Luis Severino Player Profile for 2019

Luis Severino (NYY – SP) – 2EarlyMocks ADP 33.3; NFBC ADP 38.2

In the #2EarlyMocks, Luis Severino is going as the 7th SP off the board on average and as the eighth pitcher in NFBC drafts. If you remember, Severino had a disastrous second-half with a 5.57 ERA after the All-Star Break. Prior to that, he looked like a Cy Young contender with a 2.30 ERA in the first half. What happened? If you remember during the ALDS against the Red Sox, there were reports and evidence that Severino was tipping pitches. The real question then, if Severino was tipping pitches in the playoffs, was he also doing it during the second half? It’s certainly possible and it’s also possible that he wasn’t. If he was, some teams may or may not have been able to pick up on it. There simply isn’t enough evidence to support his second-half struggles on tipping pitches at this point. Seriously though, what happened then?

Before we dive in, let’s see just how good Severino was before the second half of 2018. From the start of the 2017 season through July 1st of 2018 here are Severino’s numbers and MLB ranks associated with those stats

311.2 IP (6th)
2.60 ERA (4th)
1.00 WHIP T-4th)
368 SO (5th)
.245 wOBA (3rd)

Wow, that’s fantastic! Now let’s get into velocity because that’s Sevy’s bread and butter. Severino throws gas, typically near 98 mph and has a very good slider to pair it with. The problem is that his third pitch is the changeup that he throws less than 15% of the time. In other words, Severino needs both the fastball and slider to be working at their peak to be dominant. Let’s check his velocities per game for each pitch in 2018.

I’ve heard a lot about Severino losing velocity, but in reality, it’s really just a few games where the velocity dips down but then comes right back up. To me, this is not a trend or a major concern. Where I have a little more concern is the velocity differential between the fastball and the changeup. You can see early in the season the velocity difference between the two pitches is at, or greater than, 10 miles-per-hour. At the end of the season, it’s closer to eight mph. That velocity differential renders the changeup less effective and hitters can sit fastball more often without being completely fooled by the changeup. Per Fangraphs, Severino’s changeup in 2018 had a pitch value of -1.9 whereas in 2017 it was valued 9.8 (0.0 being average based on results of the pitch). So, it was worse than the league average in 2018. The change induced fewer swings outside the zone, gave up fewer ground balls, and was hit for line drives over 30% of the time. It’s not a killer because it’s not one his primary pitches, but it helps offset the blazing fastball.

Here’s where things get really concerning. Per BrooksBaseball, the percentage of “grooved pitches” in the second half nearly doubled for Severino. The definition of a “grooved pitch” is pitches thrown in the middle-middle of the plate, regardless of movement or velocity. This makes me think that Severino was NOT tipping pitches in the second half, the reason he was getting hit so hard was due to the location of his pitches. A 97 mph fastball down the pipe is very different than a 97 mph fastball high and tight. This explains the elevated BABIP and home run rate for Severino. So, what’s the solution? How about stop throwing pitches right down the middle Sevy!


Easier said than done, obviously. My concerns going forward for Severino are not related to his fastball velocity. They are related to the location of his fastball and his velocity differential with his changeup. In other words, his changeup needs to be slower. Without an effective third pitch, Severino runs the risk of an elevated BABIP and that has implications that include prolonged innings and lower left-on-base rates. Think of Chris Archer, Luis Castillo, and Nick Pivetta. Now, Severino has had more success than all of these pitchers in the past, but I think the effective use of his changeup could right the ship for Severino. I can’t see ranking Severino inside the top 10 starting pitchers for 2019. For me, he might even be around 12 or 13, check my top 25 SP rankings. His strikeout rate is good but he does not have the strikeout upside of the top tier pitchers with only his slider getting punchouts followed by his fastball to a lesser extent.

For 2019, I’ll give Severino 15 Wins, 3.52 ERA, 1.15 WHIP, 211 Strikeouts

Photo Courtesy of Al Bello/Getty Images

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Fantasy Baseball Weekly Rundown: 4/28 – 5/5

I don’t want to keep writing about Mookie Betts every week because we know how good he is and he continues to embarrass Major League pitching. I’m just kidding, I love writing about Mookie, he’s the Betts! Sorry about that, but his OPS is over 2.0 this past week, and on the season he leads the league in AVG, HR, Runs, ISO, wOBA, OPS, WAR, saving 3rd World Countries, etc. His batting average is higher than his BABIP, .363 BA with a .313 BABIP, LOL. So, yeah I “heart” you Mookie.

Meanwhile, A.J. Pollock is doing his thing with five dongs and two steals in the last week+. I actually believe he’s a damn good player and this is his talent level when healthy. The problem is, he’s almost never healthy. That being said, he is healthy and I’m not selling. You likely drafted him after guys like Starling Marte and Elvis Andrus and if he can stay healthy you are looking at a top 25 type season. Something in the vicinity of 30 home runs and 25 steals. HUMIDOR WHAT!

Kevin Pillar has got a nice power/speed stretch going with three homers and two steals this past week. Oh nice, he’s kind of like a poor man’s Pollock. A poor Pollock is that even a thing? I don’t even know and I’m half Polish. This is more or less a hot streak for Pillar. I’d pick him up for now, but I’m not buying him at this level for the rest of the season. He’s going to wear down and go back to his true talent level. That’s ok, the 6 steals could end up around 15-18 with 14-15 homers. That’s a solid forth or fifth OF, so, yes he should be owned in all 12-teamers.

Old Man Nick Markakis is doing something he hasn’t done since his days in Baltimore. He’s hitting .458 with three home runs in the last seven days and has six dingers on the year after only having eight in all of 2017. It took Markakis until August to hit his sixth homer in 2017. I checked his batted ball profile along with xStats, and if you’re wondering, no, this will not last. He has however improved his plate discipline and should be a good source of AVG and OBP (for those leagues) and should be hitting in a good spot in one of the most exciting lineups in the league. He still likely ends up around .285/.360 with 12-14 homers, no speed but probably around 85+ RBI.

Dee Gordon is hitting a crazy .630 with five steals over the last week and has taken over the league lead in steals with 14. This is what Dee does, he steals bases. Any concerns about slowing down went out the window but his .415 BABIP won’t last. Yeah, he’s a .340 BABIP guy. Ok, so he’s basically a .290 hitter with 55-60 steals. Oh, that’s exactly what I projected him for this offseason. Great!

Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor started slow this year and fantasy owners were worried. What are their numbers now?  Ramirez is hitting .293 with 9 HR and 3 steals and is walking more than he’s striking out; Lindor is hitting .283 with 7 HR and 5 steals. Sounds like they are both going to be just fine. Everyone relax.

Quick hit: Eugenio Suarez came back from a fractured thumb in like 3 weeks! How? I don’t know but It doesn’t matter, he’s killing it with 2 HR and 12 RBI in the last 7 days. He’s now got 4 HR, 20 RBI and hitting over .300 in only 16 games. He shouldn’t be available but I’m buying his breakout.

Kris Bryant and his dreamy blue eyes is 4 for his last 23. He does have a homer but to be honest, it was wind aided and was 2 rows deep at Wrigley. What’s interesting is that KB has reduced his strikeout rate and SwStr for the fourth straight year. That’s good but his FB% and launch angle are down. If you were expecting 40 HR from KB, you’re going to be disappointed. He’s more of a 25-30 HR hitter but he might hit .300, so that’s something, right?

This is the Cubs portion of the article; Javy Baez is hitting .200 in the last seven days with no homers. He has managed one steal so maybe he can weather these slumps by stealing bases. Doubtful, the Cubs are next to last in steals as a team. But he’s walking more, nope. I said this before, he had as many IBB as BB in 2017 because he hit in front of the pitcher. If he’s hitting higher in the order it’s good for his counting stats but bad for his OBP. Maddon has already moved him down after one bad week, so who knows what to expect. He’s still swinging out of the zone just as much and missing nearly the same as 2017. I’d be selling Baez and would have done it two weeks ago.

Paul DeJong is 3 for his last 16 with no homers,one run and no RBI in the last seven days. At least he’s but his K rate down to 31.7% though, right? This is the real Paul DeJong. The power is legit, but he’s going to have a lot more stretches like this one with a few hot streaks in between. They will very few and far between. I’m not buying DeJong, I’d be selling.

Rhys Hoskins was looking like a God among men through his first 70 or so games in the Majors. However, his line over the last week looks like this .083 with no homers, 1 R, 1 RBI, and an astonishing 11 strikeouts! This is just a slump, he’s still walking at just under 20%. If you thought Hoskins was going to turn into a .300 40 110 hitter in his first full season, then you will be disappointed. I think he could be that at his peak, but right now he hits too many fly balls to hit for a very high average. He’s more of a .260 hitter with 30+ homer power and great on base skills. I’d buy if someone is jumping ship.

Nick Kingham crowned as this week’s rundown pitcher of the week. I’m sorry, that was lame. Kingham ruled his opponents this week. I’ll let myself out.  2 starts with 16 Ks, 4 ER and 2 W this past week. Another Tommy John Surgery pitcher for the Pirates to ruin. His slider has been reinvented which means he’s got 3 plus pitches. He looks like the real deal. He’s not going to over power hitters but mixes in his secondary pitches very well. If it wasn’t for the 2-run jack by Domingo Santana in his last start, he’s would have completed another gem. I’m buying Kingham in all 12 team leagues and deeper.

Luis Severino and Gerrit Cole are my fifth and sixth best SPs right now. It’s way too late to buy Gerrit Cole but I believe in his stuff this year. The Pirates have got to be kicking themselves right now for not letting Cole use pine tar while pitching. LOL, I’m JK, right Tyler Bauer? Anyways, he’s got 77 strike out against 9 walks! He’s going to be very good this year but the high launch angle (18 degrees) and hard hit rate of 38% could create a few blowups in the future. Although when you strikeout everyone, does it matter? Sevy while not an dominant has given up an average launch angle of only 5.8 degrees and backs it up with a 52% ground ball rate. He’s got the safer floor than Cole by limiting home runs and keeping the ball on the ground.

Blake Snell’s like teen spirit is on a roll! I wrote that sleeper post back in December. He hasn’t given up more than 2 ER in a single start since his 2nd start of the season against the Yanks. He’s keeping his walks way down and finally missing bats like he was in the minors. You are witnessing Snell’s breakout and it Snells damn good! I’m buying him as a borderline top 30 SP. If an owner isn’t as fond of him, make an offer for him.

Sean Newcomb has put together a couple of very good starts. He’s kind of like Blake Snell back in 2017 but with more strikeout upside. He’s always had great stuff and high swing and miss numbers but his control has historically been bad. Well, he’s only walked 2 batters and struck out 16 in his last two starts. I like this kid and I’d be buying in 12 team and deeper leagues. His Zone% is up 3% so if he can keep the walks down, he’ll be very valuable. Expect some 4 IP 5 ER with 4 or 5 walk games but the good should out weight the bad.

Freezing Hurlers
David Price’s struggles hit a climax (and not in a good way) on Thursday night. He’s given up 12 ER and 19 base runners in his last 9 ⅓ innings. What’s up David? Do we need to get Dennis Eckersley to take trash about you again? I’m beginning to think Price’s best days are behind him. His average FB velocity is around 93 mph. Back when he was an ace, he was slinging it between 95 and 97 mph. His secondary offerings are just not that great. Without a dominant fastball you can see his K rate dropping and the walk rate is nearly up to 10%. I’d hold for now, he’s a good veteran pitcher. I want to see a few more starts and how he adjusts.

Carlos Carrasco serving up cookies to opposing batters in his last two starts. Tehehe. Carrasco’s skills all look to be intact. His velocity is fine, his walk rate is good, and his swings and misses are there, but the strikeouts are down (they will come back up). The only change is an increase in fly balls. His launch angle against is up 4 degrees from 2017. Maybe he gives up 2 more HRs than last year, so what. I’m not all that concerned, if a Carrasco owner is selling, I’m buying.

Jason Vargas and Chris Tillman can go back to being ignored in fantasy. Unless you’re stacking hitters against them. I wouldn’t be owning either of these guys or even streaming them. I’d actually be surprised if they are both pitching in the Majors in September this year.

Matt Harvey has been DFAed by the Mets as he refused to be sent to the minors. Wow, that escalated quickly. What a fall from grace for the Dark Knight. Back in 2015 his fastball averaged 96.7 mph and this year he averaged 92.6 mph. Here’s really the only other stat you need to know, in 2015 his xwOBA against was an incredible .255 and this year it’s .400! So basically, he turned every hitter into Alcides Escobar in 2015 and he’s turning everyone into Mike Trout now.