On paper, the New York Yankees have a few exciting names within their starting pitching rotation, but based on recent history, relying on them could be a recipe for disaster.
Last year, Luis Severino, Domingo German, and Jameson Taillon all proved to be unreliable. Dealing with a myriad of injuries, all three players were limited in some capacity, some more than others. However, the Yankees still have high expectations for Severino specifically, who has started spring training with prevalent issues.
Over two appearances and 3.2 innings of action, Severino currently hosts a 17.18 ERA, allowing eight hits, seven earned runs, and one homer. He’s also given up five walks and struck out just one batter in that sample size.
Despite his shortcomings, catcher Kyle Higashioka has noted a visible difference in Severino’s qualities, showcasing more velocity after recovering from his second Tommy John surgery.
“His stuff was considerably nastier than the last time I caught him,” Kyle Higashioka said of Severino’s return last year, per the NY Post. “He was throwing harder [Friday] and his ball was breaking sharper. His stuff looks really good. Now it’s just about dialing in and commanding the zone. … Once he gets a little better feel for the zone, he’s going to be rolling. … I’ve got all the confidence in the world he’ll be right where he needs to be by Opening Day.”
While Higashioka‘s confidence is nice to digest, Severino still presents a massive liability as a projected impact pitcher in the middle of the rotation.
Over the past three seasons, Severino has barely made an impact. In fact, he only made four appearances last year for six innings. He’s only pitched a total of 18 innings in the last three seasons, so management committing so much faith in him is quite baffling.
Even Severino isn’t exactly sure what a normal spring training feels like anymore, taking things day by day.
“I really don’t,’’ Severino said. “It’s been so long, I don’t even know. I hope I’ve got two or three more [spring training] starts to put everything together.”
With general manager Brian Cashman sitting with his tail between his legs, he must know the starting rotation needs more support. They’re capable of being a premium unit on paper, but the group’s injury history indicates that it likely won’t be reality.