SP Luis Severino, New York Yankees
Severino showed some signs of potential in his rookie season of 2015, but fell apart last season and was eventually moved to the bullpen. He pitched in 22 games, including 11 starts with a 5.83 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. It's a reminder that not every prospect comes up and has success right away. I took Severino in round 23 of Tout Wars, a 15-team mixed league draft, in early March. I landed him in a lot of draft champions leagues and I know most of us at Scout liked him as a late-round pick. He's the type of player to target late in drafts. A highly touted prospects that has a good profile but struggled depressing his price. If he failed early, you cut him. If he succeeds, you reap a big profit. So far, the signs are really encouraging. Severino struggled in his first start against the Orioles and has dominated the Rays and White Sox. While they aren't the most potent offenses, he got double-digit strikeouts in both games and that's no small feat. In those 15 innings, Severino struck out 21 and walked three. Home runs have been a problem for him and it will be pitching in Yankee Stadium. Severino is averaging 96.8 miles with his fastball, often touching 98 in his last start to go with a nasty slider. The command has been excellent and he has an 11.2 swinging strike percentage. If he's a free agent, add him.
SP Ervin Santana, Minnesota Twins
Santana is off to one of the best starts in baseball. He is 3-0 with a 0.64 ERA and 0.61 WHIP. In 28 innings, Santana has allowed nine hits, two runs, eight walks and 20 strikeouts. His pitch selection is the same as last season, the strikeout and walk rates are the same as last season and the swinging strike rate is slightly down from 10 percent to 8.8 percent. The difference is Santana has allowed little hard contact with a 23.9 percent rate, an extremely lucky .114 BABIP and a very high 96.2 percent strand rate. Santana clearly isn't this good. He has faced the inept White Sox offense twice and that has accounted for 15 scoreless innings and a struggling Royals offense. Santana had a 3.38 ERA and 1.122 WHIP last season. Those are more realistic numbers for him. If someone is buying a breakout, sell to them.
3B Chase Headley, New York Yankees
Headley wasn't drafted in most leagues and was picked up off the waiver wire leagues often over the last week. He is batting .396 with 14 runs, three home runs, six RBIs and three stolen bases. Headley had a huge season in 2012 with the Padres batting .286 with 95 runs, 31 home runs, 115 RBIs and 17 stolen bases. Since then, he hasn't come close with a high of 14 home runs in a season. Headley has cut his strikeout rate by 5.1 percent and increased his walk rate from 9.6 percent to 17.2 percent. A .457 BABIP is boosting the average and he's hitting an unsustainable amount of line drives at 35.1 percent. Headley has a 26.3 percent hard hit rate that is down from 31.4 percent last season. Headley is hitting the ball to the opposite field more, but there's nothing to suggest he's found the 2012 form.
SP Kevin Gausman, Baltimore Orioles
Gausman shattered the heart of his owners on Tuesday with a horrific performance. In 2.2 innings, he allowed eight hits, eight runs, three walks and two strikeouts. Gausman wasn't great in his other starts either. In four starts, Gausman is 1-1 with a 7.23 ERA and 2.04 WHIP and a 13:12 K:BB ratio in 18.2 innings. There's no change in velocity, but Gausman is using his slider more and his splitter less. Gausman is getting less strikeouts, less swings and misses and walking more batters. Gausman had a really good second half last season leading many to believe he could take the next step this season. In 93 innings, he had a 3.10 ERA, 8.9 K/9, 2.71 BB/9 and a 1.26 WHIP. Stay patient with Gausman and give him a few more starts before bailing.
SP Carlos Martinez, St. Louis Cardinals
It has been an odd start for Martinez. He looked terrific in the World Baseball Classic and opened the season by dominating the Cubs with 10 strikeouts and no walks in 7.1 scoreless innings. He hasn't completed six innings in each of his last three starts and against the Yankees he had 11 strikeouts, but eight walks. Obviously, his walk rate is high due to that one start. In the three other starts spanning 17.1 innings he walked three. Martinez is 0-3 with a 4.76 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. Martinez has a 29.8 percent strikeout rate, 10.6 percent walk rate and a 13.3 swinging strike rate. There's no drop in velocity and he's allowing some more hard hit balls than usual. A .351 BABIP and 69.2 percent strand rate, below his career average of 76.3 percent are a factor. The key for Martinez is to cut down on the walks. Martinez isn't as bad as the surface stats show and it's a good time to buy on him.
SS Dansby Swanson, Atlanta Braves
There was way too much hype for Swanson. He's a better real life player than fantasy. I didn't see a lot of power or speed. The most appealing thing for Swanson was hitting second in the batting order in front of Freddie Freeman and Matt Kemp. It hasn't helped and if he continues to struggles, he could be moved down the order. Swanson is hitting .131 with two runs, one home run, three RBIs and no stolen bases. He has a 25.4 percent strikeout rate and 3.2 percent walk rate. Dansby has a 24.4 percent hard hit rate. Swanson won't continue to be this bad, but there isn't a lot of fantasy production ahead.