With Luis Severino back and performing, the New York Yankees just acquired the ace they failed to snag at the trade deadline.
That disappointment was magnified when the rival Houston Astros went out there and traded for Zack Greinke to help shore up an already dominant rotation compared to the question mark riddled Yankee rotation.
But Cashman was relying on Luis Severino providing help down the road. Instead of making a deal and paying a price no-one would have wanted to pay, Cashman showed patience and bet on his team and medical staff to help ease the talented Severino back into form before a postseason run. Through two starts, Severino is showing why Cashman was right to do just that.
In his two starts from returning from the injured list, Severino has looked like the ace the Yankees knew they would miss at the start of the year. He’s thrown nine dominant innings, evident by his performance against the Blue Jay Sept. 21. In that start, he had a feel for his fastball which averaged 96.5 mph according to Statcast. It was arguably the most dominant he’s looked since the first half of 2018.
The biggest question mark surrounding Severino heading into the postseason is what exactly would his role be? At the time, Domingo German established himself as a reliable starter while the Bombers’ use of an opener has seen a great deal of success in 2019.
With German most likely to miss the remainder of this season as MLB investigates the domestic violence allegations and Severino’s performance Sunday, manager Aaron Boone will have no problem giving Severino the ball to start a game.
While the easy argument against all of the Severino hype, for now, is how his first two starts came against sub .500 teams, you have to look at the body of work and how he was able to induce outs.
In his first start back, Severino could have easily folded in the first inning against the Angels and that inning would have become the beginning of a runaway game for the Angels. He didn’t though. Instead, he found a way to settle down and escaped the inning unscathed despite allowing multiple baserunners.
Sunday vs. Toronto, he controlled the strike zone with his fastball painting the corners in all different quadrants of the strike zone. The hardest ball hit off him actually came off a breaking ball at 101.2 mph, but he was still able to generate swing and misses on that pitch thanks to the fastball command he established early in his outing.
When Severino is right, he is one of the most dominant pitchers in the game as evident by the last two seasons when he won a combined 33 wins easing his way to the title of “ace.” All he’s done so far in his return has been impressive and is opening tons of eyes all around the Yankees.
He’s making the possibility of a James Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka and Severino trio for Games 1-3 of the ALDS look like a possibility. That rotation is something the Yankees could only have hoped for at the beginning of June.
Once again, Cashman took a risk by not acquiring help outside the organization this summer, but so far Severino looks like he could be the biggest post-deadline acquisition of the year.
It looks like Cashman knew what he was doing all along.