Yankees Editorial: Can Luis Severino Contribute to the Yankees in 2015?


If the New York Yankees plan on contending in 2015, they will need significant bounce-back seasons from their impact players like CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira, and Carlos Beltran, something general manager Brian Cashman had no trouble admitting on Friday.

But contending and competing are two different things. If the Yankees want to get back to the top of the AL East and compete for a playoff spot on a consistent basis, it won’t necessarily be up to Sabathia, Teixeira or Beltran. Instead, their future success likely hinges on players who fans may hardly know at the moment, but who will be in major league spring training for the first time this season.

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And one name in particular is right-hander Luis Severino, who has re-vamped the Yankees farm system and became one of their top prospects.

In an interview with the New York Post, Yankees minor league pitching coordinator Gil Paterson said “He’s [Servino] made a lot of progress. It’s hard to believe he isn’t even 21 yet.”

Interestingly enough, Servino will turn 21 on the same day pitchers and catchers will report to Spring Training in Tampa, Florida.

In 2015, just his third season as a minor leaguer, Severino jumped from Single-A Charleston to Double-A Trenton. In just six starts with the Trenton Thunder, he went 2-2 with an impressive 2.52 ERA while striking out 29 in 25 innings pitched.

“His fastball has a lot of life and hits 95-plus,” Patterson said. “He’s got a slider and a changeup. And he’s mature. He’s everything you’d want in a young, developing pitcher.”

That sure sounds appealing, but there’s always a cause for concern considering the scouting reports for past top Yankees pitching prospects Manny Banuelos and Dellin Betances read the same exact thing.

Banuelos dealt with injuries in his pitching arm and never developed into the pitcher the Yankees had hoped for before being traded to the Braves earlier this off-season for David Carpenter and Chasen Shreve.

Betances on the other hand suffered similar injuries, but was able to bounce back and pitch at an all-star caliber level out of the Yankees bullpen in 2015. He’ll start the season as the Yankees’ likely closer thanks to his sudden emergence last year and David Robertson’s free-agent departure to the Chicago White Sox.

“Servino hasn’t really faced any adversity yet,” Patterson said. “We’ll see what happens when he does.”

The Yankees project Severino as a starter, even though he is listed at just 6 feet, 195 pounds. “That’s such a precious commodity in baseball these days,” Patterson said. “And Pedro Martinez wasn’t any bigger and he showed what a hard-throwing right-hander can do without a lot of size.”

In addition to his lively fastball, Severino has a major league ready slider and a developing change-up that figures to get him to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for the start of the season and maybe even the Bronx shortly after that.

“I hope he gets to the point where he’s not knocking on the door,” Patterson said. “I hope he’s breaking it down.”

What do you think Yankee fans? Would you like to see Severino contributing to the Yankees in 2015? Let us know in the comments below.

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