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Fantasy Baseball Outlooks Of Pitchers On The Move: Luis Severino, Craig Kimbrel, Yoshinobu Yamamoto

Lou takes a look at the fantasy baseball prospects of three pitchers who will be on new MLB teams in 2024.

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - DECEMBER 27: Yoshinobu Yamamoto speaks to the media during an introductory press conference at Dodger Stadium on December 27, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

This MLB off-season has seen a ton of player movement. There are still many high-profile free agents available, and when they sign, it will change the fantasy baseball landscape. But for now, let’s take a look at some big-name pitchers who have changed teams this offseason, and how it impacts their fantasy baseball value.

Fantasy Outlook Of Luis Severino With The Mets

Sevy had a disastrous final season with the Yankees in 2023. He had a career-worst K/9, a horrible 1.64 WHIP, and an even more horrible 6.65 ERA. As bad as his 2023 season was, the Mets had no problem giving him a free-agent contract in the hopes that he could bounce back and return to form. You see, Severino has always been a very good pitcher, when healthy. When healthy is, of course, the key phrase here, considering that Sevy only threw 12 innings in 2019, didn’t pitch in 2020, and only threw six innings in 2021. He has had a bevy of injury-plagued seasons, and 2023 was no different. He missed the beginning of the season, and upon his return he was dreadful in every way. Now, if you want to look at some positives, Severino has put together some terrific seasons in his career, including two seasons in which he threw over 190 innings, won a combined 34 games, and had a combined ERA in the low 3.00s. In fact, even as recently as 2022, Severino was solid when he did pitch. He made 19 starts in 2022, throwing 102 innings and posting a 3.18 ERA, a 1.00 WHIP, and a solid 9.9 K/9. With a fresh start in 2024, leaving the best division and one of the worst pitchers’ parks in baseball, I have renewed optimism surrounding Sevy. Since December 1st, he has an ADP in the 340s which is the 22nd round in your 15-team leagues and of absolutely no risk to you at all. His min pick is 211 and his max pick is 364. I wouldn’t touch him at his min pick, there are just too many other pitchers in that range that come with much less risk, however at his ADP or max pick, Severino is an interesting flier who could return SP3 level production if things go your way. He can always just as easily be one of your first cuts in April if/when he hits the IL, with no real harm done at that investment cost.

Craig Kimbrel Fantasy Outlook On The Orioles

Kimbrel has over 400 career saves across 14 seasons with seven different teams. When the 2024 season begins, Kimbrel will begin pitching for his eighth team, and it’s worth noting that he will be closing for the AL East Champion Orioles. Although they may not win the division again this upcoming season, the Orioles should be a 90+ win team and will provide Kimbrel with plenty of save opportunities. Kimbrel does have big shoes to fill in Baltimore, as he will be a one-year replacement for Félix Bautista, who was arguably the best closer in baseball in 2023 before suffering an elbow injury that eventually led to Tommy John Surgery. Kimbrel has an ADP in the 130s right now and he has been picked as high as 63rd overall. He isn’t elite with his ratios, yet in terms of job security and racking up saves, Kimbrel is still one of the best options. With that said, his minimum pick of 63 overall is way too early, and I wouldn’t take him anywhere inside the top 100. At his current ADP, though, he is great value as your team’s first or second closer. Kimbrel has over 20 saves in 12 of his 14 seasons and at least 20 saves in each of the past three seasons. There isn’t any upside to this pick, but there’s something to be said about safety and consistency, especially at one of the most volatile positions in fantasy baseball.

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Yoshinobu Yamamoto Fantasy Outlook With The Dodgers

It is rare that a player of Yamamoto’s talent becomes available in free agency, and even more rare that they become available at such a young age. The Japanese phenom is only 25 years old and has posted a sub 2.00 ERA and sub 1.00 WHIP for three consecutive seasons in the NPB, which is known as the best professional baseball league outside of the United States. He is already being drafted in the top 80 picks of early fantasy drafts, and as the offseason progresses, there’s a good chance that he even moves inside the 60 picks. Joining the Dodgers also adds to his fantasy value; it was the best destination possible in that regard. They are loaded offensively, play in what is considered a pitcher-friendly park, and he should be toward the top of the league in wins. He has always been a big strikeout pitcher, and I expect his strikeout numbers to improve coming to MLB. Strikeout rates in MLB are much higher than they are in the NPB, and a pitcher like Yamamoto who has a full repertoire of pitches in his arsenal will be able to blow hitters away. He isn’t being drafted as a top-10 SP, but with his skill set and his landing spot, he has the potential to end the 2024 season as one.

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