Tuesday, August 14, 2018


7.96.  That is New York Yankees ace starter Luis Severino's ERA in his last five starts.  Allow that number to sink in for a bit and then you come to the realization as one of his fantasy baseball owners (as I am in one of my two competitive money leagues) that the guy is completely on fumes and betting for oxygen.  Summer (or more specifically August/September) fatigue is a real thing and it often is one of the most overlooked aspects of fantasy baseball and starting pitchers.  While we all have come to accept that young pitchers who throw hard are risky fantasy baseball investments due to their propensity to have Tommy John surgery, summer fatigue is also a part of the deal with young hurlers like Severino as well.  With young arms not conditioned fully to throw a full six-month MLB campaign, struggles in late July begin to crop up and really manifest themselves in August.  Hence what we are seeing from Severino now which is not a total shock here considering I actually said this about him in my annual draft guide:  "About the only concern we have here (and it is a legitimate one) is the big uptick in innings Severino put forth from 2016 to 2017.  We have seen many cases of young arms that buckled the following season under that increased workload and so Severino has some risk attached to his name."  That risk is now showing up in a "bounced" arm that is exhausted and are key indicator even outside of the ERA is the fact Severino is giving up a massive amount of home runs of late.  A tired arm often results in a power pitcher not being able to generate that last bit of push on the fastball and so opposing hitters get some more decent pitchers to drive.  Some of those end up being home runs which of course help blow up the ERA even more. 

So where do we go from here with Severino?  Do we bench him outright?  That is a very tough call given how he was a leading CY Young candidate as recently as mid-July and he is still missing bats 6 K in 4 IP Monday).  What we would suggest is being more careful of power-packed lineups such as Boston or Toronto given the struggle Severino has had with the home run ball of late.  All in all though, this is a reminder that only few pitchers are truly worth your full trust. 

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