Closing the book on my Stock Up/Down article series, we look at pitchers who have burned fantasy managers this year! This is always tricky, even the best players hit a landmine from time to time, just the nature of our great game! I generally tried to avoid injuries so guys like Stephen Strasburg or Carlos Carrasco weren’t mentioned but given the fact these guys are pitchers, they didn’t all have a perfectly clean bill of health… Let’s dive in!

Kenta Maeda – Coming off a truly elite 2020 year, Maeda finished 2nd in the AL Cy Young race, tossing up video game numbers to the tune of a 2.70 ERA and a ridiculous .75 WHIP over 66.2 innings pitched. Fast forward a year and we are looking at a hellish year for Maeda, who’s dealt with injury and performance issues. Maeda is much more hittable considering his contact rates have risen and worse yet his home run rate has skyrocketed. The biggest concern I had for Maeda in the pre-season was the fact that his highest innings pitched year was back in 2016 when he threw 175.2 innings for the LA Dodgers. LA did shift him into the bullpen occasionally mid-year during his run with LA, but he hadn’t proven that workload, thus making him a scary choice as a SP1 or even SP2 for me in drafts. He should be a bit better in 2022, but the question is how willing will people be to write off a truly poor 2021 season?

Dylan Bundy – After escaping the hellfires of Baltimore, Bundy had a great run in 2020, but things have come crashing down in 2021. An elevated home run (1.90 HR/9) rate that is much closer in line with his Baltimore days has attributed to his fall in 2021. Additionally, Bundy is giving up twice as many barrels in 2021 as he was in 2020. On top of that his contact rate has skyrocketed, both inside the zone and out of the zone as well. Bundy has realistically only had one good year under his belt, and that was only 65.2 innings last year. I wasn’t entirely out on Bundy in 2021, based on the fact his 2020 was backed up with good indicators and skills, but it was only 65.2 innings so it’s possible he was just running hot. Either way, his stock is significantly down and I won’t be interested in him next year unless he’s a deep, deep reserve pick for Draft Champions leagues.

Patrick Corbin – Following an uncharacteristically bad year in 2020, Corbin was popular as a bounce-back pitcher given his solid track record and bountiful K’s he usually provides. Corbin has slipped back in even further in 2021, as he is getting even fewer K’s and is more hittable with a .275 BAA and a career-low K rate of 17.9% when his career K rate is 23%, a massive drop. He is yielding a lot more contact, both in and out of the zone. Corbin has also lost nearly 5 points in the SwStr category, as he’s usually a 15% SwStr guy but is now at just 10.6% SwStr and is getting hammered regularly having coughed up 4 earned runs in 12 of his 22 starts. There is little hope for a bounceback in 2022 and I will not be touching Corbin in 2022 drafts.

Blake Snell – It’s been a very tough year for the former AL Cy Young Award winner, Blake Snell, as he has really come down in a hurry after being known as one of the better pitchers in the AL. Snell is really struggling this year, as he is getting fewer swings and misses, giving up far more zone contact, and issuing a career-high in walks, something that has long been an issue for Snell. Snell is also getting hammered for an 11% barrel rate, much higher than his tiny 5% barrel rate during his incredible 2018 season. Snell has had a myriad of injury concerns but now his performance and skills have slipped a ton as well. It will be very interesting to see how far he falls in 2022 drafts given his abysmal 2021 campaign and his erosion of skills. 

Zac Gallen – An injury-marred season has ruined Gallen’s chances at providing his fantasy owners any value, as Gallen has been dealing with a hamstring strain, a forearm fracture, as well as an elbow strain. Petrifying stuff, but he has survived all that and managed to provide innings for his D’Back club, granted they have been sub-par innings relative to his normal self. Gallen has suffered from giving up a handful more homers than normal (1.30 HR/9), something that should come back to his normal rate (career 1.09 HR/9). Gallen is a very talented pitcher who doesn’t rely on wicked velocity to enjoy his success (31% CWS rate in 2019/2020, just a 27% CWS rate in 2021), and I believe he should bounce back next year. At the end of the day, I will chalk up this poor season to an injury-riddled nightmare, and if Gallen pitches through the rest of the year without any more injury hiccups (a big if), he will still firmly be on my board if he is available past pick 125 overall in 2022 drafts. 

Sonny Gray – Not as egregiously poor as other pitchers on this list, Gray has been a frustrating player to roster this year despite not being atrocious, as he just isn’t providing fantasy managers what they want, sitting on August 9th with a 4.44 ERA and a 1.40 WHIP with a 29% K rate. He’s gotten absolutely blitzed over his last 4 starts, giving up 18 earned runs in just 19 innings pitched. Taking a deeper look, his SIERA, FIP, xFIP are all cleanly in the mid 3’s and Gray is posting a 29% K rate, so he’s still looking OK under the hood. Homers have plagued Gray (1.69 HR/9 @ home, .55 HR/9 on-road ), something that could be expected playing half his games in Great America Ballpark. I’ll be all over Gray in 2022 as he provides loads of K’s and shouldn’t be overly expensive, should come at a decent discount as the ERA will still look suspect to drafters.