Bunt Tip of the Day: Which Currently Available Pitchers Are Worth the Chase?

If you havent found out by now, Pitchers make the Bunt world go round. More in terms of gameplay than inserts, but they are the eye of the storm. If you can get your hands on a top scoring card of an elite starting pitcher, you have just found yourself a gem. Hitters will likely have their day in the new contest structure, but for now, we are still playing regular contests before getting into the more wacky games later on.  If you are going to pay the king’s ransom, which pitchers are worth the haul?

Clayton Kershaw

2014 ERA: 1.77
2014 WHIP: 0.857
2014 K: 239

There was no better pitcher in baseball last year than Kershaw, and everyone in Bunt knew it. Minuscule ERA and WHIP made him a points monster on their own, but with the 239 K to boot? Good luck finding a way to match that. This year should be another big year for him, even though his opening day start wasnt his usual performance. Dont let that scare you. He is the best there is.

Felix Hernandez

2014 ERA: 2.14
2014 WHIP: 0.915
2014 K: 248

Like Kershaw, King Felix had a banner year. He would have had an even better year had he not lost some of the juice down the stretch with a few bad starts, but I digress. The reason I am talking about him before the reigning Cy Young, has more to do with consistency over the years than anything. Felix has been one of the top if not THE top AL pitchers for years. He should have no problem replicating the success again.

Corey Kluber

2014 ERA: 2.44
2014 WHIP: 1.095
2014 K: 269

Although he doesnt have the ERA and WHIP to match the other big guns, his K numbers actually make up for it and then some. Because strikeouts have such a large point bump in Bunt, they are almost an unfair advantage to pitchers who strike out a ton of people but also give up some hits. Kluber has shown that he can run with the top guys in the league over the last two years, but he has yet to really reach Elite status like we are seeing among consistent years from guys like Kershaw.

Madison Bumgarner

2014 ERA: 2.98
2014 WHIP: 1.090
2014 K: 219

Putting up one of the best pitching performances in World Series history will get you brownie points with Bunt collectors, and his numbers show that he is capable of being a card worth having in your deck with every single start he has – regardless of team. He pitched a gem last night, but he does have his meltdowns, so watch out. I think he is in line for another great year, but the Giants having lost a few pieces may mean the numbers come up a bit. Not enough to make that much of a difference though.

Adam Wainwright

2014 ERA: 2.38
2014 WHIP: 1.031
2014 K: 179

Its worth nothing that he is the only pitcher on this list without 200 K to his name, but he is still a guy to chase because he doesnt give up many runs and his WHIP is quite close to 1.0. Those are the keys to success in Bunt, and the 170+ strikeouts still put him among the top 10% of the league. His abdominal strain didnt seem to hurt him much in his great start versus the Cubbies, but it may come back to haunt him as the season drags on.

Jordan Zimmermann

2014 ERA: 2.66
2014 WHIP: 1.072
2014 K: 182

Not only did he have a great year in 2014, but he added a no hitter and a lot of attention to his skills as well. With another year under his belt, I could see Zimmermann being an ace to watch for 2015, especially if the Nationals are as good as people think they are. Like Bumgarner, he can be prone to a meltdown, so keep an eye on his start. If he is on, he will be one of the best.

Julio Teheran

2014 ERA: 2.89
2014 WHIP: 1.081
2014 K: 186

I like Teheran to be one of the better pitchers in the NL this year, as his numbers suggest a growing maturity on the mound. More efficiency, higher Ks, and a lot more movement on his pitches show that he is someone that is getting better with every passing game. He may not be the man right now, but he will be a great anchor to pick up if you have the chance.

Let me stress that the first 2-3 starts of the year will likely not be representative of a pitcher’s true potential. With growing concerns over pitcher durability, teams have their guys on tight leashes, and dont let them loose until they know everyone is ready to go. Dont let a bad first start scare you, and I would even suggest taking advantage of people that want to dump a guy who starts the year poorly. You will see how well that can pay off.

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