The last days of Patrick Corbin?

Scott Pianowski
·5 min read

Success in life, and success in fantasy stuff, comes down to a simple concept. Good decisions. If you keep making sound choices, incremental gains usually follow.

And the key to making good decisions is to divorce yourself from emotion. The rational and emotional sides of your mind, they’re lifetime enemies. They’ll try to sabotage each other.

And yet, here we are with Patrick Corbin, lefty in trouble. What the heck do we do with a guy carrying a 21.32 ERA?

It was easy to shrug when Corbin scuffled at Chavez Ravine last week — the Dodgers have a historically-loaded roster, they’ll beat up plenty of opponents. But Corbin’s start Thursday against Arizona was worse, the type of bad news that travels at rocket speed.

Check the damage: 2 IP, 6 H, 10 R, 9 ER, 4 BB, 1 K. The Diamondbacks conked three home runs. Corbin even hit two batters — hey, anything to spare the WHIP.

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 15: Patrick Corbin #46 of the Washington Nationals walks to the dugout after the second inning against the Arizona Diamondbacks at Nationals Park on April 15, 2021 in Washington, DC. All players are wearing the number 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson Day. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
Patrick Corbin couldn't find answers in Thursday's loss to Arizona. (Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

Corbin, of course, was a mess last year, for whatever we make of 11 starts — 4.66 ERA, 1.57 WHIP. His fastball velocity dipped to 90.2 last year — a career low — and the current heater is also at that number. Corbin was never known as a velocity wizard — his career mph is an ordinary 91.7 — but any velocity change in the wrong direction needs to be taken seriously. His spring ERA was fine, but behind it loomed seven walks against nine strikeouts, a ratio in red.

Okay, so he’s stunk this year. And he wasn’t good last year. Now what?

There aren’t many options for Corbin’s fantasy managers. A trade is basically out, given you have nothing to take to market. No one has the nerve to start him for a while, obviously. You could drop him for something fresh on the wire. Some might even rage-cut Corbin, seek some relief from a therapeutic drop.

(Favorite personal rage-drop: The time in college I walked into my living room — we were having a party — and asked if anyone liked the Eagles. A woman I didn’t know nodded. I handed her 2-3 discs and I’ve never regretted it. To be fair, I like a number of tracks from Eagles members solo, and I have nothing bad to say about Joe Walsh, ever. But you can take all of their music and blast it into the sun. The Dude was right.)

There isn’t one universal piece of advice here. In a shallow league, Corbin might be an easy drop as you peruse a rich waiver wire. In a deeper pool, you likely have to bench him but hold onto hope. He’s still just 31. Maybe the right mechanical fix will work wonders.

But let me duck in a little wisdom as you consider your next move. Wait for Proof is a dead fantasy strategy; if you find yourself unable to make choices until the right answer is obvious, you’re very unlikely to win a competitive league. And you also can’t be paralyzed by the fear of making a wrong decision. If you complete a fantasy season without making a regretful cut or decision, you’re either having a charmed-life season or more likely playing far too conservatively.

Not saveless in Seattle 

The Mariners scored a sweep at Baltimore, improving their record to 8-5. Everyone who figured the Red Sox, Royals, and Mariners would lead their divisions after two weeks, please step forward.

There’s a committee brewing in the Seattle bullpen. Rafael Montero was the presumed chairman of the group, but he worked as a setup man in Thursday’s opener, then rested for the nightcap. Kendall Graveman recorded the first handshake, Kenyan Middleton the second.

Graveman could be the lawnmower in this group, another failed starter who figures it out as a reliever. He’s worked six scoreless innings, permitted just three baserunners, struck out six. Middleton’s two saves are more hocus-pocus than anything; he has more walks than strikeouts.

Montero’s generally had the bat-missing skills for high leverage, though he’s battled control his entire career. If I had one ticket on this bullpen starting now, Graveman would get the punch.

Last call on Lowrie

It kills me I don’t have any shares of Jed Lowrie. I’ve always liked his bat and his makeup, dating back to the Boston days last decade, and heck, the guy was a fantasy asset back in 2018, when he collected 23 homers and 99 RBIs for the Athletics.

The last two years, of course, it’s been a mess. Lowrie was hurt with the Mets and didn’t even play last year. But he’s back in Oakland and it agrees with him — Lowrie has a .348/.434/.543 slash through two weeks. He's ripped two hits in five straight games, and driven in 11 runs over six starts. Nothing fluky about it, his expected batting average per Statcast data (.370) is higher than his actual average (.348). Locked in. 

You love the discerning eye — he’s already walked seven times — and the A’s generally slot Lowrie in the second or third position. I can’t promise you the elder vet (he turns 37 on Saturday) will stay healthy all year, but this is what a professional hitter looks like. So long as Lowrie stays hale, he stays in your mixed league lineup.