Why You Should Avoid Bronson Arroyo In 2010

If you’ve been reading the site the past two plus years, you already know that I’ve never been the biggest supporter of Bronson Arroyo.  Yes, he always wins games, but he almost always posts ERAs above 4.00 and WHIPs above 1.40.  Last season, however, was a very big exception:

15 Wins
220.1 Innings
3.84 ERA
1.27 WHIP
127 Strikeouts (5.19 K/9)
65 Walks (2.66 BB/9)
.270 BABIP

Before you get overly excited and mark him as a pitcher that you now must own in 2010, there are a few things that need to be noted.  First is his ERA.  Just look at his marks the previous five seasons:

  • 2004 – 4.03
  • 2005 – 4.51
  • 2006 – 3.29
  • 2007 – 4.23
  • 2008 – 4.77

In 2006, the one spectacular year during that span, he was enjoying his first season with the Reds, jumping from the Red Sox.  The move from the AL to NL clearly paid dividends, but his success was short lived.

Track record not enough?  Just look at his 4.78 FIP to show that a lot of his success last season came from big-time luck.  The BABIP was extremely lucky (he’s at .297 for his career).  He had an above average strand rate (76.5%).  It’s just not likely to continue.

The BABIP played a factor in his sparkling WHIP, especially considering his strikeouts were the worst they had been since moving to the NL.  He doesn’t have an overpowering fastball (averaged 88.5 mph in ’09), so he’s never going to be a great strikeout option, but just over five is flat out bad.  While he’s likely to rebound there, don’t look for him to return to the land of over seven strikeouts and above.  I find his ’07 mark (6.66) is far more realistic.

His control is impeccable (career BB/9 of 2.77), but he’s just always proven to be hittable (career batting average against of .267).  In 2007 & 2008 he posted marks of .281 and .280, respectively, so his .256 last season sticks out like a sore thumb.  Even with his control, he’s not likely to post an impressive WHIP.

It all adds up to the following line:

210.0 IP, 14 W, 4.20 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 150 K (6.43 K/9), 64 BB (2.74 BB/9)

That’s a fine line for a depth option, but is there really any upside?  His 2009 campaign seems to be the best he possibly could produce and that was mostly luck related.  When you’re drafting a pitcher in the late rounds of the draft, you want someone who has the potential to outperform expectations and really produce some big numbers.  That isn’t Bronson Arroyo.

Do not waste a late round pick on a pitcher like this, who you can find a comparable replacement for on the waiver wire.  You are much better off taking a youngster with the potential to be a mid-rotation steal.

What about you?  Would you even consider taking Arroyo?  If so, why?

If you would like to see a free preview of the Rotoprofessor 2010 Fantasy Baseball Draft Guide (available for just $5), click here.

Make sure to check out some of our 2010 projections, including:


  1. Guancous says:

    You don’t draft Branson Arroyo. You snag him off the waiver wire at the All-Star Break after his original owner gets tired of him.

  2. Morat says:

    What about his end of year marked improvement?

    He had an ERA over FIVE on August 2. I picked him up mid-month because of matchups (SF, WSH) and was pleasantly surprised. He kicked ass down the stretch with like a dozen great starts.

    Why was he so good Aug & Sept? Did he re-adjust something in his delivery or arsenal to make us think the improvement could carry into this year? I don’t remember reading anything mentioning this.

  3. Rotoprofessor says:

    Moorat, I also didn’t hear anything about him making some kind of adjustment.

    He got hot, but that doesn’t mean that you should buy into him. His track record speaks for itself and he has a habit of mixing in some bad starts in between hot stretches.

  4. Eddy says:

    I agree that he isn’t worth a draft pick, but trading for him after the break wouldn’t be a bad idea considering his splits are actually good.

    In his career before the break he has a 4.81 ERA vs 3.66 After

    WHIP 1.42 vs 1.24.

    If you’re in a race and need someone reliable, he’s worth the pick up after the break.

    September and October are his best months where he’s 21-9 lifetime with a 3.22 ERA.

  5. Jack says:

    I took Arroyo as my last pick in a 16-team mixed league draft. If he posts the line you suggest, he will do just fine. He is my 6th starter, and I will pick where I play him (historically better matchups). He becomes relevant in deeper leagues, especially in NL only leagues. You cannot find 150Ks just laying on the street and youngsters with upside don’t get enough innings to get you 150 k’s. Jack

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