Yankees’ ace Luis Severino was spectacular in his season debut against the Angels on Tuesday, striking out four batters over four scoreless innings. The 25-year-old right-hander, who missed nearly the entire 2019 campaign due to rotator cuff and lat injuries, yielded only two hits and a pair of walks in an electrifying return performance. In addition to averaging 96.6 mph on his fastball, the hard-throwing righty generated nine swinging strikes and threw 47 of 67 pitches for strikes. He also received plenty of support from the Yankees’ blistering-hot lineup, which racked up a whopping eight runs over four innings, but he didn’t end up sticking around long enough to qualify for a win. Not too shabby for a guy who hadn’t stepped on a big-league mound in New York for nearly a year.
Granted, fantasy owners have grown accustomed to watching Severino carve up opposing lineups after witnessing his metamorphosis into an upper-echelon fantasy starter, authoring back-to-back dominant campaigns in 2017 and 2018. After spending years on the fantasy radar screens as one of the most promising pitching prospects in the game, his meteoric rise began with a breakout 2017 campaign where he posted a microscopic 2.98 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and 230/51 K/BB across 193 1/3 innings. After taking the league by storm, his follow-up effort was nearly as impressive last year. He posted a robust 3.39 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 220/46 K/BB ratio across 191 1/3 frames. Over that two-year span, Severino ranked 11th in ERA, ninth in WHIP, ninth in strikeouts per-nine and 13th in walks per-nine out of 62 pitchers with at least 300 innings of work during that span. According to Baseball Prospectus’ Deserved Run Average metric, Severino’s 2.79 DRA represented the 12th-lowest mark out of 75 major-league arms with at least 150 innings of work last season.
"He’s an elite pitcher," Yankees’ manager Aaron Boone told reporters before Tuesday’s game. "I don’t want to put too much on him right now. First and foremost, this is another big step for him. It’s a chance to probably get out there a few times between now and the end of the season, which will be valuable for him and for us."
Clearly, the Yankees aren’t placing a lot of pressure on Severino right now, but they’re definitely going to need to rely on him to record key outs in October. He’s struggled mightily in the postseason throughout his young career, but is the type of dynamic talent that can be a weapon in any role and a legitimate difference-maker in a condensed playoff series. From a fantasy perspective, his realistic upside is capped due to his limited workload over the final two weeks of the regular season, but he’s an extremely appealing streaming option in mixed leagues when he faces the Blue Jays in Yankee Stadium on Sunday.
Vazquez Arrested On Felony Charges
Pirates closer Felipe Vazquez was arrested Tuesday on charges of computer pornography, solicitation of a child, and one count of providing obscene material to minors. The 28-year-old was taken into custody in Pittsburgh on Tuesday morning on a felony warrant out of Lee County in Florida. He is also facing four additional charges in Pennsylvania including statutory sexual assault, unlawful contact with a minor, corruption of minors and indecent assault of a person less than 16 years old. According to information from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, an investigation began in August after agents obtained information that Vazquez had a reported sexual relationship with a 13-year-old female victim. The victim, now 15 years old, remained in contact with him via text messages after moving to Florida. According to court records, the victim’s mother discovered text messages, photographs and videos sent by Vazquez. Following his arrest, Vazquez was placed on administrative leave by the Commissioner’s Office in addition to being placed on the restricted list by the Pirates. The legal process will now unfold, but these are serious charges and his future in baseball is secondary to ramifications of his alleged disturbing conduct.
Betts Dodges Major Injury, Betances Suffers Torn Achilles
The Red Sox received encouraging news on Tuesday regarding Mookie Betts’ injured left foot, which has kept him out of action since the finale of a three-game series in Toronto last Thursday. According to reports, an MRI taken Monday revealed only inflammation. Clearly, this is a positive development simply because there was some concern that the foot issue was more serious than initially thought. However, he was once again held out of the Red Sox starting lineup against the Giants on Tuesday, missing his third consecutive game. With Boston nearly eliminated from postseason contention, and less than two weeks left in the regular season, it’s fair to speculate whether the 26-year-old outfielder will play again this season. The reigning American League MVP own a sublime .293/.391/.527 triple-slash line with a major league-leading 131 runs scored, 28 home runs, 78 RBI and 15 stolen bases across 680 plate appearances in 144 games. Regardless of whether he suits up again, he’ll close out the 2019 campaign as one only - hitters (entering play on Tuesday evening) to record at least 25 home runs and steal 15 bases this season. He’s a virtual lock to be selected in the top-half of the first round in fantasy drafts next spring.
Meanwhile, on a night where Severino’s long-awaited return dominated the headlines in New York, the Yankees’ bullpen was dealt a truly devastating blow on Tuesday night with the news that ace reliever Dellin Betances will miss the remainder of the season due to a partially torn left Achilles tendon. The hard-throwing 31-year-old righty had just made his return over the weekend after missing the first 24 weeks of the regular season due to serious lat and shoulder issues. While surgery hasn’t been recommended yet, it’s a possibility that the impending free agent will have to undergo the procedure. It's also possible that his rehab will extend into the upcoming 2020 campaign.
AL Quick Hits: J.D. Martinez exited Tuesday night’s game against the Giants due to left groin tightness. … Yankees manager Aaron Boone said Giancarlo Stanton (knee) could be activated Wednesday. He’s been out since late June with a PCL strain in his right knee. … Astros activated Carlos Correa from the 10-day injured list. He’s been out since August 20 due to a lower back injury. … Matthew Boyd (family) is expected to take his next turn in the Tigers' rotation Sunday against the White Sox. … Cavan Biggio hit for the cycle, recording a career-high four hits and four RBI to power the Blue Jays to a comeback win over the Orioles. … Gleyber Torres launched a three-run homer - his 38th round-tripper of the season - to lead the Yankees to a blowout win over the Angels. … Alex Bregman, Yordan Alvarez and Yuli Gurriel crushed solo homers to propel the Astros past the Rangers. … Justin Verlander fanned eight batters over six scoreless frames to net his 19th win of the season and Roberto Osuna notched his 34th save of the year in that one. … Matt Olson clubbed a solo homer to power the A’s to a win over the Royals. … Miguel Sano slugged his 30th homer of the season in the Twins’ extra-inning victory over the White Sox. … Tim Anderson went 4-for-6 with a solo homer and two RBI in the loss. … Omar Narvaez and Austin Nola left the yard in the Mariners’ lopsided win over the Pirates. … Marco Gonzales spun seven scoreless to collect his 16th win of the year in that one. … Adam Plutko fanned six over six innings of two-run ball in a win over the Tigers. … Yankees manager Aaron Boone doesn't expect Edwin Encarnacion (oblique) to resume swinging a bat this week. … Rays manager Kevin Cash indicated Tuesday that Yonny Chirinos (finger) could be activated by the end of this week. … Astros manager A.J. Hinch confirmed Tuesday that Collin McHugh (elbow) is done for the season. … Mariners activated Domingo Santana from the 10-day injured list. He missed nearly a month due to lingering inflammation in his right elbow. … Mike Fiers (arm) threw a successful 35-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday. He could potentially start against the Rangers this weekend. … David Price (wrist) is doubtful to return this season. … Indians infielder Jason Kipnis will miss the remainder of the season due to a fractured hamate bone in his right wrist.
NL Quick Hits: Craig Kimbrel (elbow) threw a 16-pitch simulated game on Tuesday. … Phillies outfielder Corey Dickerson will miss the remainder of the year due to a fractured left foot. … Keston Hiura (hamstring) returned to the Brewers' starting lineup on Tuesday for the first time since straining his left hamstring in late August. … Rich Hill (knee) threw a bullpen session Tuesday. … Pete Alonso launched his major league-leading 48th round-tripper of the season in the Mets’ victory over the Rockies. … Marcus Stroman spun seven scoreless frames to pick up the win in that one. … Chris Paddack recorded nine strikeouts over five innings of one-run ball in a no-decision against the Brewers in his final start of the 2019 campaign. … Brandon Woodruff whiffed four batters over two scoreless frames in his return against the Padres on Tuesday. He’s been out since late July with a strained left oblique. … Sonny Gray whiffed nine batters over 6 2/3 frames in a win over the Cubs. … Yu Darvish posted 13 strikeouts over seven innings in the loss. … Aristides Aquino left the yard for the first time since September 2 in that contest. … Patrick Corbin registered 11 strikeouts over six innings in a win over the Cardinals. … Victor Robles went 2-for-4 with two RBI and a stolen base in that Nationals’ victory. … Rhys Hoskins belted a two-run homer to lead the Phillies past the Braves. … Ronald Acuna tripled and stole a base in the losing effort. … Mike Yastrzemski homered to power the Giants to a win over the Red Sox in extra-innings. … Mitch Keller struck out seven batters over five innings of two-run ball in a loss to the Mariners.