New York Yankees

When New York Yankees’ young stud Luis Severino comes off the disabled list, the team may have a problem on their hand. 

By Christian Kouroupakis

Not too long ago, the New York Yankees brought up a rookie that was anticipated to liberate the organization to new heights.

Armed with an alluring stockpile of pitches highlighted by an electric fastball, put away slider, and a top-notch work ethic, Luis Severino was ready to take the New York stage by storm.

Coming into this season, many experts deemed him to be the most talented starter on the Yankees’ rotation while some were ready to call him the ace despite the fact that he only had 62.1 innings on his Major League resume.

In 2015, those innings were effective as he went 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA, only 7.7 H/9 and 8.1 strikeouts per nine innings. To many people surprise, Severino has failed miserably to carry that over into his sophomore season despite the adventure that was foreseen.

The supposed anchor of the pitching staff’s ERA has climbed to an astronomical 7.46 with six home runs along with a H/9 of 12.6. Additionally, Severino his record is 0-6 featuring a 5.46 FIP.

We have heard reports from Bryan Hoch of that he may start tossing this weekend to initiate his attempt back to his team. However, the Yankees have their hands tied in regards to if he should or should not return to his spot in the rotation.

Quick answer: he should not.

SEE ALSO: It’s All About Timing For CC Sabathia

Is it because of the atrocious performances as a second year player in major league baseball? Of course, it is. And not returning to the big league club once he is reinstated from the disabled list means he can work out his kinks at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.

Despite his fastball lighting up the radar gun at 98-MPH, his put-away pitches have been as close to ineffective as you can get. There is simply no chance to be an elite pitcher at this stage with nothing to coincide with a fastball, no matter the velocity

Even if Joe Girardi believes that this is a fixable problem, which he does, it makes no sense to do it in the pros. Why? First off, you can’t keep throwing games away. Secondly, the entire rotation (with the exception of Michael Pineda) has been on fire.

CC Sabathia has proven to the baseball world that he is still capable of performing at this level and the numbers certainly back it up.

When he returned off the disabled list from a groin injury, he pitched six innings of one-run ball and become the eighth player in the modern era to win 100 games or more with two organizations.

On the year, the 16-year veteran has a 3.41 ERA, his lowest since 2012, in six starts and the lefty has become a saving grace of a fifth starter in a rotation that hadn’t expected half of the production he has given.

The man Sabathia beat out for the rotation spot, Ivan Nova, has been more than a splendid surprise for the Bombers.

Last time out against the Oakland Athletics, the righty threw only 62 pitches while allowing one lone run on a mere four hits. He also struck out three without distributing a walk through the sixth inning. The Athletics failed to advance another runner beyond first base.

Masahiro Tanaka is the ace of the staff while Nathan Eovaldi has often looked like he could make a run at that title. The point is the starting rotation that has only surrendered three runs over 18 innings of work is in great shape and is not missing Severino.

Sure, they could use the 2015 version of him and not this new addition to the 22-year old, but there’s only one way to get back to his dominant form it’s to put him on the Scranton Shuttle with a locker at PNC Field.

This has nothing to do with proving himself, as he has done that. In his first 17 starts as a major league pitcher, he has given up three runs or less in 13 of them. It’s factual and proven that he belongs here. The plan in sending him down is to simply work out some mind-boggling kinks.

But what kinks? Exactly what is the cause of this phenoms struggles? Take a look at this graph made by the wonderful folks over at Brooks Baseball:


Isolated power is a measure of a hitter’s raw power and tells you how often a player hits for extra bases, according to Fan Graphs. Of course, the higher portions of the zone will generate the highest isolated power, but what’s alarming is the percentage of pitches that are thrown in the hitter’s sweet spot.

Out of all the pitches that batters have put into play off Severino, a staggering 43% of the pitches were in the middle or upper portion of the zone.

That percentage is the primary cause of the incredible 2.1 home runs per nine innings along with the 1.686 WHIP. Those are career highs even when we include his years in the minor leagues.

What the Yankees must do is have the Electric City fix this issue because getting smacked around in the Bronx does nothing but damage his young confidence.

A demotion wouldn’t mean Severino’s chances at major league stardom, but what it does is offer him the opportunity to correct the mechanical issues that have resulted in his pitches sitting towards the top of the zone.

Don’t forget that it could also rejuvenate the confidence by placing him in a league in which he went 7-0 with a 1.92 ERA and did not let up a single home run.

There has been a surplus of starting pitchers in the highest level of baseball over the course of history that has had this happen and then return even more influential than ever before all from getting things fixed in minor league ball.

Severino might have to be the newest addition to the list of pitchers who have experienced this decline in order for the Yankees to avoid their prized youngster to turn into a bust.

So here’s a message to the New York Yankees: do not give up on Severino, but you must understand that taking a step back could end up creating a large step into the future for Luis Severino.

NEXT: Short Leash On Starters Is Justifiable