Going into the 2018 offseason the New York Yankees has one priority to focus on – the staring pitching rotation. Trading for Mariners ace James Paxton and retaining J.A. Happ could be a viewed as an improvement, but you could make the case that the Bombers lack a true ace. I’m here to talk about Luis Severino and if he can finally make the jump to the next level.
Before the 2018 All-Star break, Severino had a 2.31 ERA and was 14-2 on the year. After, he recorded six losses, five wins and a 5.57 ERA.
How did this happen and what were the factors for his struggles?
Reports have indicated that Severino was tipping pitches, with proof bubbling to the surface after the Boston Red Sox were effectively calling his pitches from the dugout during the ALDS.
.@LouMerloni just nailed it. Red Sox had a beat on what was coming as early as the second inning. JBJ says "Fastball…" to Mookie before an 0-2 pitch to Holt, Severino pumps in 98 MPH fastball that Holt fouls away. pic.twitter.com/wLGR5dVDys
— Dan O'Mara (@Dan_OMara) October 9, 2018
The Yankees will likely work with their star-pitcher to correct this mistake, as it played a huge part in him being trounced in three innings for six runs and seven hits in the ALDS. He was dominated from the get-go, and it was obvious that the Red Sox knew every pitch he was about to throw.
The Yankees had a consistent ace in the first half of 2018:
Luis earning a 2.31 ERA for the first half of the season convinced some that he could be their top-man, and I wouldn’t rule this idea out just yet. It ultimately comes down to him being more careful with his pre-pitch actions and tightening up so that can be more effective. The Yankees’ bullpen coaches need to be more aware of this issue and correct it before it becomes a legitimate problem.
Teams focusing on the analytics and tiny giveaways from players will notice those significant details that can give away a pitch, etc. Some believed that Severino might have been injured which could have caused a drop in effectiveness, but his fastball didn’t lose any velocity throughout the year with the exception of some minimal fatigue. On opening day, he threw his fastball 97.9 mph, and on the final day of the season he threw 97.3. This would prove that his health wasn’t an issue and that it had to be a fundamental lapse.
Fixing something as small as tipping pitches could be difference between All-Star Severino and third-tier pitcher Sevvy.