Yankees Editorial: Is Luis Severino on a fast track to the Yankees?


Following a 2014 season which saw him pitch across three levels, as high as Double-A Trenton, and finish 6-5 with a 2.47 ERA and 127 strikeouts across 113 IP, Luis Severino earned the label as the New York Yankees top prospect from many.  On Thursday, Severino was promoted to Triple-A Scranton, leading many to speculate, is his promotion to the big leagues soon to follow?

Severino, who pitched in last year’s All-Star Futures Game, drew praises from owner Hal Steinbrenner over the winter, who expects Severino to have an impact in the Bronx this season.  Manager Joe Girardi followed suit, as he said he was very impressed with Severino after seeing him live for the first time in Spring Training.

While many Yankees prospects with high expectations flame out, or are shipped away, Severino was solid for Trenton this season, pitching to a 3-2 record and a 3.32 ERA, while spending time on the disabled list.  Severino has also upped his strikeouts per 9 IP from 10.1 a year ago to 11.4 in 2015.

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The Yankees rotation currently consists of Michael Pineda, CC Sabathia, Nathan Eovaldi, Adam Warren, and Chris Capuano, while Masahiro Tanaka could return at some point next week in Seattle.  While either Capuano or Warren will lose their rotation spot to Tanaka, the other surely will to Ivan Nova at some point this summer.

Although the rotation is currently a little short, it could be filled with depth in a month or two, even with Chase Whitley being lost to Tommy John surgery, as Bryan Mitchell is ready at Triple-A.  Severino still could be needed in 2015, as even with reinforcements on the way, the rotation is still fragile, something predicted by many heading into the season.

Moving Severino up to Triple-A Scranton could signal that the Yankees feel they may need him, and want to know if he can handle tougher competition.  Severino could be in the majors sooner than expected, as the Yankees have shown a willingness to quickly promote pitchers.

In 2007, Phil Hughes, then one of the best prospects across baseball, was promoted after just five Triple-A starts, due to excessive injuries to the rotation.  Ian Kennedy followed after Hughes, working from High-A Tampa all the way to the MLB, making only six starts at Scranton.

Kennedy was called up and debuted on September 1st, when rosters expand to 40 players, making the situation slightly different, but it shows that the Yankees feel pitchers who can dominate Triple-A are ready for the show.

Could we see Severino soon?  Maybe, maybe not, but if he succeeds at Triple-A and the rotation is hit with an injury, the history is definitely on his side.

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