After recently assessing hitters who can be dropped, we will now turn our attention to underachieving hurlers.
As I mentioned when covering hitters, I’m not saying that you must outright drop these hurlers, but there are many shallow Yahoo! leagues, and roster space has value in all formats. Moving on from disappointing players allows managers to stream the spot until they find the next waiver wire gem.
Blake Snell (SD, 96 percent rostered)
Snell has been a major disappointment in his Padres debut, showing terrible control skills (13.9 percent walk rate) en route to posting a 4.50 ERA and a 1.52 WHIP. When looking back to the offseason, there was a major flaw in logic from those who were touting Snell. The Rays — possibly the best organization in baseball at working with pitchers — traded Snell away. Why did anyone believe he would be better without Tampa’s coaches by his side? Snell has thrown just 44 innings in 10 starts, leading me to believe that the Rays were right to keep his outings brief last season. The southpaw will provide whiffs, but the rest of his value is murky at the moment. I would try to trade Snell for a discount but would consider cutting him if that plan fails.
Zach Plesac (CLE, 85 percent)
Plesac is a cautionary tale for believing in small sample sizes from previous seasons. Although he made eight great starts last year, the right-hander has delivered mediocre results in 2021, despite enjoying an unsustainable .224 BABIP. His 16.2 percent strikeout rate is an awful mark, and his 4.51 FIP and 4.35 xFIP paint the picture of someone who is a streamer rather than a lineup fixture. Now on the IL with a fractured thumb, Plesac should be dropped in most leagues.
Kenta Maeda (MIN, 78 percent)
Like Plesac, Maeda has burned managers who put too much stock in his brief 2020 success. The right-hander owns awful ratios (5.27 ERA, 1.48 WHIP), last made a quality start on April 7, and has posted the lowest strikeout rate (20.5 percent) of his MLB career. And now he’s on the IL with a groin injury. There is still time for Maeda to turn his season around, so I don’t see him as a must-drop player. But his underlying numbers leave me no choice but to suggest moving on in shallow leagues.
Dinelson Lamet (SD, 79 percent)
At this point, I’m not sure why managers are sticking with Lamet. The 28-year-old has thrown just 11 innings this year, with his highest workload being just three frames on May 22. Sure, Lamet has plenty of potential, but he is continuously dealing with forearm and elbow injuries, making an eventual long-term shutdown much more likely than a healthy, dominant stretch.
Noah Syndergaard (NYM, 69 percent)
I love fantasy enthusiasm, but the emotion may be misplaced with Syndergaard. The hulking right-hander is working his way back from Tommy John surgery, and that process usually involves some bumps along the way. In fact, Syndergaard was removed from his Tuesday rehab start with elbow soreness and has now been shut down until July. Syndergaard is unlikely to rejoin the Mets rotation until late August and is no longer worth the wait.
Frankie Montas (OAK, 77 percent)
Montas has logged a 4.92 ERA and a 1.43 WHIP this year, which doesn’t help mixed-league managers. And his poor results come after a 2020 season in which he was even worse, producing a 5.60 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP. Here are a couple of startling statistics: Montas has just once produced a WHIP under 1.40 and he has yet to throw 100 innings in a single season. Aside from Syndergaard, Montas may be the most over-rostered pitcher in this article.
Patrick Corbin (WSH, 60 percent)
If there’s one player in this article I feel certain about giving up on, it’s Corbin. The left-hander was bad last year (4.66 ERA, 1.57 WHIP) and even worse so far in 2021 (6.13 ERA, 1.55 WHIP). He is really struggling to put batters away, having compiled four or fewer strikeouts in five of his past six starts. Corbin’s immediate upside is someone who eats innings for the Nats by grinding through mediocre starts. I would rather stream his spot until I find someone who can make a real impact.
German Marquez (COL, 59 percent)
I’ll keep this one short: don’t roster Rockies starters in mixed leagues! The risk is rarely worth the reward in most seasons, and Colorado is a weaker team than usual this year. Rockies starters have little upside, as you’ll need to sit them for half of their starts. Marquez hasn’t been effective this year (4.82 ERA, 1.59 WHIP), even on the road (4.60 ERA). At best, the right-hander can be streamed in favorable road outings.