No luck for Nola – October 3, 2021
With the end of the 2021 season, let’s look at some of the throwers that could be a value in 2022 concepts:
Aaron Nola, SP, PHI
Nola ends the season with a disappointing 4.63 ERA, but all indications are that number is a deviation. He entered the season with a career-high 3.47 ERA and his advanced stats suggest he was actually just as good, if not better, this season than he was in the past. He will end 2021 with a 3.41 xERA, 3.37 xFIP, 1.13 WHIP and 223: 39 K: BB over 180.2 IP. His 1.94 BB / 9 was the best point of his career and among the lowest in baseball. Part of Nola’s bad luck this year was that he allowed a .903 OPS with runners in points position, compared to a .626 OPS without men on base, a contradiction that should correct itself. Nola should still be considered a top-of-the-rotation pitcher, and may be cheaper than other aces in next year’s drafts.
Luis Castillo, SP, CIN
After an icy start to the season, Castillo was able to lower its season ERA to 3.98, which is still worse than its pre-season expectations. But his 3.62 xFIP looks a little nicer, and he was much better after a terrible first two months. Starting in June, he started recording a 2.73 ERA, 3.35 xFIP and 9.58 K / 9 over 22. He still finished with an undersized 3.60 BB / 9, but his solid shootout rate and elite GB% (56.6%) should be enough to make him a strong bounce candidate in 2022.
Chris Paddack, SP, SD
Paddack was one of several throwers who underperformed for the Padres this season as he finishes 2021 with a 5.07 ERA, and is limited to 108.1 IP due to injuries. There was some mishap involved in his poor performance as his xFIP was a very honorable 3.86 and he continued to do an excellent job limiting step (1.83 BB / 9). His knockout rate has dropped for the second year in a row, and the concern about injuries is real, so his stock is definitely lower than it was after his strong rookie season in 2019, but when he is healthy, he should be much better than in which he was. 2021
Blake Snell, SP, SD
Snell achieved a relatively disappointing 4.20 ERA and 1.32 WHIP this season, and his 4.83 BB / 9 was particularly ugly. But there are reasons to believe that Snell could still be a champion in the years to come. He ends the season with a strong 11.89 K / 9 and honorable 3.74 xFIP, but it really looked like he was going to make a turn in early August. Over the last two months of the season, he posted a 1.83 ERA, 2.93 xFIP and 65:14 K: BB over 44.1 IP. His 2.84 BB / 9 during that piece was especially encouraging. The control battle that Snell had earlier in the year was very real and may re-emerge in the future, but there is a strong potential for Snell to return to top form in 2022.
Huascar Ynoa, SP, ATL
Ynoa’s 4.05 ERA does not stand out, but he ends the 2021 season with an excellent 3.39 xFIP, 1.11 WHIP and 100: 25 K: BB over 91.0 IP. His 47.3% GB% is also pretty solid, and he may have gotten a little unhappy with an 18.4% HR / FB%. Ynoa did miss 3 months with a broken hand, but that was the type of injury you hope will not happen again. Pitching for the Braves is also a plus as they should give him the opportunity for higher winning totals.
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