Luis Severino’s April Stats Are Looking Like…Well, a Young Luis Severino
When Severino took the mound for his first start of 2017, Yankees fans were hoping he would keep his strikeout rate and lose his earned run totals from last season. But in the bottom of the fifth inning, Severino hung a two-seamer on the inside edge of the plate against slugger Manny Machado, who turned on it for a three-run homer.
Here we go again…
Well not so fast. Fast forward to the end of April and Severino holds the best ERA (3.00), FIP (2.95), and WHIP (0.778) of all Yankee starting pitchers.
None of the starters are struggling much. All have below a 4.50 ERA and a 1.500 WHIP. But Severino is at another level right now.
This April has been the best month for Severino as a starter since his debut in April 2015, when he posted a 2.17 ERA in 29.0 IP. Four of the seven earned runs he allowed in those 29.0 innings were from three HRs, and he struckout 29 batters — a batter an inning.
But this month, while nearly a full ERA point higher than April 2015, he may be even better in terms of pitch execution and long-run setup. Severino has dropped his hits allowed per 9 innings rate by almost a full point (6.52 H/9 in 4/2015 compared to 5.67 in 4/2017), and his walks per 9 innings is down more than 2 points (3.4 versus 1.3). In turn, his win probability added has actually increased despite allowing more earned runs per inning than in April 2015.
This isn’t to say Severino doesn’t have some places to improve. He’s already allowed 4 HRs in 4 games this season, and a couple of them were lazy or missed pitches.
For instance: the two homers allowed against the White Sox (4/18/2017). The first was a down-the-middle fastball with just a twinge of motion on a 1–0 count to Leurys Garcia. With as much movement as Severino can produce, it was an easy pitch to swing on for Garcia.
The second pitch was a hitter’s gift: an 83-mph breaking ball that moved from batter’s box to the middle of the zone and hung over the plate. For an experienced batter like Avisail Garcia, who is hitting .368/.409/.621 this season, pulling this ball long isn’t too tough a task.
However, as Severino makes his fifth start of the season tonight against the struggling bats of the Toronto Blue Jays, I think the MLB world, especially A.L. East fans, should be keeping an eye glued to Severino. He throws a fastball approaching 100 MPH, has gained control of his low-zone curveball and slider, and his SO/W rate is 8.25 through four games. Just check out his performance against the Rays on April 13th.
An impressive start for the 23-year-old’s third season to round out a Yankees starting rotation that’s showing poise and potential.