Fantasy Baseball 2017: Do Playoff Games Hurt Pitchers’ Performances?

With the playoffs underway, pitchers will put extra stress on their arms. Do those extra games affect performances for next fantasy baseball season?

The 2016 fantasy baseball season ended and the real baseball playoffs began. There have been some exciting moments already. Only two teams can make the playoffs, but there will be a lot of games played along the way. With those games come extra wear and tear on the pitchers’ arms. Do those extra games affect performances next season?

The main player everyone will be talking about is Madison Bumgarner. He just pitched a complete game shutout against the New York Mets in the Wild Card game on Wednesday. His opponent, Noah Syndergaard, pitched just as well, but didn’t go nine innings.

In his career, Bumgarner has pitched 97.1 extra innings in his postseason career. That’s almost another half-season worth of innings. He pitched 15.2 innings in the 2014 NLCS and 21 innings in the World Series, 36.2 innings in a 18 days’ span.

Luckily, he hasn’t suffered any major injuries and has made at least 31 starts every year since 2011. He is only 27 years old, and with the Giants in a five-game series, the effects could come sooner rather than later.

Not to pick on them, but look at the Mets’ rotation last season. Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom, Syndergaard and Steven Matz were the four starters in the World Series.

Three of the four suffered season-shortening injuries this season. Harvey made 17 starts, Matz 22 and deGrom 24. 43-year-old Bartolo Colon lead the team in starts with 33. Obviously, I can’t say that the extra playoff innings caused the injuries, but they definitely didn’t help.

On a small-scale, David Price has been a victim of playoff fatigue. He made at least one extra start in the last four postseasons. He pitched in 10 innings in the 2015 ALCS and 13.1 innings in the World Series. In those appearances, he had a 6.17 ERA and 1.07 WHIP.

Things did not go well for him this season. While he made a career-high 35 starts, his 3.99 ERA and 1.20 WHIP were the highest since his 2009 rookie season.

When you enter drafts, you have no idea who is going to perform well or not. There are those that can pitch like Bumgarner and then there are those that may fall apart like the Mets rotation. Fantasy baseball is a game of skill and luck. Research is important, but there are some things that are out of your control. In the end, it’s important to do your research and keep tabs on those playoff pitchers because they can hurt the following season.