Luis Severino’s Major Sophomore Slump

The New York Yankees haven’t gotten off to a very good start. They are 9-17 and currently sit in last place in the AL East. One of the major reasons for the team’s early struggles has been their starting pitching. Among the Yankees five starters, Luis Severino has had it the roughest thus far.

The 22-year old right hander has been less than impressive over the course of his five starts in 2016. For a guy that many thought would be one of the best pitchers on the Yankees this season, his lackluster performance has been a huge surprise. In fact, he has underperformed so much so that sending him down to the minor leagues isn’t really out of the question.

In his five starts, Severino is 0-4 with an ERA of 6.31. He has failed to pitch beyond the sixth inning in any of those starts. His best game of the season came back on April 21 against the Oakland Athletics. That day, he allowed just two earned runs on seven hits and collected four strikeouts. That’s the Luis Severino Yankee fans are accustomed to seeing. Unfortunately for them, that’s the only time this year he’s really looked like himself.

On Tuesday night, Severino started for the Yankees on the road against the Baltimore Orioles. There was a lot of pressure on him going into the game. The Yankees were coming off a weekend in which they were swept by the Boston Red Sox, extending their losing streak to five games. The team was hoping that Severino could help stop the bleeding. He was not able to however, as the Yankees fell to the Orioles 4-1. Severino did not pitch terribly, but he didn’t pitch great either. He allowed four runs, three of them earned, on five hits over six innings of work. His strikeout numbers continued to be less than impressive, as he was only able to strikeout four Orioles. Severino allowed two home runs in the game, both hit by Mark Trumbo.

Home runs haven’t exactly been the problem for Severino. He had only allowed two for the season going into Tuesday night’s game. Walks haven’t been an issue either, as he’s only walked five batters this year. The major problem for him has been strikeouts. Severino only has 16 strikeouts in his five starts. That’s an average of a little more than three strikeouts per game. Power pitchers like him need to strikeout a lot of batters in order to really be effective. That’s part of the reason he had so much success last season after being called up in August. Severino made 11 starts in 2015, going 5-3 while posting an ERA of 2.89. In 62.1 innings pitched, he recorded 56 strikeouts.

His impressive performance in 2015 is exactly the reason why so many Yankee fans are so disappointed in how poorly he’s pitched in 2016. They know that Severino has a lot of potential. He showed how good he can be last season. Unfortunately for them, he’s yet to show that promise this year. There’s still plenty of time for him to turn it around. If he doesn’t however, a trip back to Triple-A might be in his future.

Time To Shine: Luis Severino To Make Debut For Yankees

One of the hottest names tossed around at the MLB Trade Deadline was of a prospect who was deemed “untouchable” by the New York Yankees front office. Luis Severino is that player and tonight he takes the mound in his major league debut as the Yankees take on the Boston Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. It is the most anticipated debut since the call ups of Jesus Montero, Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes in years past.

The excitement around the debut of Severino is certainly justified. Severino was electric in the minors, going 9-2 with a 2.45 E.R.A. in almost 100 innings between Class AA and Class AAA and has performed better as he ascended up the ranks of the minor leagues.

“My staff and I all sat down numerous times this winter and again in spring training and mapped out this scenario, and he performed up to his capabilities. We felt he would pitch for us come August at some point and here we are,” general manager Brian Cashman said before Tuesday night’s game. “Now it’s, ‘Let’s see what we got.

We’re not adding any extra pressure,” said Cashman. “Listen, it’s his major league debut. He wants to do well. If I traded for one of these big-name starters coming in, they’d feel pressure too. Just plug in and play. We’ll see what we get.”

“He’s an incredible talent. He’s got a great arm, has an idea of what he’s trying to do,” said catcher Brian McCann. “And he has three plus pitches.”

Reliever Nick Rumbelow, who pitched with Severino when they were both in the minors, spoke of a game with Single-A Charleston last year.

“There were a couple errors behind him,” Rumbelow said. “And the way he responded was ‘Just make the next pitch.’ That jumped out at me, his maturity level. Where other guys may have wavered off, he stayed focused and got the job done.

“Ultimate competitor. The guy’s got unbelievable stuff. He’s 21. You don’t see that when he pitches. You see a mature guy.”

And the Yankees are expecting big things for Severino. Cashman made it clear that Severino will stay in the rotation for the foreseeable future and the Yanks certainly need him. With injuries limiting Michael Pineda, the abysmal performance of CC Sabathia and with Masahiro Tanaka not where he was last season from a performance standpoint, New York will need someone to step up in the rotation as they journey down the stretch run.

“The thing I would tell him is he understands himself better than anyone else so go be yourself,” Yankees’ manager Joe Girardi said. “Don’t necessarily say, ‘Well, he’s a big league catcher and he’s been here for 11 years or whatever.’ If you’re not comfortable throwing that pitch, don’t throw that pitch. Just give us everything you got for as long as you can. We’ll take it.”

Severino gets the benefit of debuting in Yankee Stadium which will be pumped up due to the anticipation of his debut and he faces a Boston Red Sox team that is at the bottom of the division (14 games back) and posting the worst record in the American League at 47-60.

The stars have aligned for Severino, now it’s time for this exciting prospect what he has.

 

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How The Yankees Won By Losing At The Trade Deadline

The MLB Trade Deadline kept the baseball world glued to social media and sports news shows all week. Fans flooded blogs, rumor mills and tracked media personalities on social media for the up-to-the-minute news & speculation on what their favorite teams were doing to power up for a stretch run.

If you were one of those fans, particularly a fan of the New York Yankees, then you were certainly aware of the dozens of trade rumors linking the Bronx Bombers to players such as Cole Hamels, David Price, Craig Kimbrel, Aroldis Chapman and a slew of others.

And with every rumor followed a consistent eventuality: The Yankees balked at giving up Luis Severino, Aaron Judge, Greg Bird and/or Jorge Mateo. Although Mateo was made available in a late push to close a deal with the San Diego Padres for Kimbrel, Mateo was consistently unavailable to teams looking for one of New York’s prized prospects in return via trade.

As the deadline passed Yankee fans were met with the disappointment that their team was not able to land any starting pitchers to provide a much needed band aid on a fractured rotation.

Mashairo Tanaka has been anything but an ace, CC Sabathia has been nothing better than an albatross and Michael Pineda has been inconsistent and now, injured again. On the surface it seemed that the Yankees could not afford to stay put. Even if it meant purging their rich farm system that took years to build back up, the general thinking was that the Yankees had to do something, anything, to “win” at the trade deadline.

But here we are, almost 24 hours after the Trade Deadline and the Yankees indeed stayed put. Despite the impressive flurry of moves made by the Toronto Blue Jays, New York remains in 1st place of the AL East, won their 1st game after the Trade Deadline passed and still have a comfortable lead over Toronto in the division.

The one move that the Yankees did make was calling up Luis Severino, who was ‘untouchable’ in trade talks.

Severino, who last pitched for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Wednesday, was 7-0 with a 1.91 ERA while at Triple A. In 19 starts (totaling 99 ¹/₃ innings), the 21-year-old was 9-2 with a 2.45 ERA, giving up 72 hits while striking out 98 batters, walking 27. Baseball America ranked him as the 17th best prospect in baseball a few weeks back and noted that his “stuff matches up against almost anyone in the minors.

Severino could be the ace the Yankees expected Masahiro Tanaka to be and paid CC Sabatahia to remain. He also could be a dud.

But if the Yankees believe this much in not only Severino but all of their 4 top prospects than shipping them off in a trade for a quick fix down the stretch wasn’t the right move.

It’s clear the Yankees didn’t feel the pressure of making the playoffs for the 1st time in 2012 and it’s clear that they didn’t want to deplete a rich farm system, as they did in years past, for aged talent and quick fixes.

The Yankees may have lost at the Trade Deadline. Sure, they failed to grab the headlines, trend on Twitter and dominate the segments on MLB Network, but they won by investing in their future and having faith in their system.

They believed in their standing division lead and their chances now.

And while it may not be enough to appease Yankee fans now and perhaps it may cost them in the end, but if the Yankees are forging a path towards a culture of leaning more on the concept of building from within, then New York is in the position to do so.

Let the teams like the Rangers and Blue Jays win the Trade Deadline, New York believes it’s in prime position to win the AL East.