Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Let the Luis Severino Era Begin

Luis Severino is ready to bring his electric stuff to the Bronx.

There was a time that most fans of the New York Yankees didn't care about the team's farmhands. They didn't even know their names. But all that changed with publications like Baseball Weekly and Baseball America and the advent of social media.

While some fans still will quickly fork over top prospects for a current or former star, more and more fans want to see home grown ball players don their team's uniform for more than Spring Training.

The Yankees farm system was derided for some time after poor scouting, drafting, and trades for veterans left it bereft of ready for prime time players. Now the farm system has become replenished with top grade prospects. Those prospects were in demand during last week's trade deadline, but General Manager Brian Cashman refused to part with any of the cream of the crop. Aaron Judge, Jorge Mateo, Greg Bird and tonight's Yankees' starter Luis Severino remained in the Yankees system, much to the delight of the Yankees fan base.

While there is no such thing as a sure thing, the Yankees front office, manager Joe Girardi, and pitching coach Larry Rothschild expect a lot from Severino, the Yankees top rated minor leaguer.
It's not the first time a pitcher made his highly anticipated debut in the last decade. Phil Hughes and Joba Chamberlain both turned in some terrific performances in their initial lengthy recall with the team. Neither of them are in the organization any more, and Cashman is hoping (and probably praying) that will not be the case with Severino.

You probably need to go all the way back to 1964 to find a time when a Yankees staff was counting this heavily on a rookie this late in the season. Long before he was the Yankees coach, Mel Stottlemyre made his debut as a 22-year old stud on August 12, 1964. "Stot" went 9-3 with a 2.06 ERA in 12 starts and one relief appearance. He had five complete games in a time when starting pitchers still went the distance. He also made three starts in the '64 World Series, finishing 1-1 against a St. Louis Cardinals team that captured the championship in seven games. It would be the only postseason appearance for Stottlemyre.

Severino made eight starts for Double-A Trenton this season and averaged over 11 strikeouts per 9 innings before a promotion to Triple-A Scranton. He excelled at the challenge of facing hitters in a hitters' league, the International League. Severino compiled a 7-0 mark with  a 1.91 ERA in 11 starts. He allowed less than a base runner per inning, with just 40 hits allowed in 61.1 innings.

And now he'll put on #40 and face the Boston Red Sox in Yankee Stadium.

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