Aces are supposed to deliver a lot of wins and strong profits for their backers at the same time. This year guys like Stephen Strasburg, Clayton Kershaw, Johnny Cueto, Chris Sale, Jake Arrieta and Madison Bumgarner are doing exactly what is expected - they are winning lots of games, and all are among the Top 11 in moneyline profits in the league so far.
Those guys have been great bets, but aces and big-name pitchers can be extremely dangerous for casual baseball bettors. It's easy to attach expectations to a player based on their name, their reputation, and how we have fared betting on them in the past. Because of their public appeal, these players can face lower-than-ideal odds. That means that losses can be costly, and bettors can quickly lose a lot of money.
Here are five big-name pitchers who aren't living up to their reputations so far this season:
Dallas Keuchel, Houston Astros: It seemed tough to believe that Keuchel was able to win the Cy Young and lead the league in wins last year. He's not doing much of a job of proving it wasn't a fluke. In fact, there is no pitcher in all of baseball who has lost more money than Keuchel has this year. The team is 5-10 when he has pitched, and bets on the moneyline when he has started have cost more than $950 in losses on a $100/unit. Ouch. The blame isn't entirely his - the team around him has been horrible, too. His ERA is more than twice what it was last year, though, and he has given up nearly as many earned runs this year as he did last season in 18 more starts. He has been an unqualified betting disaster.
Matt Harvey, New York Mets: The story coming into the season was that the Mets were heading back to the World Series because they had a whole rotation full of aces. The season isn't going quite as hoped, though it's not too bleak just yet. Harvey, though, has been a total mess. He's just 4-9 with an ERA two full points higher than last season. He's burning money in bulk right now. It's hard to argue that Harvey is a true ace these days or that he has ever been. He's been on an upward trajectory since starting his career, though, and seemed to have what it takes - at least until now. He's not alone on his team, either - Jacob DeGrom has also been a betting nightmare.
Clay Buchholz, Boston Red Sox: Again, Buchholz is not an ace - especially not with David Price in town. He's one of those guys with a reputation that exceeds his production, though, and that is certainly the case this year. He's just 3-7 in 11 starts this year, and he returned to the rotation last time out - also a loss - after five appearances out of the bullpen. His ugly 5.83 ERA this year is nearly four times what it was in 2013 when he had a brilliant 12-1 record that inflated his reputation and has cost bettors money in the years since.
Chris Archer, Tampa Bay Rays: Despite not yet posting stellar stats in his career, Archer has long had the look of a guy who was poised to break out and become a true ace. I really thought this would be the year. Instead, he is having by far the worst season of his four as a full-time starter. He has a 4-9 record in his 15 starts, and the team is 5-10 when he takes the mound. He has already given up the second-most home runs of his career, his ERA is the highest it has ever been, and he has just one win in his last six outings. His team isn't great around him, but the truth is that we have to quit viewing Archer as anything more than a journeyman innings eater until he proves he deserves more than that.
Gio Gonzalez, Washington Nationals: Lost in the success of the Nationals this year is the fact that Gonzalez has been lousy. He had that brilliant 21-8 season in 2012 in his first year in Washington, and though he hasn't been that good since he has consistently been a handy and trustworthy starter. This year, though, he has just a 3-6 record in 14 starts, and the team is 5-9 in those games. That's a lousy record no matter what, but especially so when you consider it comes while playing for a team that has a four-game lead in their division and is decent at scoring runs.
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