With the 2021 season coming to a close, let's look at some of the pitchers who could be a value in 2022 drafts:
Aaron Nola, SP, PHI
Nola finishes the season with a disappointing 4.63 ERA, but everything suggests that that number is an aberration. He entered the season with a career 3.47 ERA and his advanced stats indicate that he was actually just as good if not better this season than he has been in the past. He will conclude 2021 with a 3.41 xERA, 3.37 xFIP, 1.13 WHIP, and 223:39 K:BB across 180.2 IP. His 1.94 BB/9 was the best mark 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 scoring position, compared to a .626 OPS with no men on base, a discrepancy which should correct itself. Nola should still be viewed as a top-of-the-rotation pitcher, and may come cheaper than other aces in next year's drafts.
Luis Castillo, SP, CIN
After an ice cold start to the season, Castillo was able to lower his season ERA to 3.98, which is still worse than his pre-season expectations. But his 3.62 xFIP looks a bit nicer, and he was a lot better after a terrible first two months. From June onwards, he recorded a 2.73 ERA, 3.35 xFIP, and 9.58 K/9 across 22 starts. He still finished with a subpar 3.60 BB/9, but his solid strikeout rate and elite GB% (56.6%) should be enough to make him a strong bounce back candidate in 2022.
Chris Paddack, SP, SD
Paddack was one of several pitchers who underperformed for the Padres this season, as he finishes 2021 with a 5.07 ERA, and was limited to 108.1 IP due to injuries. There was some bad luck involved in his poor performance, as his xFIP was a very respectable 3.86 and he continued to an excellent job of limiting walks (1.83 BB/9). His strikeout rate did drop for the second straight year, and the injury concerns are real, so his stock is definitely lower than it was after his strong rookie season in 2019, but when he's healthy, he should be a lot better than he was in 2021.
Blake Snell, SP, SD
Snell has pitched to a relatively disappointing 4.20 ERA and 1.32 WHIP this season, and his 4.83 BB/9 has been especially ugly. But there are reasons to believe that Snell could be still be an ace in the years ahead. He finishes the season with a strong 11.89 K/9 and respectable 3.74 xFIP, but he really seemed to turn a corner around the beginning of August. Over the final two months of the season, he posted a 1.83 ERA, 2.93 xFIP and 65:14 K:BB across 44.1 IP. His 2.84 BB/9 during that stretch was especially encouraging. The control struggles that Snell had earlier in the year were very real and could pop up again the future, but there is a strong potential for Snell to return to ace form in 2022.
Huascar Ynoa, SP, ATL
Ynoa's 4.05 ERA doesn't stand out, but he finishes the 2021 season with an excellent 3.39 xFIP, 1.11 WHIP, and 100:25 K:BB across 91.0 IP. His 47.3% GB% is also quite solid, and he may have gotten a bit unlucky with an 18.4% HR/FB%. Ynoa did miss 3 months with a broken hand, but it was the type of injury that you hope won't happen again. Pitching for the Braves is also a plus as they should give him the opportunity for higher win totals.
This is just a small sample our daily analysis, join our member area for over 80 daily player updates sent to your inbox every morning and track your team online. Click here for details: http://www.insiderbaseball.