Luis Severino has been tearing it up at Triple-A Scranton, raising questions as to why the New York Yankees have not recalled him.
When Luis Severino was activated from the disabled list earlier in the year only to be demoted, the New York Yankees envisioned an opportunity for a young and promising arm to sort out issues with development. They wanted to see more than sheer results in Triple-A given the abrupt nature of his big league struggles early in 2016.
Brian Cashman, Hal Steinbrenner, and player development personnel were simply in search of overall finesse that could imply major league readiness once and for all.
Following a brilliant finish to 2015 which featured a 5-3 record and a 2.89 ERA in the bigs, expectations were inflated. The starting rotation was largely dependent upon a 22-year-old who had barely been through the league one time.
The overall outcome of the expectations are now evident. A dreadful seven start stretch that featured a 7.46 ERA combined with an 0-6 record found him right back where he was in the middle of last year.
With that said, the right-hander took it in stride. His 5-0 record with a stellar 3.07 ERA over seven starts goes to show that he does not belong there.
So, what’s the catch?
A guy who was the top pitching prospect in the entire organization last year has shown numerous varying signs in his young career. Flashes of brilliance in the majors have been combined with pure disappointment. However, outright dominance of any minor league level continues to raise eyebrows.
Does that make him your typical “Quadruple-A” arm? Someone who conquers the minors yet cannot seem to take that next step?
Perhaps, but the Yankees cannot afford for that to be true. That is the exact reason why they have pushed the reset button on his development.
Within the past two to three years, far too many opportunities have come about to ship him to other organizations in exchange for some major, big-league-proven value. The reluctancy to part with a potential sensation and piece to the future results in a commitment to his excellence.
Remember, the kid is 22 years old. Time is on New York’s side in this instance. Among other things that are not, this certainly is.
With team control on Severino until 2022, the current scenario can definitely be viewed as a project, and a flexible one at that.
If the current major league rotation goes into complete disarray, the youngster is there to provide a potential spark. On the other hand, stability would imply increased work on his command and secondary pitches which the Yankees ultimately wanted to see.
Minor league results are minor league results. They cannot be overdriven by any stretch of the imagination. If Severino is mowing down hitters currently not capable of making a major league club, that is great for his personal confidence. From an organizational standpoint, further steps have to be taken.
As many know yet few truly understand, there is a broad difference between command and control. The Yankees want to see Luis Severino command the strike zone as he did in 2015 rather than merely controlling it.
In the early phases of this season there were no issues with regards to control. However, extremely few ‘quality’ strikes were delivered. The offerings ended up in the strike zone at a consistent rate, but they were leaked in spots where opposing batters could rake.
The pinpoint spotting of an upper 90s fastball along with the ability to absolutely bury his breaking pitches is what management needs to see before they can give the go-ahead to the front office. Those two factors put together provides for command of the zone, or an idea of how to get around potent threats in the batters box.
Until they can confidently say that about Severino, there is absolutely no rush. If there was one, his current numbers in Scranton would have earned him a call.
He is too massive a piece to a much larger puzzle which outweighs what 2016 currently is. Full development and maturity can result in an anchor to the rotation for years to come.
This project is too imperative to make a turn for the worse. So for those who want to see a premature call back to the Bronx, take a step back and realize the situation the Yanks are in.
They are an average ball club with a bright future if, and only if, they play their cards right. That is not something Brian Cashman, or anyone for that matter, wants to play around with.