Yankees Analysis: Could Luis Severino be the key to a successful trip to the World Series?

New York Yankees, Luis Severino
Oct 3, 2018; Bronx, NY, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino (40) celebrates after making the last out while bases were loaded during the fourth inning against the Oakland Athletics in the 2018 American League wild card playoff baseball game at Yankee Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Yankees and its fans have been starved of a World Series appearance for twelve years, and fans want that to change…now.

Regardless of the fan’s wishes, the upcoming season looks as foggy as a bad San Francisco morning.

The Yankees, with just a few weeks until the start of spring training, are still looking for a shortstop, a bonafide second starting pitcher, a first baseman, and help in center field.

With the MLB lockout, the Yankees have been unable to advance on filling any of those wants. With the players and owner talking and making counter proposals and meeting for a third time this afternoon, it may signal that the sides are getting closer to finally getting a new Collective Bargaining Agreement on the books. If that happens, the Yankees will have to be aggressive and swift in securing the help they need.

With all eyes on what the Yankees will do to replace Gleyber Torres at short, today we focus on starting pitching. Much of what the Yankees will do to secure a shortstop will affect their ability to sign a true number-two starter, the kind that will take them to the postseason and a possible World Series gig.

If they go the route of signing a Carlos Correa-type shortstop, it will take dollars and have a significant impact financially on if they will be able to spend on a starting pitcher. They also have to consider a contract extension for Aaron Judge. Even if they don’t spend on a pitcher, on paper, it looks as though they already have the talent for a successful season if those pitchers perform at the top of their game. That brings up the subject of Luis Severino¬†and if he can return to form.

Severino was the Yankees’ ace during 2017-2018, when he won 33 games against 14 losses. He also started the 2019 season with a bang. In three games, he had a 1.50 ERA. That was pretty much the end for Severino as he underwent Tommy John surgery, keeping him off the mound until late in the 2021 season. How the Yankees do, this season will be greatly tied to how Severino performs.

Whether the Yankees hire a number two pitcher or not, they will need Severino to have a successful season. Looking at his history, he seems to be injury-prone, so the Yankees, pitching coach Matt Blake, and the conditioning staff headed by Eric Cressey will monitor “Sevy” very closely to protect him against those injuries that he can be impactful during the 2022 season.

If Severino can stay healthy and pitch most if not all of the 2022 season and can return to form, the Yankees will likely make the postseason and an even a much-awaited Fall Classic. If playing at the top of his game, he could be an ace for any MLB team. If he can perform as the Yankees hope, he will provide that one-two punch behind ace Gerrit Cole. If the injury Gods don’t intervene, we could see a Yankee World Series win, the first since 2009.

The Yankees do need insurance regardless of Severino by signing at least a middle-of-the-rotation pack starting pitcher. There are several decent free-agent pitchers on the market to be traded for. Of course, the Yankees will have to hit far better than they did last season outside of the pitching. They have fired Marcus Thames and hired Dillon Lawson to help make that happen. This could be the Yankees’ most exciting season in years, and Luis Severino could be a major part of that excitement.