Saturday, February 28, 2015

Greedy Pinstripes Top 28 Prospects List: Luis Severino

Luis Severino is the Top and best Yankees prospect. Everyone knew it coming in and everyone knows it now. I won't build it up because everyone knows the deal. Congratulations to Severino. 

Here is the write up from Kyle McDaniel on Severino:

Current Level/Age: AA/20.9, 6’0/195, R/R
Signed: IFA at age 17 on December 26, 2011 out of Dominican Republic by NYY for $225,000 bonus
Fastball: 65/70, Slider: 40/50+, Changeup: 50/60, Command: 40/50

Scouting Report: Severino wasn’t a high profile signing, but stood out to me in instructs the fall after his 2012 stint in the Dominican Summer League. He sat 92-94 mph in both outings I saw and threw a solid average slider, but didn’t work in a changeup and his delivery/command needed work. That said, he was a loose athlete and definitely an arm to watch; many big league arms looked like this at age 18. Clips from these two 2012 instructs outings are at the end of the video while the beginning and bulk of the video is from a 2014 instructs outing.

In the two year interim between the video clips, Severino grew from his listed 6’0/195, getting a little taller, stronger and generally more physically mature. In the 2012 video, his mechanics needed work and in 2014 he’s made almost all the necessary adjustments: he was more upright at release with a shorter stride, worse posture at release and this inefficiency led to less explosion, less stuff and less command.Severino Load
Severino was mostly 91-95 mph in 2013 and early in 2014, then got stronger as the year went on, flashing 94-97 mph heat at times later in the year and sustaining it for innings. For about 40 pitches in the 2014 instructs in the video, he sat 94-97, with no fastball below 93 mph. It’s obvious that maturing physically and mechanically in those two years is a positive indicator, but one of the things that stood out to me from the beginning with Severino is how quickly he loads his arm. In the picture to the right, you can see his arm in the loaded position with his foot still a couple frames from hitting the ground.
I’m not a doctor, but the short version is that if that when the front foot plants and the hips are about to explode toward the plate, if the arm isn’t in the right place, the body takes it along for a ride anyway. 

So, if the arm isn’t ready yet, it goes sailing through the throwing motion with lots of stress, which is really bad, both for command and health. Many relievers create arm speed by doing this and that’s part of the reason they get injured so often and typically have bad command.
This sort of thing happens more often with a high effort delivery and Severino’s is pretty easy, though there’s a little stiffness in the finish at times. I don’t usually break down mechanics like this, but throwing 94-97 mph regularly with some command and not cheating via loading the arm late is very rare.  It bodes well for health and usually is seen in pitchers with “pure” velocity and quick-twitchiness and they’re often starting pitchers, like Yordano Ventura and Pedro Martinez. Pedro is an all-timer, but multiple Yankee execs mentioned Ventura as a comparable for Severino, though they were quick to caution to not raise expectations too high. Yankee fans would never do that, though.

Severino took quickly to using a changeup regularly after arriving in America, developing it as a plus pitch in about a year of using it, though it can sometimes play to 55 on certain days, as he’s still developing consistent control of his off-speed offerings. His slider is still a third pitch, but it flashes 55 at times. The concern is that he’s throwing one pitch and, in the 2014 outing in the video, the velocity of it ranged from 82-91 mph, looking like a cutter, slider and a hybrid third pitch between them. He “accidentally” threw a 91 mph pure cutter one time in the outing that was plus, further underlining the arm talent but lack of feel for how to consistently spin the above average breaker that he clearly has in there somewhere.

Summation: Severino should spend 2015 in the upper levels of the minors and be ready for a big league audition either late in 2015 or at some point in 2016; that’ll likely depend on his performance and the needs of the big club. There’s still some markers here that make some scouts say reliever and that may be how he breaks into the big leagues, but the Yankees see starter all the way. Severino’s ability to make adjustments to his delivery and repertoire along with the good health indicators of his delivery suggest he’ll figure out a way to stay in the rotation, with the upside of a #2 starter and realistic outcome of closer or #3 starter. For reference, scouts think there are 8-12 number one starters at any given time (5+ WAR) and maybe 15-20 number two’s (4 WAR); these numbers are a guide rather than a rule.

FV/Role/Risk: 60, #3 starter, Medium (3 on 1-5 scale)
Projected Path: 2015: AA/AAA, 2016: AAA/MLB

1. Luis Severino
2. Aaron Judge
3. Greg Bird
4. Jorge Mateo
5. Robert Refsnyder
6. Gary Sanchez
7. Jacob Lindgren
8. Ian Clarkin
9. John Ryan Murphy
10. Luis Torrens
11. Tyler Austin
12. Bryan Mitchell
13. Miguel Andujar
14. Eric Jagielo
15. Jake Cave
16. Austin DeCarr
17. Tyler Wade
18. Juan DeLeon
19. Dante Bichette Jr.
20. Domingo German
21. Slade Heathcott
22. Nick Rumbelow
23. Jose Ramirez
24. Ramon Flores
25. Gosuke Katoh
26. Chasen Shreve
27. Taylor Dugas

28. Johnny Barbato


  1. I would still put Rumbelow up a few slots higher! But again, it is subjective on anyone under the #10 spot anyhow!

    1. I do like Rumbelow, Nick Goody too (and Corey Black before he was traded) but the reliever only thing keeps him down for me. He is MLB ready though so I guess I should have gone higher with him.


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