The Yankees just might get pitching help in late 2015 from an upcoming star who has not been mentioned in that role. His cost to the team is not megabucks, but $225,000.
He throws a moving fastball that sits at 94-97 mph and has touched 99 at times. This pitcher also features a change-up that has movement and late fade that is a strikeout pitch. He adds a slider, which is ever-improving.
“That guy really has a great package,” said a scout from National League team. “If all goes well, he’s easily an upper-class starter in the majors.”
The man, of course, is 20-year-old Dominican right-hander Luis Severino, the Yankees’ top prospect and likely better than any other part the team could add for $225,000. He is that good. He is a great kid. He is focused. There is little doubt he will challenging for a spot in the Yankees rotation in either late 2015 or early 2016.
“I m just trying to improve and get better all the time,” said Severino, who made 24 appearances in 2014 – 3-2, 2.79 in 14 starts at Charleston, 1-1, 1.31 in four starts at Tampa and 2-2, 2.52 in six starts at Trenton. “I am confident I can pitch to hitters wherever I am at and get them out.”
The level separating prospects from suspects is Double-A. Severino actually held Eastern League hitters, a few with experience at higher levels to an aggregate batting average of 29 points less – .213 to .242 – than he did at Class-A Charleston. That showed he got better as he went up the ladder in the Yankees system in 2014, a quality always embraced with open arms.
The central is impeccable. Severino had a strikeout/walk ratio of 127-27 in 2014. He makes few mistakes. In 114 innings, he allowed a scant three home runs- two of which were surrendered in the Class-A South Atlantic League. Severino does not get rattled by base-runners, and has shown a penchant for using his excellent change-up as a pitch to freeze batters to get himself out of any jam.
OK, he’s a blue-chip Yankees prospect and one can say this corner is naturally hyping Severino. The answer is just watch the man pitch, watch the easy delivery and the velocity and control, and one easily sees how advanced he is. If not for a slightly sprained oblique muscle causing him to sit for three weeks at Trenton – The Yankees were naturally being careful – his statistics could have been even more impressive.
Indications are Severino will return to Double-A Trenton to start the 2015 season and, if all goes well, quickly move to Triple-A Scranton. He already has shown what he can do against top minor-league hitters, striking out slugging Texas Rangers prospect Joey Gallo in last year’s Futures Game.
“Luis has not only the talent, but the mentality to pitch in the majors, and sooner rather than later,” said 2014 Trenton manager Tony Franklin. “He indeed is special.”
What Franklin was pointing out was neither inside nor outside pressure does not really bother Severino. He is focused on what he has to do, get opposing hitters out. He has the mental stuff to pitch in Yankee Stadium, another attribute. Some observers compare him to Pedro Martinez in pitching style.
If you haven’t seen Severino, you will soon in a Yankees uniform. Before that transpires, he’s worth the price of admission in Trenton, Scranton or any spot the top two Yankees farm teams visit in 2015.
This corner has no issue stating “Seeing Is Believing” with this gentleman.