The New York Yankees have been pelted with injuries to their pitching staff all year long.
They lost Ivan Nova, CC Sabathia, and quite possibly Masahiro Tanaka for the season, and recently placed the surprisingly effective David Phelps on the disabled list due to elbow inflammation – which is never good.
However, for some odd reason no one can explain, New York’s rotation has been the only factor keeping them in the playoff discussion, as the five-man cycle of Chris Capuano, Shane Greene, Hiroki Kuroda, Brandon McCarthy, and Michael Pineda is holding opponents to one-to-three runs a game.
Now, given Greene’s a rookie, Kuroda’s 39-years-old, and Capuano and McCarthy aren’t exactly your bread-and-butter, one would figure this group would eventually break down by this point, right? Quite the opposite. Somehow, someway, these four continue to tame opposing lineups, and backstop a putrid Yanks’ offense.
The only issue is that they don’t serve as long-term solutions. Sure, Greene is definitely in the mix, but Kuroda’s probably looking at retirement, and depending on Nova, Sabathia, and Tanaka’s status for next season, I just don’t see New York bringing back either Capuano or McCarthy.
Especially since New York has this kid by the name of Luis Severino lighting up the minor-leagues.
Severino, 20, who got called-up to the Yanks’ Double-A affiliate, the Trenton Thunder, in early July, just finished an outstanding season between three teams from Single-A to Double-A. In 24 starts, Severino went 6-5 with a 2.46 ERA, he struck out 127, and hitters were batting .220 against him. Not to mention, in Double-A, hitters batted .213 against him in six starts.
The Dominican Republic native isn’t the biggest pitcher (6-foot, 195-pounds), but he possesses exceptional stuff.
Severino has a fastball – obviously – clocked in the mid-90s, an effective change-up that deceives the batter’s timing, and an electric slider for his knockout pitch. He doesn’t lose his composure/focus when he’s in a jam, and what’s great about Severino is he has an solid pickoff move, and a quick delivery from the stretch, which should keep runners honest on the base-paths.
Severino’s accolades provide a glimpse into what the future holds for the Yankees.
Earning a spot in the 2014 MLB Futures Game, which showcases the best talents throughout the minor leagues, Severino’s been acknowledged by many as the Yankees’ top prospect overall within their farm system. He’s been honored as pitcher of the week, and what’s admirable of Severino is that he seems to be rather mature beyond his years when he’s on the mound.
What separates him from most other talented pitching prospects is his command.
At the beginning of the ’14 year, Severino admitted that he didn’t quite have the most refined command he would have liked, but that as the season galloped, he discovered how to direct traffic better, and position his pitches wherever he inclined to land ’em, per Matt Kardos of the Rolling Thunder blog.
And Kardos believes that because Severino is quickly ascending through the Yanks’ farm system, that some view him as making an impact in pinstripes sooner rather than later.
Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean Severino will be pitching for New York in 2015, but as I mentioned earlier about their rotation woes that could drag into next year due to the severity of those injuries, he could prove to the Yankees he belongs with a strong spring training performance.
With the way teams aren’t shying away from promoting their youngsters to the bigs, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see New York give Severino his shot at glory. If the Yankees don’t roster him at the start of the ’15 campaign, you can almost bet he’ll be up with the club at some point during the season.
Severino’s on a fast track to the show, and if he dominates Triple-A – which case, he’ll in all likelihood be pitching there once the season moves along – he could wind up being a September call-up.
All-in-all, this kid’s the future for the Yankees.