New York Yankees right-handed pitcher Luis Severino suited up for the Tampa Tarpons on Sunday afternoon to take his first steps towards a return to the big club.
Aaron Boone was quoted before tonight’s Yankees vs Red Sox game saying he was, “Very encouraged.” He went on to say, ” I have not seen the video yet, but my understanding… he threw the ball really well, the upper 90s with his fastball, went out for a third inning just ’cause his pitch count was so low. And what I’ve seen in his live batting practice sessions leading up to this have been really good. I know he feels really well, so continues to be encouraged and it sounds like today was another positive step.”
I was in attendance of Sunday afternoon’s 2 2/3 inning rehab assignment and Severino’s first appearance in a game since the 2019 ALCS, and I have some observations after watching Sevy pitch.
Severino threw 2 strong innings, but his control started to fade part of the way into the 3rd inning. He indeed did have a low pitch count as Boone had stated. His first-inning alone had 2 Ks, something this level rarely sees. In the first two innings, he whiffed 3 and walked 1 on 26 pitches. In the third, Severino threw 8 pitches and gave up 2 hits, giving up the only run for the Flying Tigers in the game on 8 pitches, a liner shot to left, barely skirting past the shortstop prospect Anthony Volpe.
Severino used 4 pitches from his arsenal on Sunday: a 4-seam fastball, a changeup, a sinker, and a slider. You could tell he has his velocity down with just the first pitch: a 4-seamer clocked at 96.4 MPH. But you didn’t need StatCast just to tell you that if you were in the stands. The pop of Austin Wells’ glove with those fastballs was unlike anything we typically experience in Low-A. Severino’s slider sat around 85-90 and had good movement initially, as did his changeup.
His sinker under-performed, most being called balls and resulting in a walk after throwing 4 consecutive sinkers. This sat around 93-97 MPH but might have had too much movement for the umpires to call consistent strikes. Keep in mind that Low-A Southeast is a test area for the ABS trial. Today’s game was using the umpire’s judgment calls, but they’re supposed to keep it relatively even as if not to notice when the system is being used versus using the umpire’s judgment.
Looking to the third when he looked like he was running out of gas, his fastball velo went from hovering around 97 to around 91. His last pitch, the one that resulted in him getting pulled, was a 90 MPH slider that resulted in the aforementioned RBI line drive. It was apparent in the 2nd that he was starting to get a little tired, and I thought they wouldn’t bring him out for a third as a result, but I think they wanted to see how long he could go.
Looking ahead, I think getting some endurance up is the next thing they’ll work on with Severino. Getting gassed after less than 30 pitches obviously won’t work in The Bronx, so it should be expected to see some more rehab appearances. Given that Severino is recovering from TJ surgery last year, I think he’s making good progress. He went much longer than I was expecting; I was told he was scheduled to go only an inning. Severino is rumored to throw either with Hudson Valley or Somerset in the coming week, most likely around Saturday, but his doctors are down here in Tampa, so it’s possible he may make an away appearance at Clearwater.