Sometimes a diamond in the rough is nothing more than a mirage. Sometimes that mirage of a diamond is a relief pitcher giving Chicago Cubs fans false hope.
Position: Relief Pitcher
2018 Stats: ERA of 7.65, with a WHIP of 1.88, a FIP of 6.30, a DRA of 7.34, a DRA- of 163.9, and a WARP of -1.0.
Year in Review: To put it simply, Brian Duensing was a trainwreck for the 2018 Cubs. He followed a career-best year in 2017 with a career-worst year in 2018. If something could go wrong for the beleaguered southpaw in 2018, it did. He couldn’t throw strikes, and when he did he couldn’t keep the ball out of the air and in the park. He ended up on the disabled list multiple times as the Cubs searched for a solution to his woes. No such solution ever appeared, and the longer the year went the more Duensing struggled.
There’s not a whole lot to dig into when it comes to Duensing’s bad 2018. He was bad, super duper bad, all the numbers were bad, his 2018 was flat out bad. I don’t want to be that guy, but digging into Duensing’s numbers don’t reveal more than what is on the surface. There’s no hidden secret as to why he was bad. No sudden change in his delivery, where he stood on the rubber, or some new grip he was trying. Injuries also fail to reveal any special factor in his 2018 downfall. Duensing was bad, that’s all there was to his 2018.
Looking Ahead: He most likely won’t repeat how bad he was in 2018, but it’s unlikely he gets back to who he was in 2017. That year appears to have been an anomaly for Duensing, and who he was in 2018 is the pitcher he will be in 2019. He’s going to be a 36-year-old relief pitcher struggling to stay in the bullpen, with the franchise, and in the league. The truth of the matter is that the Cubs should designate Duensing for assignment and move on. Will they? Who knows with the way the front office is currently operating. Whatever the decision is when it comes to Duensing, I don’t expect him to be of much value to any club in 2019, and neither should you.
Lead photo courtesy Dennis Wierzbicki—USA Today Sports