Thursday, August 6, 2015

Yankees’ Luis Severino has arrived

The New York Yankees put an “untouchable” sign around the neck of 21-year-old Luis Severino, and Wednesday night fans were treated with glimpses as to why.

Luis Severino
Photo credit: Slgckgc via Flickr
Severino was not perfect in his MLB debut against the Boston Red Sox; he worked around some 3-2 counts and surrendered a mammoth home run to David Ortiz. But, he also buckled down when the count was in the hitter’s favor never allowing a walk, and retired the final six batters he faced after Ortiz’s bomb.

In five innings of work, Severino allowed two runs, one earned, on two hits. He struck out seven Red Sox and walked none. He was handed the tough luck loss, but after the game it seemed anyone who was asked praised the Yankees’ top pitching prospect.

"He was awesome," Wednesday night’s catcher John Ryan Murphy said via "He definitely belongs; that's one of the first things that stands out. He's a competitor. He wants to be the guy in control. ... I think overall, he should be really proud of himself."

We all know Severino has a very solid repertoire – a mid-90’s fastball that he ramped up to 97, a very good changeup and a slider thrown at two different speeds. He was overthrowing the slider at times and bounced those to Murphy. However, he began to get the feel for all of his pitches as the game wore on and worked at a very good pace.

Besides the actual stuff, I was impressed with Severino's complete composure from start to finish, and next his passion which he displayed by pumping his fist and pounding his glove when he completed the fourth and fifth innings with strikeouts. Severino has been brought up to the major leagues in middle of a playoff race, and he didn’t look the least bit concerned.

Severino has been kept mostly underneath the 100-pitch mark for much of the season in an effort to minimize his innings and give him a chance to pitch during the stretch run. With Michael Pineda out until at least the beginning of September, and injury potential among the other starters, Severino could stick in the rotation for the remainder of the regular season.

Whether Severino is an impact player for the Yankees down the stretch depends wholly on whether he can make adjustments when his pitches are not all working. He seemed to be able to do that last night when his slider was giving him trouble. Next, can Severino maneuver through a tougher hitting lineup like the Toronto Blue Jays? Finally, will Severino be able to minimize his pitches per inning in an effort to make it through at least the sixth inning and not add extra labor to an already hard-worked bullpen?

Those are mostly mechanical issues. And sometimes that’s the easy part for players as talented as Severino. What often gives 21-year-old baseball players’ problems is their mental makeup. I see no such issues with Severino.

Severino has high expectations because of his scouting reports, his success in the minors and the “untouchable” tag place on him by the front office. While five innings of work does not write an entire story, Severino’s first start made for a pleasant beginning to a potentially brilliant career.

Christopher Carelli is a freelance baseball writer. Besides his work here, Christopher is a featured Yankees writer for His baseball commentary has also been published on Yahoo Sports and linked multiple times on MLB Trade Rumors’ Baseball Blogs Weigh In. He is a member of the Internet Baseball Writers Association of America, the Baseball Bloggers Alliance and the BYB Hub.