When it comes to sports, we tend to clearly remember big moments from big games: what we were doing, how we felt, all that good stuff. Then there are times when we remember random moments of random games that are far less meaningless than big ones. And every so often, we remember a non-playing event with great, seemingly random clarity. One of those moments is the moment when it was reported that Luis Severino signed his extension with the Yankees in February 2019.
When news of that came down, I was in the bathroom of our previous home, giving my son a bath. At that moment, I was so happy for Severino, for the Yankees, and for us as fans. I was also ready for the Yankees to offer extensions to Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez; neither of those things happened, clearly. And, unfortunately, things have not gone well for Severino since then. He’s pitched just 19.1 big-league innings since 2019, including his appearance in the Wild Card game against Boston in the 2021 playoffs. That all may as well be history now, though, as the Yankees are counting on Severino to be their number two behind ace Gerrit Cole going into the 2022 season.
Spring Training has, unfortunately, not offered much hope. Despite his stuff looking good, according to Kyle Higashioka via Suzyn Waldman on yesterday’s game broadcast, his control hasn’t been there and he got roughed up a little bit. Add in an arm soreness scare and it’s easy to feel a little queasy about this plan. Luckily, Saturday’s start against Atlanta went smoothly and Severino feels good and maybe has a plan going forward:
“Every time they give me the ball, that’s what I try to do — throw hard,” Severino said. “I noticed in the last couple of days, I don’t need to throw 100, 99, 98. If I can control the zone and go 94, 95, 96 for five or six innings, that would be more safe for me, saving my arm.”Via Brayn hoch
Before his injury, Severino had one of the best RH fastball/slider combinations in baseball and he rode it to great success. This spring has seen him tinker with some different things. Via our pal (and literal brother in Ana’s case), Lucas:
This pitch mix will be worth watching as the season goes along. I look at his season in 2022 a lot like I did Jameson Taillon’s in 2021. It will essentially be a season of reinvention and a hope for success. Taillon threaded that needle fairly well in 2021. Let’s hope Severino can do the same.
In a way, he represents the current Yankee roster as a whole. There is a lot of upside there for him–Cy Young Award type upside–but like a lot of players in the lineup hoping for bouncebacks, the question mark is hard to ignore. However, if–and it’s a big if–Luis Severino returns to form, or even something close to it, the Yankees will have one of the top 1-2 rotation punches in the AL. Am I holding my breath for it? Not really. But am I crossing my fingers? Hell yes.