Want more sleepers for your Fantasy draft? Head to SportsLine.com and check out the all-new ACES metric to find overlooked starting pitchers. You'll find some names from this list ranked surprisingly high.
Even so, it sounds like he'll be looking at a DL — er, IL — stint to open the season, which makes for one fewer early-round standout at that most critical of positions. In other words, you should get used to seeing Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard creep into Round 3.
Obviously, we don't know the true timetable — only that he's resting at this point — so it's possible he could be back to pitching for the Yankees in late April. But Clayton Kershaw is actually further along now with what sounds like a less concerning injury, so I figure Severino needs to drop to about the same range in the rankings — i.e., around 20th overall. As rare and as valuable as true aces are, you have to safeguard against the worst-case scenario, too.
On the flipside, the loss of Severino is an opportunity for someone else, and the Yankees have two intriguing young arms in Domingo German and Jonathan Loaisiga. German got a longer look last year and flashed big potential with three swing-and-miss offerings, but Loaisiga is theoretically the better prospect. Both become borderline draftable in mixed leagues, in the same sort of way Brandon Woodruff and Corbin Burnes are. And keep in mind that by the time Severino is ready to return, it's possible another opening will have developed.
If you're not targeting Jack Flaherty as a possible breakthrough ace this season, well, you don't know Jack. The Phillies, their lineup featuring basically all of their regulars except Bryce Harper, struck out nine times against him Tuesday.
It including a stretch of seven in a row that began in the second inning, part of four total innings for the young righty. It was a continuation of the stuff he showed during his rookie 2018, when he flashed plus potential with his two-seamer, curveball and especially slider. And while shaky control is something he'll need to overcome, the Cardinals believe he's ready for the next step.
Flaherty is the 20th starting pitcher off the board, on average, according to FantasyPros ADP.
Hicks looking sick
Part of the reason he's the favorite to close for the Cardinals over Andrew Miller now, though, is because, um, that's changing. His slider is looking downright nasty.
He struck out four in an inning of work Tuesday (a runner reached via a wild pitch), with fastballs ranging from 99 to 103 mph, which means that so far this spring he has recorded more strikeouts (seven) than actual outs (six). As rare as dedicated closers are in today's game, his ADP should skyrocket in the weeks ahead.
Wright man for the job?
The Braves looked like they had too few openings for too many intriguing arms at the start of spring training, but their depth has taken a massive hit over the past couple weeks, with Mike Foltynewicz (elbow) and Kevin Gausman (shoulder) fighting through injuries and Mike Soroka, the presumed favorite for the fifth spot, already ruled out for the start of the year due to renewed shoulder discomfort. It doesn't help that Touki Toussaint, considered Soroka's main competition for the role, has hardly put his best foot forward.
Kyle Wright, though, has. The fifth overall pick in the 2017 draft of course has significant upside in his own right, and though he wasn't exactly flawless in his first full season in the Braves organization, his command improved over the course of the year. And so far in five innings this spring, he has yet to walk anyone.
His latest success came against a high-powered Yankees lineup Tuesday. Wright struck out three over three scoreless innings, including Aaron Judge looking at a breaker.
It's his curveball that has scouts most excited, but his slider may emerge as a plus pitch as well. And if he does find his way into the Braves rotation as an injury replacement, he may not look back.
Luzardo looks like a winner
Jesus Luzardo also made his case for a rotation spot Tuesday, striking out six Rangers over 2 2/3 innings, and apparently, the 21-year-old is impressing his manager with his poise.
"He's so aware of what he wants to do, and you really like to see that," Bob Melvin told MLB.com. "You've got a veteran guy like [Nick] Hundley behind the plate, and he's shaking at 3-2 changeups. That's a big part that impresses me, but so does his stuff, and every time he's on the mound he looks more and more comfortable."
Melvin also noted that Luzardo's changeup and fastball "look exactly alike" coming out of his hand, which is no surprise given the scouting reports. Those two pitches are almost certainly major league-ready, but Luzardo's continuing efforts to refine his curveball, not to mention workload concerns, may ultimately put him in the minors to begin the year.
Archer takes aim
Coming off a down season, Chris Archer looked sharp in his spring debut Tuesday against the Orioles, striking out four while walking one over two hitless innings, and the 30-year-old has some changes in store for this year.
Mainly, he's working to incorporate his two-seamer and curveball a little more after being mostly a fastball-slider guy to this point.
"It's going to just help me overall be four-dimensional. For a long time, I was only two-dimensional," Archer told MLB.com. "Once I got here, guys encouraged me to use my whole arsenal. I did that at the end of last season and I did it today, and it feels great."
Archer also ditched the windup at the end of last season, pitching exclusively out of the stretch, and he thinks it's a big reason why he improved to a 2.70 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 10.8 strikeouts per nine innings in September.
"Just pick my leg up and throw instead of worrying about winding up," he said. "I kind of broke it down and said, 'Where's most of my damage happening? Where am I missing my location the most?' And it was out of the windup. I just killed it. I started that Sept. 1, and the results have spoken for themselves."
Can't argue that. If Archer can just get back to where he was in 2016 and 2017, with all the innings and strikeouts, he'll be a steal at his going rate.