.1 innings. That's the trouble with Correia. He throws just enough good games to make you think he should keep getting the ball, but he shouldn't. His valuation is -0.8. His walks are up thise year as is his homer rate per nie.
9. Brad Bergesen - Baltimore Orioles. Bergesen has actually pitched well of late since Buck Showalter took over. He showed great promise last year. But this year has been a real mess. His ERA is close to 6. His WHIP is close to 1.6. His HR/9 rate is 1.5. Bergesen doesn't strike enough guys out to help himself. Perhaps he's turned a corner now. Valuation: -0.7
10. David Bush - Milwaukee Brewers. Bush had a good June and if it wasn't for that, his numbers would be really bad. They are bad enough with a WHIP over 1.5. He is walking more batters per nine this year than in previous years while striking out less. Not a good combination. His ERA at 4.63 is much better than it should be. He is pitching much the same as last year when he had an ERA+ of only 63 but he seems to be much luckier this year. Still, his valuation by B-R is -0.7.
There you have it. The worst starting pitchers in the majors this season (so far).