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The New York Yankees’ biggest X-factors heading into 2017

Luis Severino

In 2015, when Luis Severino went 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA in 11 starts, his Win Probability Added (+WPA) was 4.95. Last season, when the kid looked like a stud out of the ‘pen (0.39 ERA, 9.6 K/9), his +WPA stood at 1.84.

What does that mean? Simply: if Luis Severino can pan out as a starter and not as a reliever, the Yankees’ likelihood of winning will skyrocket.

Yes, we know. Signs point to how good of a reliever he is.

However, he’s just 22-years old with a fixable issue and are we seriously going to throw this kid in the ‘pen without thinking twice about it?

Thankfully, general manager Brian Cashman and manager Joe Girardi won’t do that and, for their sake, is the right choice as the hunt for Severino’s identity takes center stage.

Either he’ll pick up right where he left off in 2016 and collapse when his fastball isn’t good enough to face major league hitting twice, or he’ll transform into the “future ace” that we all expected last year at this time.

If things don’t workout, the rotation will be even more volatile than it is now but if the latter is accomplished, the Yankees’ rotation could, dare I say, morph into a strength.