What Should You Do with Chad Billingsley?

Eric StashinSenior Writer ISeptember 16, 2009

ST. LOUIS, MO - JULY 14:  National League All-Star Chad Billingsley of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during the 2009 MLB All-Star Game at Busch Stadium on July 14, 2009 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

It is no secret that Chad Billingsley is struggling mightily at this point.  Fantasy owners almost wish that Joe Torre had opted to pull him from the rotation, giving him a week to clear his head, instead of reaffirming his position.  It would have made things a lot easier.

Looking at his overall numbers would show a solid pitcher, one definitely worth using, though more of a mid-rotation option as opposed to a fantasy ace:

12 Wins
182.2 Innings
3.99 ERA
1.32 WHIP
165 Strikeouts (8.13 K/9)
75 Walks (3.70 BB/9)
.303 BABIP

Those are good on the surface, but if you had looked at them on July 5, when he was 9-4 with a 3.14 ERA, he would have looked a whole lot better.  Since then he’s been in a freefall, going 3-6 with a 5.39 ERA and 1.43 WHIP.  He’s striking out over a batter per nine innings less (7.06), but surprisingly has had better control (3.08 BB/9).

The big difference has been decline in luck, as his BABIP has been .329.  That, coupled with the lower strikeouts, is the recipe for disaster.

Unfortunately, what exactly are owners supposed to do?  His career ERA is at 3.53.  His WHIP the past few years has been:

  • 2007 - 1.33
  • 2008 - 1.34

His control has never been the best, with a career BB/9 of 4.02, so his improvement over the past few months in walks has likely been an anomaly.  Don’t believe it.  Don’t but into it.

The other problem is his strand rate, currently sitting at 70.5 percent for the season.  Over the past few seasons he was at 80.2 percent and 78.0 percent, above average marks.  One could easily argue that he was due for this type of a collapse.  Still, this number is below average, placing him at 65th in the league.

The luck should turn back around, it’s just a matter if he can do it before the season comes to a close.  He almost has to, as he’s proven to be too good of a pitcher over the past two years (as well as the first three months of 2009).

Unfortunately, with titles on the line, fantasy owners don’t have necessarily have the luxury of sitting around and waiting.  They need results, so I know your suspicion that you should move him to your bench.  As an owner of Billingsley, I feel the same way.

Coming off a four-inning outing, throwing just 70 pitches, you have to wonder, is there something wrong?  Is there something they aren’t letting on?

That doesn’t appear to be the case, especially with Torre confirming that he will remain in the rotation.  With that said, and the potential that he has, all you can do is continue to run him out there and hope for the best.  For the bad that you’ve suffered the last few weeks, do you really want to miss out on his potential bounce back outing?

We all know he could step on the mound and toss eight shutout innings, striking out 9, on any given night.  So, all you really can do is sit, wait and hope.

What do you think?  Should Billingsley still be in your active roster?  What is wrong with him?



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