Brian Duensing
Brian Duensing
35-Year-Old PitcherRP
Chicago Cubs
2018 Fantasy Outlook
The veteran reliever enjoyed his best season in several years, posting his lowest ERA (2.74) since 2010. The ERA was better than he deserved, although his strikeout and walk percentages (23.7 percent and 7 percent, respectively) were respectable and supported something in the mid-3.00s range. More than just a lefty matchup guy, Duensing allowed a very similar wOBA to both lefties (.296) and righties (.290). Duensing returns to the Cubs in 2018 and won't be close to the top of the closer depth chart, giving him little appeal in most leagues, but he could provide some value in deep leagues that use holds. Read Past Outlooks
RANKSFrom Preseason
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$Signed a two-year, $7 million contract with the Cubs in January of 2018.
Gives up three runs in return to mound
PChicago Cubs
September 4, 2018
Duensing (shoulder) allowed three earned runs on a hit and two walks across 1.1 innings in Tuesday's loss to the Brewers.
Duensing, who was activated from the disabled list Monday, was making his first appearance since Aug. 2, and the 35-year-old lefty looked rusty. Duensing now has a 7.82 ERA this season, and with left-handed options Justin Wilson, Randy Rosario and Jorge De La Rosa available out of the Cubs' bullpen, he might not find himself in many high-leverage spots the rest of the season.
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Pitching Stats
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Left/Right Pitching Splits
Since 2016
BAA Batters K BB H 2B 3B HR
Since 2016vs Left .237 205 42 14 44 10 0 6
Since 2016vs Right .272 281 52 35 66 10 1 7
2018vs Left .221 80 13 9 15 2 0 3
2018vs Right .329 94 10 19 24 6 0 2
2017vs Left .258 104 25 5 25 6 0 2
2017vs Right .237 153 36 13 33 3 1 4
2016vs Left .190 21 4 0 4 2 0 1
2016vs Right .290 34 6 3 9 1 0 1
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Home/Away Pitching Splits
Since 2016
ERA at Home
ERA on Road
ERA on Road
ERA at Home
Since 2016Home 4.25 1.28 59.1 4 0 0 7.6 3.8 0.9
Since 2016Away 4.78 1.58 52.2 1 1 1 7.5 4.1 1.2
2018Home 8.10 1.98 16.2 3 0 0 5.4 7.6 1.1
2018Away 7.32 1.73 19.2 0 0 1 5.9 6.4 1.4
2017Home 2.80 1.08 35.1 1 0 0 9.2 2.8 1.0
2017Away 2.67 1.41 27.0 0 1 0 8.3 2.3 0.7
2016Home 2.45 0.68 7.1 0 0 0 4.9 0.0 0.0
2016Away 6.00 1.83 6.0 1 0 0 9.0 4.5 3.0
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Stat Review
How does Brian Duensing compare to other relievers?
This section compares his stats with all relief pitcher seasons from the previous three seasons (minimum 30 innings). The bar represents the player's percentile rank. For example, if the bar is halfway across, then the player falls into the 50th percentile for that stat and it would be considered average.
91.1 mph
Strand %
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Past Fantasy Outlooks
Duensing had perhaps the worst season of his career in 2015 and his effectiveness as a lefty specialist is in doubt at age 33. He has been outstanding against left-handed batters in his career (.609 OPS allowed), but Duensing was worse against lefties (.776 OPS allowed) than righties. (.717 OPS allowed) last season. All of his peripheral stats were down as well with a poor 4.4 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9. His long tenure in the Minnesota bullpen will likely get him another chance to win a lefty setup role, but the risk tied to his extremely low strikeout rate makes him a tough bet for worthwhile ratios.
Duensing had another solid season of middle relief for the Twins with a 3.38 ERA, but there were some worrisome signs as the 8.3 K/9 rate he showed in 2013 looked like a fluke as his 5.5 K/9 in 2014 was close to his career average. His walks allowed have also been increasing, leading to the worst K/BB ratio of his career last season. Still, Duensing is especially tough on left-handed batters with a .587 OPS allowed to lefties last season. As long as his exposure to righties is limited (.822 OPS allowed last year) – and the Twins have long since given up on him moving to the rotation – he should be an effective lefty in the bullpen.
After four seasons of shuffling Duensing between the bullpen and rotation, the Twins finally decided to keep him in the bullpen last season. He was never able to hold a spot in the rotation due to his struggles against right-handed batters ( .821 OPS vs. righties) and he appeared better used as a lefty specialist given his dominance against left-handed batters (.600 OPS vs. lefties). However, he wasn't as successful against lefties in 2013 (.786 OPS). It may be a one-year fluke, however, as he had a 36:7 K:BB ratio against lefties and his 3.40 FIP shows he may have been a little unlucky. He'll return to a setup role again in 2014 and is a bounce-back candidate as a result, but his usage pattern limits his fantasy value since he won't get many wins or saves.
Duensing began last season in the bullpen, but he was moved back to the rotation in July when the Twins became desperate for starters. The results were predictable as Duensing has struggled as a starter in his career, but thrived as a reliever because of large platoon splits (.808 OPS allowed vs. righties compared to .678 OPS allowed to lefties last year). Duensing had a 6.92 ERA as a starter last season and a 3.47 ERA as a reliever. It is not clear if the Twins consider him a candidate for the 2013 rotation at this point, but he is much better served as a reliever who can mostly focus on left-handed hitters.
After going 12-3 with a 2.97 ERA as a starter in 2009 and 2010, Duensing finally won a spot in the starting rotation last spring, going 9-13 with a 5.24 ERA in 28 starts. However, he was exposed to too many right-handed hitters as a starter, as they had a .947 OPS against him. Meanwhile, Duensing dominated left-handed hitters by allowing just a .522 OPS. The Twins plan to move Duensing back to the bullpen in 2012 after he had a 1.80 ERA as a reliever in 2010, so he can be an impact arm against lefties in that role.
Duensing began last season in the bullpen but moved into the rotation in July and enters 2011 as Minnesota's No. 3 or No. 4 starter. Duensing lost out on a rotation job in the spring despite a strong late season performance in 2009 (5-1 with a 2.59 ERA and 31:14 K:BB ratio in 48.2 innings over eight starts). He was effective out of the bullpen with a 1.67 ERA, but moved back into a starting role in July. He repeated his 2009 success in the rotation by going 7-2 with a 3.05 ERA. However, behind those strong numbers were a weak strikeout rate (5.3 K/9IP) and a likely unsustainable .276 BABIP. Duensing does have good control and keeps the ball on the ground (52 percent of balls in play), so there are reasons to think he can sustain his recent success in the rotation. However, don't overpay for the success he's had as a starter the past two seasons.
Duensing wasn't a highly regarded prospect, but when given a chance to start last September he caught fire to help the Twins in a pennant race and made a strong case to begin 2010 in the starting rotation. Duensing moved into the rotation in late August and went 5-1 with a 2.59 ERA and 31:14 K:BB ratio in 48.2 innings over eight starts. However, there are several signs he may not be able to keep up that success since he had just 5.7 K/9IP and had mediocre strikeout rates in the minors along with just average control. Still, he came up big in several tough starts in a pennant race and is the leading candidate for the fifth starter job.
The 2005 third-round draft pick was 11-5 with a 3.24 ERA and 86:30 K:BB ratio in 116.2 innings at Triple-A Rocheter last season. He then was the starting pitcher as Team USA beat Cuba to win the IBAF Baseball World Cup last fall. He's got a fastball around 90 mph so he's not posting huge strikeout totals and his command is good enough, while not great, to keep moving up in the system. He'll likely begin the season at Triple-A, but could be a factor in the majors later in the season.
More Fantasy News
Activated from DL
PChicago Cubs
September 3, 2018
Duensing (shoulder) was activated from the disabled list Monday, Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune reports.
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To begin rehab assignment Friday
PChicago Cubs
August 23, 2018
Duensing (shoulder) will start a rehab assignment at Triple-A Iowa on Friday, Carrie Muskat of reports.
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Throwing from 105 feet
PChicago Cubs
August 14, 2018
Duensing (shoulder) is throwing from 105 feet, reports.
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Placed on DL
PChicago Cubs
August 3, 2018
Duensing was put on the 10-day disabled list Friday due to left shoulder inflammation, Sahadev Sharma of The Athletic reports.
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Returns from DL
PChicago Cubs
July 13, 2018
Duensing (shoulder) was activated from the 10-day disabled list Friday, Mark Gonzales of The Chicago Tribune reports.
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