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Baseball Daily Dose

Excellent: Corbin Burnes Named Opening Day Starter

by Janice Scurio
Updated On: March 30, 2022, 11:19 am ET

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Maybe it was written in the stars; the reigning National League Cy Young award winner will get the ball on Opening Day for the Milwaukee Brewers. Manager Craig Counsell announced to the media on Tuesday that he’s selected none other than Corbin Burnes to take the mound on April 7 at Wrigley Field in Chicago. "It's not as no-brainer as you'd think it would be, actually,” Counsell said as he also considered two-time Opening Day starter Brandon Woodruff.

Burnes, a 7.5 fWAR pitcher, captured not only the Major League ERA crown in 2021, but surrendered only seven home runs, equating to 0.38 home runs per nine innings, also leading both leagues in that category. He finished fifth in all of Major League Baseball with 234 strikeouts, and was the major league strikeout rate leader in 2021, at 35.6%. His cutter is considered to be one of the best in all of baseball, with an average spin rate of 2767 RPM. Burnes also made his first All-Star team in 2021, and threw a combined no-hitter with Josh Hader.

Further proof of Burnes’ worthiness of the Cy Young award showed in his excellent control. Burnes walked 5.2% of the batters he faced last year. The right hander also led the majors in K/BB ratio, calculating out to 6.882. Rounding out Burnes in a mighty starting rotation in 2022 for the Brew Crew is Woodruff, Freddy Peralta, Adrian Houser and Eric Lauer.

Mike Clevinger’s Return to the Mound

Mike Clevinger made his Cactus League debut for the San Diego Padres on Tuesday, a highly anticipated appearance after missing the 2021 season due to recovering from Tommy John elbow reconstructive surgery. Tuesday's outing was Clevinger's first game facing major leaguers since October 6, 2020.

Clevinger’s Spring debut did not exactly go as planned. He was rung up for eight runs on seven hits over 1 2/3 innings against a difficult Giants lineup that made some especially hard contact. The 31-year-old struck out three and walked two in this rather abbreviated outing, including a double by Darin Ruf and home runs by Joc Pederson and Joey Bart.

This performance follows a sharp three-inning minor league outing by Clevinger last Wednesday, where he retired all 10 hitters he faced on 41 pitches including four strikeouts. The right-hander is reported to now be fully healthy; though Tuesday’s debut might have shown some signs of rust, he still remains a viable option for fantasy managers to consider. 

Chris Archer signs with the Twins

The Minnesota Twins were looking to add some last-minute help to their starting rotation; they’ll get some much-needed fortification via the acquisition of two-time All-Star Chris Archer. Archer’s deal is a one-year, $3.5 million contract. The 33-year-old can earn up to $9.5 million in performance bonuses based on games started or outings with nine or more outs, according to Jeff Passan of ESPN. 

Archer made five starts and one relief appearance for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2021, posting a 4.66 ERA in 19 1/3 innings. He was sidelined for the majority of the season with tightness in his right forearm, but is reported to now be healthy and in great shape.

The veteran righty is known for his wipeout slider, and has a career 3.87 ERA with 1,370 strikeouts in 1,254 1/3 innings pitched. He finished third for Rookie of the Year in 2013, and fifth for the Cy Young award in 2015. The Twins were looking for a pitcher that is “ready now,” and liked the metrics they saw in a recent 60-pitch bullpen session thrown by Archer. 

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American League Quick Hits:

Kevin Kiermaier (groin) said Tuesday that he's resumed swinging and believes he'll be ready in time for Opening Day. … Rays manager Kevin Cash said Tuesday that Shane McClanahan will be the team's Opening Day starter. … Michael Taylor (hip) was scratched from the Royals' Cactus League lineup on Tuesday. … Astros manager Dusty Baker said Tuesday that Justin Verlander is "probably not" the team's Opening Day starter. … Astros OF Jake Meyers (shoulder) is "ahead of schedule" in his rehabilitation process. … White Sox acquired OF Adam Haseley from the Phillies for RHP McKinley Moore. … Red Sox manager Alex Cora said Tuesday that Trevor Story will make his Grapefruit League debut on Wednesday against the Braves. … Chris Sale (ribs) said Tuesday that he's feeling "much better" and plans to resume throwing next week. … Hansel Robles has not reported to Red Sox' camp yet due to ongoing visa issues. … Rangers manager Chris Woodward said Tuesday that Jon Gray will be the team's Opening Day starter. … Angels SP Noah Syndergaard will not have a specific innings limit this season. … AJ Ramos (shoulder) will likely miss the entire 2022 season after being diagnosed with a torn capsule in his right shoulder. … Luis Severino has been scratched from a scheduled Grapefruit League start on Wednesday due to general arm soreness. … Ryan O'Hearn was removed from a Cactus League game on Tuesday due to a mild left groin injury.
 

National League Quick Hits:

Will Harris said Monday that he's experiencing lingering issues from last June's surgery for thoracic outlet syndrome. … Marlins acquired OF Norel González from the Astros for cash considerations. … C.J. Cron (head) is back in the Rockies' starting lineup for Tuesday's Cactus League contest against the Angels. … Ke'Bryan Hayes is day-to-day with a sprained right ankle. … Diamondbacks signed 2B/OF Ketel Marte to a five-year, $76 million contract extension with a team option for the 2028 season. … LaMonte Wade has been diagnosed with left knee inflammation and bone bruising after undergoing an MRI on Monday. … Reds manager David Bell confirmed Tuesday that Lucas Sims (elbow) will open the regular season on the 10-day injured list. … James McCann (back) is in the Mets' starting lineup for Tuesday's Grapefruit League nightcap against the Marlins. … Phillies RP José Alvarado (neck) has resumed playing catch. … Giants manager Gabe Kapler told reporters Tuesday that he expects Brandon Belt (knee) to be ready "as of now" for Opening Day. … Marlins manager Don Mattingly said Tuesday that Jesús Sánchez is dealing with "a little soreness". ... Reds 3B Donovan Solano has been diagnosed with a left hamstring injury…Zac Gallen (shoulder) is set to make his Cactus League debut Wednesday against the Rockies. … Phil Bickford (arm) will not be ready for Opening Day, per Dodgers manager Dave Roberts.Mike Yastrzemski made an early exit from a Cactus League game on Tuesday due to right quad tightness. … Evan Longoria underwent surgery Tuesday to repair a ligament in his right index finger. … Dodgers RP Tommy Kahnle (elbow) said he's targeting late April or early May for his return to MLB action.

Janice Scurio

Janice Scurio (@scuriiosa) is a writer that has appeared on various baseball podcasts and blogs about the White Sox over at South Side Sox.