Thursday, August 3, 2017

The Ultimate Roster Decision: Luis Severino v Jordan Montgomery


The New York Yankees have enacted a six-man rotation that comes into fruition this week but according to manager Joe Girardi it will only be here for this turn through the rotation. Tonight the Yankees start Sonny Gray as we learned this morning in our “So it Seems” post and again in the game preview post that just went live a few hours ago while tomorrow Jaime Garcia makes his Yankees debut after coming over in a trade from the Minnesota Twins. Logistically the Yankees could make a six-man rotation work for the remainder of the season if they wanted to but the team seems against it at this point, at least publicly, leaving me to wonder which of the Yankees starters will be bounced from the starting rotation. You have to think that the rotation spots of Masahiro Tanaka and CC Sabathia are safe along with Garcia and Gray’s spots leaving the ultimate roster decision and battle for the Yankees. Who goes to the bullpen to be the long man for Joe Girardi? Is it Luis Severino or is it Jordan Montgomery?

Both pitchers have at least some experience pitching out of the bullpen and both pitchers are on expected innings limits as well so either starter could conceivably head down to the pen. Severino, just 23-years old, is expected to pitch around 200 innings this season if all goes well and is currently at 132.2 innings while Montgomery, 24-years old, is expected to pitch around 170 innings which is just 60 innings away from where he currently sits at 110.2 thus far this season. Using even numbers for simplicity sake and with these two kids averaging six innings per start from here on out that leaves Severino with just 11 starts remaining this season including the playoffs while Montgomery could conceivably only make 10 starts from here on out at this pace. That would likely leave both arms completely unavailable for the postseason, which is not what you want.

So the ultimate decision and position battle comes down to this. Which one heads to the pen and which one remains in the rotation? Honestly with the way Severino has pitched you have to think he remains in the rotation while Montgomery heads to the pen. That’s not to say Montgomery hasn’t pitched well because he has, Montgomery has been extremely solid in his first season as a starter at the MLB level, but Severino has been just flat out dominant. Severino was elected to the All-Star Game this season and not because of some fan vote but because he and his right arm earned it.


I truly doubt, and this is just using Joe Girardi’s past transgressions and decisions as an indicator for the future, the Yankees would use either men as a starter anyway in the postseason to be honest so it’s better to just get what the team can get out of them both now. Severino is the better starter in my opinion and should be used as such until he can’t be used as such any longer this season.

Also, and I only mention this because I saw it mentioned on Twitter, the idea of bouncing both men back and forth between the rotation and bullpen to limit and use both men to their full effectiveness sounds great on paper but it just won’t work. Many pitchers have shown an inability to do this both effectiveness wise and health wise. See Joba Chamberlain. Not everyone is Adam Warren and not everyone’s arm is built to do that. Whether a pitcher is built to do that or not should be found out later on in their careers in my opinion, not when both are 24-years old or younger. That kind of damage is forever and that is not a risk I am personally willing to advise for or take.

What say you? Who wins the ultimate decision battle in your eyes? Who heads to the bullpen and who heads to the starting rotation? Do the Yankees send Montgomery down to keep pitching as a starter since his option for the 2017 season has already been used? Leave them below in the comments sections and/or shoot us a tweet on Twitter by tweeting @GreedyStripes. Thank you and enjoy the rest of your Thursday. Sonny Gray is coming.


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