Just two months ago Luis Severino was in Triple-A awaiting his MLB Debut. Now he finds himself playing a key role with the New York Yankees.
With recent injuries to key starters Masahiro Tanaka and Nathan Eovaldi, Severino is now functioning as the Yankees number two starting pitcher, a situation no one could have envisioned in August. Tanaka isn’t expected to have an extended stay on the sidelines, but the Japanese native has been one of the Yankees most efficient starters and could miss one or two starts. This means that Severino, only 21-years old, is going to be making key starts in must win situations.
Born in the Dominican Republic, the right-hander quickly moved through the minors over three and a half years and made his Major League debut in early August against the Boston Red Sox. He is widely regarded as one of the Yankees top prospects and during the trade deadline, almost every team involved in discussions with the Yankees wanted him included in any deal. The youngster has impressed in his early Major League career and throws a variety of pitches, topping out in the high 90s with his fastball.
As October nears, the Yankees find themselves in a tough situation. They sit second in the AL East behind the Blue Jays and are only a few games up in the Wild Card race. With only a few series left in the season, every game is a must win for Severino and the Yankees. The Yankees rotation is average, they have a few solid pitchers, but not a single one that is capable of consistently dominating on the level of other aces in Major League Baseball. Masahiro Tanaka is very good, but at times can prove to be inconsistent. The same goes for Michael Pineda and Nathan Eovaldi.
With the Yankees rotation proving to be a big question mark heading into the end of the regular season, Luis Severino could find himself being handed the ball in very important games down the stretch. There is no question that he has the ability, but at such a young age consistency and composure could be an issue for the Dominican. He has a tendency to get behind in counts and work his way back, but this is unfavorable in big situations and could prove to be deadly down the stretch.
In the future, Severino will definitely be a very good starting pitcher and possibly an ace. However, at the moment he is young and often inconsistent. He does show flashes of brilliance but in the playoffs, Severino may struggle to rise to the occasion. For the Yankees to be successful in the last few weeks of the regular season they will need good starts from every member of the rotation. This means that Luis Severino needs to elevate his game to an even greater level. At age 21, this is a lot to ask, but circumstances have forced him into the front of the Yankees rotation at the most important part of the season.
Severino passed an early test against the Toronto Blue Jays last night, throwing 6 innings and giving up 2 earned in the AL East showdown. He showed maturity to get key outs in tough situations against a difficult Blue Jay lineup but did walk three batters.
This was only the first time that Severino will be put in a situation like this, as more challenges await, it is time to see if he can continually rise to the occasion.
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