With July in the books, it's time for the monthly Doc's Sports pitchers report identifying the hurlers that have turned the biggest profits and suffered the biggest losses. Both lists have a decided American League flavor, as Chris Tillman of the Orioles has been the best bet in baseball, with Chris Archer of the Rays being the worst.
Most Money Won
Chris Tillman, Orioles
23 starts (19-4), 3.46 ERA, +1426
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The vastly-improved Tillman has cut a run-and-a-half off his ERA from a year ago to lead an Orioles pitching staff that's far exceeded expectations. It's noteworthy to see that Tillman (14-3) continues to cash as an underdog despite all the success. In fact, his last two wins were at Toronto +161 on Sunday and at the Yankees +109 on July 21. That's the stuff that makes you the best bet in baseball through the first four months.
Michael Fulmer, Tigers
16 starts (14-2), 2.50 ERA, +1268
The Tigers acquired the former first-round pick from the Mets last year in the deal for Yoenis Cespedes. Fulmer has been a smashing success his first season in the bigs. Since entering the Tigers rotation in late April, the 23-year-old right hander has gone 9-2 while averaging just over six innings per start.
Fulmer has no doubt pitched like an ace this season. But, will the youngster keep that form as the pressure of a pennant race ratchets up in Detroit? That remains a gamble.
Josh Tomlin, Indians
19 starts (15-4), 3.43 ERA, +1050
Tomlin is posting his best season ever for the first-place Indians. The veteran right-hander has gone 11-3 with an ERA that's more than a full run below his career average (4.41).
Tomlin has been touched up a bit of late, leading the Indians to just a 2-2 mark in his last four starts. While not particularly reliable against high-powered lineups, Tomlin is a solid option against lesser teams.
Other high-profit pitchers: Hector Santiago (Min) 22 starts (16-6), 4.25 ERA, +967; Cole Hamels (Tex) 21 starts (16-5), 2.83 ERA, +938; Stephen Strasburg (Wash) 19 starts (17-2), 2.68 ERA, +850)
Most Money Lost
Chris Archer, Rays
22 starts (6-16), 4.42 ERA, -1038
Archer's name was prominent in the trade deadline rumor mill, but alas he remained a Ray when Monday's 4 p.m. eastern deadline passed. The 27-year-old right hander has front-line stuff, but he has largely been a disappointment in five seasons in Tampa. A fresh start may have been good.
The Rays did get a rare win with Archer on the bump two starts back, and last Tuesday he went seven innings and gave up just one earned run against the Dodgers (Rays still lost). Tampa has been playing better of late, and those last two starts were encouraging. Archer would seem to be too talented to stay atop this list.
Anibal Sanchez, Tigers
16 starts (3-13), 6.56 ERA, -981
The 32-year-old Sanchez (5-11) has long been the picture of mediocrity, so it's no surprise to see him this high on the list. The Tigers have lost the last four starts by Sanchez, with his ERA rising more than a half-run during that span to 6.56.
Sanchez has slid back into the rotation after previously being demoted to the bullpen in early June. There must be slim pickings in Detroit if manager Brad Ausmus has no other options than Sanchez.
Robbie Ray, Diamondbacks
21 starts (5-16), 4.62 ERA, -884
The 24-year-old left hander has yet to show much improvement in his sophomore season. He has given up at least three runs in six of his last seven starts, and the Rays are 1-6 in that span. One sliver of hope for the youngster is he registered at least 10 strikeouts in each of his previous two starts. He had failed to do that even once through his first 48 big-league starts. Still, the Diamondbacks as a whole are a dumpster fire, so it's hard to foresee things getting much better for the young Ray.
Other money-losing pitchers: Ervin Santana (Min) 20 starts (5-15), 3.67 ERA, -850; Julio Teheran 21 starts (5-16), 2.81 ERA , -843; R.A. Dickey (Tor) 22 starts (7-15), 4.52 ERA, -808; James Shields (CHW) 21 starts (5-16), 4.68 ERA, -800;
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