Yankees Luis Severino Getting Another Chance to Prove He Belongs in Rotation


New York Yankees pitcher Luis Severino will make his first start since August 14 in Monday’s series finale against the Toronto Blue Jays.

One of the most divisive issues among New York Yankees fans this season has been whether promising young pitcher Luis Severino’s future lies in the rotation or the bullpen.

The 22-year-old righty has ace potential if he puts it all together, and obviously would be more valuable as a starter, but this year has raised serious doubts about whether he is cut out for that role.

In nine starts this season, Severino has an 8.58 ERA through 43 IP, allowing a .340/.380/.596 (157 OPS+) batting line. He’s been a completely different pitcher as a reliever this year, allowing just one earned run in 23.1 IP (0.39 ERA) and holding opposing hitters to a .105/.209/.158 (5 OPS+!) line.

Until he gains confidence in his changeup, Severino has just two viable pitches, which would make it extremely difficult to have success as a major league starter. He has been solid the first time facing batters in a game this season (100 OPS+), but the second (205 OPS+) and third (168 OPS+) times through the order, he gets absolutely destroyed.

The only reason that Severino is getting the start for the Yankees or is even in the major leagues right now is that the team is running out of warm bodies to take the hill for them.

Chad Green and Nathan Eovaldi have both been shut down for the season, Ivan Nova was traded, and now Masahiro Tanaka is also in danger of being finished because of what Yankees manager Joe Girardi called a “slight, slight, slight” forearm strain.

Even if starting him is clearly a desperation move by New York, Severino seems glad to get another chance to prove himself, telling Dan Martin of the New York Post:

"I’m ready. I’m just going to take it inning-by-inning, like I do in the bullpen…I look at this as a good opportunity. I’m gonna take it and go for it."

It is unlikely that Severino will be able to provide the team with much length since he’s only topped 50 pitches once this month, back on September 7th. Even if he’s successful, fans should expect something resembling a bullpen game.

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It’s probably worth noting that Severino hasn’t had a lot of success against the Blue Jays since cracking the majors last year. He is 0-2  with a 5.71 ERA in four career appearances (three starts) with a troubling 10 walks in 17.1 IP.