Kansas City Royals starter Jordan Lyles has been historically bad. So bad, in fact, that the Royals haven't won in any of his first 15 starts this year. Zero wins, 15 losses.
Why The Royals Can't Win With Lyles
The biggest reason for the losing streak is pretty simple: Lyles has been one of MLB's worst pitchers this season. He owns an atrocious 6.72 ERA and a 5.61 FIP indicates it's not all bad luck, either. The 32-year-old has allowed more earned runs than any other pitcher in baseball this year, certainly not what KC hoped when they inked him to a two-year, $17 million contract this winter.
Per Baseball Savant, Lyles ranks within the bottom 20th percentile in strikeout rate, fastball velocity, barrel rate, whiff rate, and expected slugging percentage. In summary: he doesn't throw hard, he doesn't miss bats, and he doesn't suppress hard contact — a pretty clear recipe for failure.
Even with all that awful, you need a little misfortune to go 0-15, too. Lyles is on the hook for 11 losses this year. But even in his four no decisions the Royals have found a way to lose, too. Just look at his most recent start against the Tigers: 6.0 IP, 3ER, 3K, 1BB. By all indications, a quality start. When Lyles left the game in the seventh, the Royals were winning 4-1. Then, reliever Taylor Clarke came in and allowed a five-run seventh frame to lose it.
Lyles has allowed five earned runs seven times this year, so those losses fall almost squarely on his shoulders. But, he's also allowed one ER twice this season too, and the Royals have managed to choke away those potential wins.
When bad pitching meets bad luck, you get 0-15.
The Least Profitable MLB Starters Since 2021
We've established that Jordan Lyles can't win baseball games. But, you're probably not a long-suffering Kansas City Royals fan, so, why should you care?
From a betting perspective, Lyles is on pace to be one of the least profitable starting pitchers in recent baseball history. Since we started tracking MLB pitcher profits in 2021, Lyles is already the second-worst SP in a single season, and he's only halfway through a full season of starts. If this historically bad pace somehow continues, Lyles could post a -30 unit season.
The Best SP Fades Of 2023
But, the real place for profits is the FADE. Just like Patrick Corbin day last year, betting against the Royals with Lyles on the mound has become an ATM machine printing money this season.
If you bet against Lyles for each of his starts this year, you'd be up over nine units. However, he hasn't even been the best SP fade in baseball so far:
Will Lyles Continue To Lose?
Look, the Royals probably aren't going to go 0-30 in Lyles' starts this year. But, he may get close.
Most metrics indicate Lyles is going to be just as bad, individually, for the rest of the season. Lyles' 5.61 FIP compared to a 7.25 ERA shows there could be some positive regression coming (from extremely bad to really bad). But, the righty's .246 babip and .344 xwOBA (higher than his actual wOBA) indicate things could actually get even WORSE.
It's not like he's been matching up against juggernaut opponents so far this season, either. The Royals have played the 14th-toughest schedule in baseball so far this season and they have the 16th-toughest remaining.