Fantasy pitching roundtable: The Jake Arrieta problem

The Cubs and thousands of fantasy owners have a Jake Arrieta issue that needs to be resolved. (Getty Images)

Pitchers are the worst. Just the worst. Let’s try to help the people who invested a third or fourth-round pick in this scattershot former ace…

[Fantasy Football is open! Sign up now]

Q. Jake Arrieta, to this point, has been a plague. (OK, maybe that’s a bit strong. But he’s not helping.) The Ks have been there, but his carrying a 1.37 WHIP and he leads the league in wild pitches. With his current ratios, he’s barely a top-300 player. Please project his rest-of-season ERA and WHIP. 

Dalton Del Don: ZiPS projects a 3.28 ERA from here on out, which seems about right. The Cubs’ defense isn’t going to help him as much as it did last season, but this is still a good pitcher whose 16.1 K-BB% is actually better than last year’s (14.3). Buy low. 

Andy Behrens: I’ll say he delivers no better than a 4.05 ERA from this point forward, with a 1.29 WHIP. That ERA is roughly in line with his current FIP (4.17). If it weren’t for all the strikeouts, his season to date would be worthless. His velocity is down a tick, his hard-rate rate is way up (to 31.0 from 25.2), and too often he loses the zone. Occasionally, he loses the greater neighborhood of the zone. There’s nothing too fluky about his rough start. Sometimes bad isn’t unlucky, it’s just bad.

Scott Pianowski: Interesting to see Dalton and Andy split on this one. I’m going to side with Behrens. I don’t see Arrieta’s homer problem drying up, he has his worst swinging-strike rate in four years, and the Cubs don’t have the same angelic defense that they enjoyed last year.  Call it an ERA at 4, with a WHIP around 1.30. Of course these are still playable in the context of 2017, but it’s certainly not what you paid for. If you want to see how I view Arrieta versus the rest of the pitcher board, jump over here

Q. Which starter, available in deep pools (14-plus teams), are you most interested in adding?

Andy: MIKE CLEVINGER is only 12 percent owned and coming off a 9-K game. His WHIP is 1.19 over 48.0 innings for Cleveland so far, and he’s striking out better than a batter per inning. Let’s bump that ownership percentage way up, friends. 

Dalton: TREVOR CAHILL should be owned if you have an open DL spot. He clearly became a different pitcher recording 51 strikeouts over 41.1 innings before going down, sporting a 2.99 FIP with a 13.7 SwStr% that would’ve ranked No. 6  among all starters in baseball if he qualified. 

Scott: It’s been a while since someone expected much of SCOTT FELDMAN — I remember Joe Sheehan calling him “Fademan” back in the day — but Feldman’s ERA is down to 3.78 after Friday’s stroll through the Cubs lineup. That’s playable in today’s game, kids. He’s pushed his strikeout rate forward, and you know he’s not going to walk many. 

Q: Please name the closing situation you expect to flip next…

Dalton: The closing situations in general have been extra volatile this season, but I’ll say ARODYS VIZCAINO. Jim Johnson actually hasn’t been that bad, but he’s a trade candidate, and Vizcaino has been dominant and is available in more than 80 percent of leagues. 

Scott: I don’t trust MATT BUSH, even with a modest improvement of late, and see KEONE KELA being worth rostering no matter what role the Rangers use him in. Kela’s strikeout rate moves the needle, his WHIP is under 1, and Texas has a history of making quick adjustments when things get fuzzy in the ninth inning. I also like Dalton’s call to monitor the Atlanta situation. (Bush kindly played along by blowing a save Friday night. His ERA jumped over 4, his WHIP up to 1.55. Mercy.)