The 2021 MLB season has been a year dominated by pitching, but not everyone has gotten in on the fun.
There are a variety of valid excuses (given the circumstances over the past year) as to why some pitchers have struggled out of the gate, but that doesn’t make it any easier to watch as a fan.
For many pitchers off to poor starts, their proven track records will provide a bit of a cushion as far as the length of their leash, but that may not be the case for others.
Three pitchers in particular stand out as the most disappointing arms this year so far.
3. Eduardo Rodriguez
Eduardo Rodríguez missed the 2020 season after a battle with COVID-19.
His 2019 campaign was arguably the best of his career.
Over 34 starts, Rodriguez managed a 3.81 ERA, 1.33 WHIP, 3.86 FIP, and finished sixth in Cy Young voting.
This season, he has not enjoyed the same success.
The 28-year-old has a poor 5.01 ERA over nine starts.
In the month of May, Rodriguez made five starts and allowed four runs or more in all but one of them.
He posted a 6.48 ERA during that stretch.
The Red Sox could really use some stability from Rodriguez to balance out the back-end of their rotation.
2. Dallas Keuchel
Dallas Keuchel is in his second season with the Chicago White Sox.
His first year with the team was a phenomenal one.
Keuchel posted a 1.99 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, and 3.08 FIP.
All year, he allowed just two home runs over 63.1 innings.
The lefty finished fifth in Cy Young voting and 17th in MVP voting.
This year, Keuchel has surprisingly been the worst arm in an otherwise solid White Sox rotation.
He has a 4.53 ERA, 4.86 FIP, and 1.32 WHIP over 11 starts.
Keuchel was solid over his first six starts, but the wheels have come off lately.
In five starts since May 12, he has allowed 16 runs over 21.2 innings.
Opponents are batting .319 against him over that span.
The White Sox biggest problems right now are Codi Heuer giving up too many hits, Aaron Bummer giving up too many walks, and Dallas Keuchel not striking enough guys out. None of these seem like things that cannot be fixed by the end of the season.
— MLB OldBoy (@PerfectGameLex) May 31, 2021
1. Blake Snell
It is relatively early, but Blake Snell is having the worst season of his MLB career.
The lefty is in his first season with the San Diego Padres after spending his first five years with the Tampa Bay Rays.
Snell was a top-tier starting pitcher with the Rays, posting a 3.24 ERA over 108 starts with the team.
His best season came in 2018 when he won the American League Cy Young Award.
That year, Snell led the league in wins (21), ERA (1.89), hits per nine (5.6), and ERA+ (217, which implies that he was 117 percent better than the average pitcher that year).
He also finished ninth in MVP voting with a 7.1 WAR.
In San Diego, Snell has had the opposite experience.
Through 11 starts, Snell has a 5.55 ERA, 1.60 WHIP, 4.39 FIP, and has issued a MLB-most 31 free passes.
His WAR is -0.6.
Things haven’t gotten better as of late for the 28-year-old, who has an ERA of 8.02 since May 7 and has allowed 12 runs over his last two starts.
Blake Snell: "People can be frustrated, they can get mad. I don't really care what they think of me. I feel great and I'm going to get better and I'm going to start winning … I'm in a rough patch but I'm going to get out of it." #Padres
— Annie Heilbrunn (@annieheilbrunn) May 25, 2021
The Padres are 4-7 in games started by Snell and he is the only pitcher in the rotation with an ERA over 3.61.NEXT: 3 Biggest MLB Surprises Through The Month Of May