Severino Shut Down
The Yankees’ starting rotation took a completely unexpected hit on Tuesday when ace right-hander Luis Severino was a last-minute scratch from his scheduled Grapefruit League start due to right shoulder discomfort.
Shortly after, Yankees’ skipper Aaron Boone announced that Severino felt something that “didn’t feel right” at the back of his shoulder while warming up, and that the 25-year-old hurler would be undergoing a precautionary MRI on his right shoulder and lat.
Luckily for fantasy owners in the thick of fantasy drafts right now, news on Severino came back quickly. While things aren’t perfect, it’s certainly an encouraging diagnosis that he’ll only be shut down for two weeks due to inflammation in his rotator cuff. In an absolute best-case scenario, with no hiccups at all in his recovery along the way, Severino will be looking at a return to the Yankees’ rotation in late-April. That’s about a month out from the projected date that he should be able to resume throwing.
Fantasy owners will need to decipher where Severino’s value falls now, with the expectation that he’ll miss the first month of the season. They’ll also need to price in the additional risk that comes with the possibility of further aggravation, as shoulder injuries can be difficult to navigate, and even the most routine of issues can linger throughout the season.
Severino’s average draft position in NFBC drafts has sat pretty steadily around pick 35 overall, making him the 10th starting pitcher off the board. My personal opinion is that with this news, he’ll slide to the 60-80 range overall, which would cause him to be jumped by Carlos Carrasco, Walker Buehler, Noah Syndergaard, Patrick Corbin, James Paxton, Jameson Taillon and perhaps others.
Keep in mind, my projection that he lands in that range is with that best-case scenario diagnosis. He misses a month of the season and you are able to replace that production with a replacement-level pitcher for the time that he misses. It doesn’t price in the additional risk of there being complications in his recovery, further aggravation, or any sort of diminished performance due to the shoulder woes.
Should Severino begin the regular season on the injured list, which appears likely, the most-likely candidate to fill his spot in the Yankees’ rotation is Domingo German, though Jonathan Loaisiga and/or Luis Cessa could be in the mix as well.
Another possibility, which Jon Heyman of MLB Network alluded to on Tuesday, could be Gio Gonzalez. Heyman noted that Gonzalez “has been discussed at least by some Yankees’ people.” Whether that actually gains any traction or not, only time will tell, though Yankee Stadium doesn’t seem like it would be a favorable home environment for the veteran southpaw.
Hopefully we will have a clearer outlook on this scenario by the end of March when most fantasy drafts are taking place. As it stands now, Severino may not be for the risk-averse drafter.
Sano Shelved Until May
For those in the fantasy community (myself included) that have been stockpiling shares of Miguel Sano in early drafts at a depressed price point, betting on a rebound season, my sincerest condolences.
Coming off of a massively-disappointing 2018 campaign where he hit just .199/.281/.398 with 14 homers and 41 RBI in 266 at-bats, the former top prospect seemed to rededicate himself to the sport over the winter. The Twins had been showering him with accolades, for his training regimen, losing significant weight per the club’s request.
The injury occurred while Sano was celebrating his team’s championship in the Dominican Winter League. As he told the Minneapolis Star Tribune, “"The entire town came out. [At the stage], the president of the team called every player up, one by one, to say thank you for the support… Someone dropped liquid on the stage, someone else slipped, that person pushed me, I slipped down the starts and I caught my [heel] on them." Even after he suffered the injury, Sano was still putting in heavy work in the weight room, doing everything in his power to get himself ready.
Then came the whammy. The Twins announced Tuesday that Sano had undergone a debridement procedure at the Mayo clinic to have the wound readdressed and promote healing. Twins’ executive vice president Derek Falvey told reporters Tuesday, “He’s out of the picture right now for Opening Day, that’s the most noteworthy piece… This was the right step to proceed, to have the healing going a little more the way we had hoped, we’re looking at baseball activity again in the middle of April.”
Reading between the lines, if all goes well and he resumes baseball activity in the middle of April, that means that Sano will be on the shelf until early-May. Like Severino, that timeline is assuming that everything goes perfectly according to plan and there are no setbacks in his recovery.
Unlike Severino, this really seems to be more of a freak accident, than an actual injury that’s going to linger or crop up again later in the season. That means that once Sano does return, you should pencil him down for the same type of production that you would have otherwise had he not suffered the injury.
The real question now, is how badly does this hurt his draft stock. As I alluded to above, it had been my personal belief that his price was already depressed, sporting an average draft position just outside the top 200 picks overall in NFBC drafts since the beginning of February.
Knocking a full month off of his season, should push him down closer to 300, though those that were in on him before will likely still be looking to buy up there shares, only now at a much more discounted price.
Luckily for the Twins, the recently-signed Marwin Gonzalez should slide right in as the club’s everyday starter at third base. Though he was likely to see very regular playing time in his utility role, having a locked-in starting job for the first month of the season should cause his draft stock to tick up a notch or two.
Quick Hits: The Royals officially announced that Salvador Perez will undergo Tommy John surgery on Wednesday… The Blue Jays officially inked right-hander Clay Buchholz to a one-year, $3 million contract. He can also earn an additional $2.75 million in incentives. While it’s not the ideal landing spot, he has some appeal in AL-only and deeper mixed leagues after his spectacular results with the Diamondbacks in 2018. … Mark Trumbo (knee) is aiming to make his Grapefruit League debut on March 12, though that may be optimistic. … Aaron Hicks missed another game with his lingering back stiffness, and is expected to be held out for several more days. A precautionary MRI turned up no structural issues, but this is a situation to monitor for the oft-injured outfielder. … Mitch Haniger was scratched from the Mariners’ lineup again on Tuesday due to lingering back tightness. … The MRI came back clean on the groin of Rays’ right-hander Ryan Yarbrough, who is still expected to be ready for the start of the regular season. … Delino DeShields (knee) returned to the Rangers’ lineup on Tuesday. … Chris Davis was a late scratch to the Orioles’ lineup on Tuesday due to a left hip flexor strain. He’s considered day-to-day. … Dustin Pedroia (knee) is likely to make his spring debut on Thursday against the Twins. … Bryce Harper will participate in a simulated game on Wednesday in preparation for his Grapefruit League debut against the Blue Jays on Saturday. … Daniel Palka (hamstring) is expected to return to the White Sox’ lineup before the end of the week. … Matt Duffy suffered a setback in his recovery from a hamstring injury and will be sidelined at least a couple of extra days. … Zack Cozart will be sidelined for the next couple of weeks, and is unlikely to be ready for Opening Day, after being diagnosed with a Grade 1 calf strain. … Matt Harvey (glute) will make his Angels’ and Cactus League debut on Wednesday. … Josh Donaldson is expected to make his Braves’ Grapefruit League debut on Friday. … Howie Kendrick was lifted from Tuesday’s Grapefruit League game after suffering a left hamstring strain, and his availability for the start of the regular season could be in doubt. … Diamondbacks’ right-hander Silvino Bracho was diagnosed with a partial UCL tear in his right elbow and is expected to undergo Tommy John surgery. … Francisco Pena will be shut down for the next 10-15 days after suffering an oblique injury during Tuesday’s loss to the Phillies. … Luis Urias was scratched from Tuesday’s Cactus League affair due to fatigue in both hamstrings. He’s considered day-to-day. … Cameron Maybin was arrested on suspicion of DUI in Scottsdale, Arizona last Friday. … Khris Davis (calf) is expected to make his Cactus League debut Thursday or Friday.
Jack Flaherty was electric in Tuesday’s Grapefruit League start against the Phillies, racking up nine strikeouts across four shutout innings. … Aaron Nola delivered three shutout innings on the other side in his spring debut. … Jesus Luzardo struck out six batters and didn't allow a hit over 2 2/3 scoreless innings Tuesday versus the Rangers in Cactus League action. … Ryan Borucki fanned four over three scoreless innings against the Tigers. … Max Scherzer was knocked around for five runs in 3 ⅓ innings against the Red Sox. … Kyle Wright fanned three over three shutout frames against the Tigers and is pitching his way into the conversation for a spot in the Braves’ Opening Day rotation… Aaron Judge doubled and blasted a three-run homer in a win over the Braves. … Carlos Santana clubbed his third spring homer in a rout of the White Sox. … Francisco Mejia went 3-for-3 with a solo home run and RBI double in Cactus League play versus the Mariners on Tuesday. … Domingo Santana slugged a two-run home run and reached base three times in Tuesday's Cactus League game against the Padres. He’s now 7-for-15 with three homers on the spring. … Blake Snell failed to make it out the first inning in an exhibition start Tuesday night against the University of South Florida. Facing a lineup of amateur college kids, Snell yielded two earned runs on two hits, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch before getting lifted with two outs in the top of the first. … Mike Trout smashed his second home run of the Cactus League season, a three-run blast off of Mario Meza. … Drew Smyly notched three strikeouts over two scoreless innings Tuesday against the Athletics.