Here is some great news to brighten your morning: Luis Severino and Dellin Betances have been cleared to being their throwing programs. Both will start tomorrow, and both received MRIs to confirm, per James Wagner:
Obviously, this is the best possible news given the circumstances. I just wrote the other day that it is getting late early at this point in the season, and I was worried that, given the lack of information, we might not see either player this year. This changes my perspective a lot. There are still concerns–another setback would be really worrisome–but it’s great to hear that they’re on their way back to the team, because the Yankees really need them.
We’ve all spent a lot of time discussing the Yankees starting rotation this year, and while it’s inevitable that Brian Cashman and Aaron Boone will say that adding Severino is the best trade they could have made at the deadline, it’s also partially true. There aren’t many pitchers like Severino. Here are some key stats from 2017-2018, with his rankings among qualified starters in parentheses:
- Wins: 33 (4th)
- ERA: 3.18 (11th)
- FIP: 3.01 (5th)
- Innings Pitched: 384.2 (10th)
- Strikeouts per 9: 10.53 (9th)
- Walks per 9: 2.27 (13th)
- HR per 9: 0.94 (17th)
- fWAR: 11.2 (5th)
And on and on and on. All of his rate stats compare similarly, if you were wondering. Point is, Severino is a rare sort of pitcher–he’s a true top-of-the-rotation ace with a blazing fastball. Adding a truly 100% healthy Severino to this team is probably the single greatest upgrade they can make over the next few weeks.
The return of Dellin Betances, which will almost certainly come sooner than Severino, would help alleviate stress on the Yankee pen. As Jonny noted yesterday, many of Boone’s top weapons are on pace to set personal career highs in innings pitched. The team is smart about its bullpen management, but adding Betances changes the calculus in a significant way.
Again, the return of a truly 100% healthy Betances is probably the single greatest bullpen upgrade the Yankees can make, too. Check out Betances’ statistics among key metrics from 2014-2018, with his rankings among the 273 qualified relievers in parentheses:
- ERA: 2.22 (8th)
- FIP: 2.26 (4th)
- Strikeouts per 9: 14.63 (3rd)
- Strikeout percentage: 40.3% (4th)
- Home Runs per 9: 0.60 (29th)
- Innings Pitched: 373.1 (1st)
- Average Leverage Index When Entering Game: 1.44 (44th)
- fWAR: 11.3 (2nd)
Point is, again, Betances is among the best of the very best high-leverage relievers in baseball. Adding a player like him helps deepen the bullpen in a way that would make the Yankees’ pen unquestionably the best in baseball.
The Yankees are an already-great team on the short-list of realistic World Series contenders, and today’s news puts them on the path to becoming even more dangerous. Let’s hope both guys continue to get fully healthy. It would make for a fun rest of the season, I think. Don’t you?