The Yankees announced on Sunday that Luis Severino, who allowed more than two earned runs in only three of his 11 starts during his rookie season last year, will get the start during the team’s first spring training game on Wednesday at home against the Detroit Tigers. The game will begin at 1:05 p.m. at George M. Steinbrenner Field.
After Severino, Ivan Nova will get the start against the Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday and Bryan Mitchell will be the starter for the Yankees during Friday’s road game against the Tigers. This has nothing to do with the rotation that will begin the season and just has to do with when the various starters are ready to pitch in a game.
Severino threw a live batting practice on Friday, Mitchell threw a bullpen on Saturday and Nova threw live batting practice on Sunday. This is why they are the first three to pitch in games. Severino is slatted to be one of the five starters after his impressive final two months of the season after being called up, and Nova and Mitchell will likely be relievers in the bullpen.
Joe Girardi does not know yet who will start a game after Nova because Michael Pineda is the only one that has thrown a live batting practice so far. Based on the pattern outlined above, this could mean that Pineda will start the fourth spring training game. Girardi did add that Nathan Eovaldi, CC Sabathia and Masahiro Tanaka will throw a live batting practice soon.
“It’s more just determining when exactly we think that they’re ready to go,” Girardi said. “The other guys should start throwing BPs pretty soon, and then that will get them close.”
Severino finished last season with a very impressive 2.89 ERA in his 11 starts. He also had a solid 1.20 ERA with 56 strikeouts, 22 walks and a 2.0 WAR. The 22-year-old from the Dominican Republic recorded a season-high of nine strikeouts against the powerful Blue Jays lineup on August 16 and struck out five or more batters in seven of his 11 starts.
He is an important piece of the rotation because he had a lot of success last season and he is the only one who does not have an injury question mark. The Yankees were basically forced to call him up based Pineda going on the disabled list and Severino’s dominance at Triple-A Scranton. Severino can be favorably compared to Yordano Ventura based on his size and pitch repertoire.
Pineda went on the disabled list on July 30 with a strained flexor muscle in his right forearm. He would return to the rotation on August 26, and he ended up pitching worse after coming off of the DL (he allowed four runs or more in five of eight starts) than he had in the first four months of the season.
He finished the season with a 4.37 ERA, 156 strikeouts and only 21 walks, but he is capable of finishing this season with a much better ERA based on his overpowering stuff and pinpoint control. The highlight of his season was when he struck out a career-high 16 batters in seven innings while not walking anyone in seven innings against the Baltimore Orioles on May 10. Pineda will have to prove this season that he can stay healthy the whole season after spending time on the DL last season and the season before.
According to Brooks Baseball, Severino primarily threw a four-seam fastball (96 mph) and slider (90 mph) while also mixing in an effective changeup (89 mph).
“His fourseam fastball generates a very high amount of groundballs compared to other pitchers’ fourseamers and has well above average velo. His slider is thrown extremely hard and generates a very high amount of groundballs compared to other pitchers’ sliders. His change is thrown extremely hard and has slight armside fade.”
Severino will need to continue utilize his change because he will need to be able to throw his three pitches in any count since other teams will have more of a scouting report on him. If he can come close to duplicating the success he had last season after facing teams for a second and third time he will be a very valuable member of the rotation and he definitely has the stuff to do so.