What can the New York Yankees expect from Luis Severino in 2020?

New York Yankees, Luis Severino

Luis Severino had a 2019 to forget as he missed most of the season recovering from a shoulder injury and a subsequent lat strain.  His absence was sorely missed throughout the season as the New York Yankees lacked starting pitching of his caliber. Nevertheless, he returned in September to pitch 12 innings with only 2 earned runs and locked up a spot on the playoff roster.

The 2020 season will prove to be a different look for the Yankees and Severino himself.  On Dec 10th, 2019, the New York Yankees signed Gerrit Cole to be the new anchor of their rotation. As for Severino, he will most likely come into spring training looking to lock up the number two spot in the rotation. This shift in the rotation could actually help Severino in various aspects of his game.

Gerrit Cole is a student of the game, always looking to improve every aspect of his abilities.  Not only can he be a helpful mentor for Severino, but the two could also become a dynamic part of a Yankee postseason run.  The two pitchers have very similar repertoires that they use to get hitters out. Both Cole and Severino utilize a high 90’s fastball while mixing in breaking pitches and offspeed.  But if you break it down further, you’ll notice more similarities. According to Fangraphs, last season Cole utilized that fastball 54 percent of the time while throwing his slider 23 percent of the time.  In the limited action Severino had last season, he threw his fastball just over 56 percent of the time while throwing his slider right around 27 percent of the time. Each of the past 3 seasons, Gerrit Cole has thrown his fastball less and less while utilizing his breaking pitches and offspeed stuff more.  This shift in pitch usage lines up perfectly with how the Yankees utilize their pitchers. Prior to the 2019 season, Severino was also on the same trajectory of throwing fewer fastballs and more breaking and offspeed pitches. Given Cole’s success on this path given similar arsenals, it’s fair to say that Severino can also be due for an ace caliber season.

Severino could also benefit from being shifted down a spot in the rotation.  It’s easy to forget he’s still only 25 years old and has been a big piece of their rotation for just a couple of years now.  Having to burden the load as the New York Yankees Ace for the last couple seasons is a difficult burden to bear, especially as he still seems to be on the cusp of unlocking his own potential.  This shift down could help alleviate the stress and the burden from him while he continues his own development.

As big of a loss as Severino was this past season, there’s more reason to expect that he comes back even better.  Studies showing the effects of increasing pitch counts in young pitchers more than a certain percentage to where it causes regression in the following year.  MLB managers pay close attention to a young pitcher’s innings to make sure they aren’t overworked coming from the minor leagues. Prior to the 2017 season when the Yankees had Severino come into the season to compete for a starting job, his previous career-high in innings was the only 77IP.  Baseball-reference has the 2017 and 2018 seasons seeing him throwing 193.1 and 191.1IP respectively. That’s a 150 percent increase in just one season! Severino very well could have been hit with some major regression or at least some sort of pitching fatigue. This could also have helped him develop the aforementioned shoulder injury and subsequent lat strain.  If anything, the time off rehabbing and getting back into game shape could be just what he needed to get back to being fully healthy and come into spring training fresh and ready to go.

This upcoming 2020 season has the potential to be a major step forward in development for Luis Severino as he looks to fulfill his potential as a perennial Cy Young contender and Co-Ace of the Yankees rotation now and for the future.

Yankees News/Rumors: Yankee Pressure Points, Yankees & Red Sox team up, and Ex-Yankee fights for life

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

A daily look at New York Yankees News and Rumors of interest to Yankee fans

Yankee Pressure Points:

As the Yankees prepare for spring training just two weeks away, some players will be under more pressure to perform than others. Everything seems to be in place for a record season, which highlights the need to perform to fans’ expectations.

Gerrit Cole: The Yankees paid $324MM for arguably the best pitcher in baseball.  Fans will except no less than as fast start to show his worth and a 20 win season with an ERA well under 3.  Giancarlo Stanton:  Stanton, drastically needs to improve his reputation with Yankee fans.  The $26MM a year 2017 NL MVP has never shown that type of stuff for the Yankees — 2019 was a disaster for him, playing in only  18 games, further irritating fans, many of which were wondering if he was going to be another Jacoby Ellsbury.

Stanton needs to stay healthy and show the long ball he is noted for, to get into the good graces of the Yankee faithful.   Training Staff:  The entire health and training staff will be under the microscope to prevent a re-occurrence of last year’s pandemic-like injury list.  Lastly, new pitching coach Matt Blake and catcher Gary Sanchez will be watched closely and will be expected to make a difference.

Possibly the most pressure will be on Yankee Manager Aaron Boone, who has pretty much performed beyond expectations with 100 and 103 game-winning seasons in his first two years as a manager and doing it under some pretty tricky situations.  This year he has a dream season set up for him; all players at this point are returning healthy (except Aaron Hicks) and a new superstar front line starting pitcher in Gerrit Cole to lead the pitching rotation.  Without a win in the Fall classic in a decade, nothing short of a World Championship will be accepted by Yankee fans.

Yankees, Red Sox team up to honor John Altobelli:

Sometimes life brings rivals together for a common purpose.  The Boston Globe has reported that the Yankees and Red Sox have teamed up to honor Orange Coast College head baseball coach John Altobelli, who was killed in the Helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianne and seven others.  Among the others were Altobelii’s wife and daughter.  The Globe article stated:

“Red Sox scout Ray Fagnant and Yankees scout Matt Hyde work together every year to put on a showcase game at Fenway Park for amateur players. This year’s game will be dedicated to the late John Altobelli, one of the victims of the helicopter accident that also claimed the life of Kobe Bryant. Altobelli coached 27 seasons at Orange Coast College in California and had a three-year run with the Brewster Whitecaps of the Cape Cod League. His son, J.J., is an amateur scout with the Red Sox.”

The Yankees have a further connection to Coach Altobelli. He was Aaron Judge’s coach when Judge played for the Brewster Whitecaps in the Cape Cod Summer League.

Ex-Yankee fighting for his life:

Ex-Yankee shortstop Tony Fernandez is fighting for his life, according to the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame. Fernandez was elected to the Canadian Hall of Fame in 2008.  Fernandez has a severe infection that has him hospitalized in critical condition.  He was a Gold Glover, All-Star and MVP candidate in his twelve-year career with the Blue Jays.  Fernandez played for the Yankees in 1995.  His friend, fellow teammate, and Yankee player Jessie Barfield shared some details on Fernandez’s struggle.  He is on an ECMO machine to help pump blood to his organs.  Doctors have not been able to find the cause of the infection.  They found a blood clot in his leg and operated to remove the blockage.  The operation was successful.  Tony is suffering from a deteriorating kidney.  The family is hopeful.

New York Jets: 3 Potential Replacements for Le’veon Bell

New York Jets, LeVeon Bell

Le’veon Bell and the New York Jets are expected to part ways at some point in the offseason which will leave the Jets with another massive hole to fill on offense. Le’veon Bell is the only running back on the Jets that is under contract for the 2020 regular season. Bell was misused the entire season and set career lows in yards per game and yards per attempt. Here are the three best options for the Jets to fill their need at running back this season.

Jonathan Taylor

Jonathan Taylor would be the perfect fit for the New York Jets assuming they resign Bilal Powell. Taylor’s downhill running style would be a perfect complement to Powell’s receiving ability and would open up the playbook for the Jets. Taylor comes from the University of Wisconsin which relies heavily on their run game, so he is no stranger to zone and gap blocking schemes which essentially makes him scheme proof. Taylor style is very reminiscent of Chris Ivory and he could provide an identity to an offense that has none.

Melvin Gordon

This one is kind of a long shot but if Melvin Gordon is available, he is worth looking at. Melvin Gordon is a proven running back and is only 26 years old. Gordon is a versatile back that can do everything you ask him to do. Although it wouldn’t make sense to replace Le’veon Bell with a running back like Bell it is the Jets and they’re not really known to make the smartest moves. The chances of Gordon landing in New York are even slimmer with the fact that he wants to be among the highest paid backs in the league. If somehow Gordon’s market isn’t high enough expect the Jets to be players.

Travis Etienne

Heading into the 2019 college football season Travis Etienne was regarded as the top running back of the class, as the season drifted on focus shifted more towards D’andre Swift. Travis Etienne is a game changing back who is extremely explosive and elusive his ability to accelerate quickly makes him such a dangerous weapon in the backfield. Etienne is an underrated pass blocker as well and can do it all he is comparable to Bilal Powell.

New York Mets rumors: Mahomes deep bonds with the team; DeGrom, Adams and more!

Simeon Woods-Richardson

The New York Mets news and rumors are here! Football is over, so we can, finally, focus on baseball!

Pat Mahomes, besides winning the whole thing for the Kansas City Chiefs, was a representative of baseball and the New York Mets. He grew up close to both sports, as his father was a major league pitcher and his best years were in Queens.

Here are the rest of the New York Mets’ links!

Amazin’ Avenue: The Kansas City Chiefs won the Super Bowl, defeating the San Francisco 49ers 31-20. Patrick Mahomes, the winning team’s quarterback, was the MVP of the game with 286 passing yards, two passing touchdowns, a couple of interceptions, and one rushing score.

Mahomes is closely related to the New York Mets. His dad, Pat Mahomes, pitched for the team and was a key cog in the 1999 and 2000 bullpen. Earlier in the season, the young Mahomes showed up at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City wearing his father’s No. 23 Mets jersey.

SNY quoted Bobby Valentine, former Mets manager as praising the elder Mahomes. “Pat Mahomes was honestly one of the best guys I ever managed. He was a pitcher, but also one of the best athletes I ever had. He could hit and run the bases, so much so I considered occasionally using him in the outfield.”

Pat Mahomes the pitcher spent most of his career in the bullpen. The 1999 season was his best: he went 8-0 with a 3.68 ERA.

Jacob Resnick: The Associated Press (AP) reported over the weekend some details of Matt Adams’ deal with the Mets. He will make $1.25 million is he is added to the MLB roster at some point.

Adams, 31, could also earn more. He can make an additional $1.5 million in performance bonuses — $250,000 each for every 50 plate appearances from 250 to 500.

He has a good shot of making the Opening Day roster, although playing time is another matter.

MLB.com: Now that football season is over, baseball time is coming! Pitchers and catchers will report to spring training in just a few days. Will Leitch ranked all 30 opening day starters, and the Mets’ one finished very, very high in the list.

Only the Yankees’ Gerrit Cole ranked higher than deGrom. Leitch had this to say about the Mets’ ace: “Can you believe last year was the first time he’d ever started Opening Day for the Mets?” That, indeed, seems hard to believe.

New York Yankees: Taking a look at the 2020 projected rotation

New York Yankees, Luis Severino

Despite the successes last season, it’s no question that the New York Yankees lacked consistent quality starting pitching. This offseason Brian Cashman and the Yankee front office went to work and brought in the best pitcher in baseball, Gerrit Cole. This addition immediately boosted the New York Yankees’ rotation to be one of their strengths, especially having a healthy Luis Severino too.

The projected rotation for the 2020 season is:

  1. Gerrit Cole
  2. Luis Severino
  3. Masahiro Tanaka
  4. James Paxton
  5. J.A. Happ

These are definitely the five that will be in the rotation to start the season, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they get switched around. I could see James Paxton being the number three and switching spots with Tanaka,  but besides that, I think this is we’re going to see this season.

There’s concern about J.A. Happ since he had one of the worst ERAs among starting pitchers last season and had trouble keeping the ball in the park. However, Happ is a veteran and has shown he can get outs in big games throughout his career. Even if Happ doesn’t have a good year again and struggles, help is on the way. Domingo German will be returning about a quarter of the way into the season and Jordan Montgomery could always slide into the fifth spot if needed.

The big three of the rotation are Gerrit Cole, Luis Severino, and James Paxton. Cole obviously had one of the best seasons ever recorded by a pitcher and James Paxton was lights out in the second half of the season. Luis Severino was electric during 2017 and still had a great year during 2018 despite some struggles in the second half of the year.

What are the Final Moves the New York Mets Can Make?

The New York Mets and general manager Brodie Van Wagenen kept themselves busy throughout the offseason. They brought in two different managers, signed a few pitchers, and avoided arbitration with all nine of their eligible players. Spring Training is just about a week away, and the roster seems complete. These small additions can make enough of an impact to get the Mets over the hump.

Russell Martin is no longer the All-Star quality catcher he once was but is still a very serviceable backup. He is heading into his age-37 season, and while his best hitting days are far behind him, he is an excellent defensive catcher. If the Mets can bring in Martin on a minor league deal for Spring Training, it would be a low risk, high reward move. The catching core behind Wilson Ramos is Tomas Nido, Rene Rivera, and unproven prospects. If Ramos were to miss an extended period, Martin would be a good fit for the Mets.

Pat Neshek

Injuries have limited the veteran Pat Neshek during the last two seasons, and at 39-years old, there is no guarantee his body holds up again. Much like Martin, he would be a low-risk move who has a 2.82 career ERA. With the flame throwers the Mets have in the bullpen already, Neshek would round out the bullpen with a strong arm if he stays healthy.

Danny Salazar is a huge wild card the Mets can afford to take a risk on. Another minor league deal with an invite to Spring Training would allow the Mets to find out what they have in Salazar. Before injuries derailed his career, he was an All-Star in 2016. Salazar would be good insurance to have as a starter, but he looks more like a reliever at this point in his career. He can focus more on getting through one inning instead of 100 pitches. Salazar’s strikeout numbers already slotted well for a reliever, and he could add an extra strikeout artist to the bullpen.

New York Rangers Scouts Spotted at Calgary-Edmonton Game: Who are the Targets?

New York Rangers, Chris Kreider

Reports out of Calgary Saturday night stated the there would be no less than three scouts attending the Flames-Oilers matchup famously dubbed “The Battle of Alberta.” Who wouldn’t want to see that matchup after those fireworks that have occurred in previous matchups? They were not disappointed, getting to witness the rare sight of goaltenders exchanging fisticuffs but the scouts were there for a reason. Both teams are in need of a top-six forward, and the Ranger’s Chris Kreider fits that description.

Who could the Flames offer to the New York Rangers

Calgary has a couple of players who have been mentioned as possible trade targets. Sam Bennett has been one of the players mentioned and while his scoring had dropped a bit this year, he does offer some other skills the Rangers could be interested in. The report on him is that he can be a difference-maker with his aggression, forechecking capabilities and on occasion,  flashes of offensive creativity. The other name surfacing is Mark Jankowski, who has been described as a smart hockey player with good defensive accountability and has been used effectively in a shutdown role against other teams’ top lines at different times this season. The issue with Calgary is that they may not want to give up the first-round draft pick that Rangers have reported asking for, in addition to a top-caliber player.

Who could the Oiler offer to the New York Rangers

After their resounding 8-3 win against the Flames Saturday night, the Oilers are convinced more than ever that are just one piece away from helping their hockey club emerge from their decade of darkness having only made the playoffs once in the last 12 seasons. Enter Chris Kreider. The Oilers have many possibilities and the names include restricted free agent Jesse Puljujarvi, who is spending this season in Finland with Karpat. The former fourth overall pick and his agent have made it very clear to me that he didn’t want to play for the Oilers.  So if not Kreider, could this be a trade possibility for disgruntled Ranger’s prospect Lias Andersson? Another possibility could be Jujhar Khaira, who has one more year of a 1.2 million dollar contract left. Khaira has size, skill, OK-ish speed moving forward in a straight line, plus he is plenty tough.

New York Giants to target top right tackle in free agency

New York Giants, Tennessee Titans, Jack Conklin

When Dave Gettleman first joined the New York Giants as their general manager, he vowed to piece together the offensive line. After allocating plenty of resources towards bolstering the unit, including drafting Will Hernandez and signing left tackle Nate Solder, most thought that the front-five would see significant improvement after years of negligence.

However, after two seasons, the group has failed to break the average mark in terms of overall grading and production. Rookie quarterback, Daniel Jones, Was sacked 38 times in 12 games last season, showing their inability to play as a cohesive unit and build upon the minimal success they enjoyed in 2018. Solder essentially took a season off, grading out as one of the worst left tackles in the game (11 sacks allowed – 2nd overall, per PFF).

Moving forward, Gettleman needs to find a way to piece together the offensive line before the 2020 regular season. One option is expected free agent right tackle, Jack Conklin, who reached the postseason with the Tennessee Titans this year.

The Titans failed to pick up his fifth-year option, which opens the door for the Giants as a potential suitor. As per ESPN’s Jordan Raanan, the Giants will “explore” the idea of sign in Conklin in free agency. The right tackle was a first-team All-Pro selection in his rookie campaign in 2016.

The New York Giants need to find a solution on the OL:

The Giants would likely have to allocate plenty of cap-space towards Conklin. Still, he would solidify the offensive line and allow cattleman to use the fourth overall selection in the 2020 NFL draft on a defensive player like Clemson linebacker, Isaiah Simmons. Alternatively, the draft has plenty of tackle talent that would reinforce Jones’ protection, but the defense is in pressing need of help.

As per overthecap.com, Conklin projects to earn around $8 million per season, but due to the scarcity of tackles in the NFL, we should expect to see him earn at least $15 million in free agency. The Giants have the funds with a projected $80+ million in space this off-season, so signing Conklin isn’t out of the picture.

Should the Yankees be concerned about their depth at catcher?

New York Yankees, Kyle Higashioka

The New York Yankees have exceptional talent at their starting position across the board, but their depth is where things get a little rocky. If 2019 taught us any lessons, it’s that depth is the most crucial aspect of any given team.

Manager Aaron Boone supplemented several starting-level players with reserve options and still helped the team to 103 wins on the year. One of the players that spent time on the injured list, Gary Sanchez, has struggled with damages throughout his career.

Moving forward, the Yankees must have a reliable backup catcher due to Sanchez’s lack of reliability in the health department. Still, hopefully, new strength and conditioning coach, Eric Cressey, can help alleviate some of the concerns over his thing ailment.

As for the reserve catcher position, MLB Insider, Brian Hoch, expressed his confidence in Kyle Higashioka being their guy:

Q: Who do you envision as the backup to Gary Sánchez?
— Michael P., Sioux Falls, S.D.

A: Kyle Higashioka seems to have the inside track, especially considering that he is out of Minor League options. The Yanks’ pitchers have raved about Higashioka for some time, and there are analytics that suggest he could be a defensive upgrade over Austin Romine. The other contenders include Chris Iannetta, Erik Kratz and Josh Thole.

The Yankees also signed Chris Iannetta, Erik Kratz, and Josh Thole. All three of those options are minor-league players who aren’t considered starters at the MLB-level, which presents the Yanks will a problem after Higashioka, who hasn’t shown any offensive consistency.

While Higgy is a solid defensive catcher, he posted a .214 batting average with three homers over 18 games last season. Relying on him to compensate for any lost time due to Sanchez’s inevitable injury could be problematic. However, the team has plenty of fire-power to hold the club above water for the entirety of the season. Again, it’s important to mention that the Yankees, who won 103 games last year, only got better this offseason with the signing of Gerrit Cole.

Fantastic starting pitching should give the Bombers all the help they need to win low-scoring games. With the unbelievable amount of power surging through the hitting order, Higashioka’s lack of offensive prowess won’t be detrimental.