When I first scouted right-handed pitcher Luis Severino at the 2014 SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game in Minneapolis, he reminded me of the great Pedro Martinez. Of course, Martinez is an inch shorter than the 6-foot Severino, and Pedro is 25 pounds lighter than Severino's 195 pounds. But they both have wiry frames and electric arms, they are both from the Dominican Republic and they both can pitch.
While I'm not suggesting Severino can be a Hall of Famer like Pedro, I do see similarities in their competitive pitching repertoires and their mound demeanors. That can translate to stardom for Severino.
In parts of four Minor League seasons, Severino has compiled an ERA of 2.30 and a WHIP of 1.02 in 321 innings.
After a meteoric rise through the Yankees' system, Severino has assumed a role in the club's Major League rotation. In his first start, he pitched five innings, yielding two runs on two hits in a loss to Boston.
Severino has an overpowering 92-96 mph fastball that he can bring to 99 without much effort. He also throws a well-developed changeup with terrific late fade that keeps hitters off balance and changes their rhythm. However, Severino uses the changeup rather sparingly, favoring his fastball.
Severino's fastball and changeup have great sink, causing the hitter to either swing and miss or pound the ball into the ground. For good measure, he mixes in an effective and efficient slider.
Using a high arm slot for his fastball and changeup, Severino has the same arm action for both pitches. It is very difficult for the hitter to tell what's coming. Severino does lower his arm a bit to throw his slider.
Severino has a very simple and uncomplicated delivery. He stands tall on the mound with his arms folded in front of him. He works very quickly. Severino's trunk contributes in his delivery, but it is his lightning-quick arm that separates him as an exciting high-ceiling starter.
Severino doesn't always extend his arm and follow through, but that almost "short arm" approach works for him. He generates plenty of torque from his powerful body. Severino has a rather stiff front foot landing. He kind of "whips" the ball to the plate at times.
Severino comes right after the hitter in a very aggressive manner. His fastball bursts upon the hitter, giving him very little time to adjust to an offspeed pitch.
Severino is very quick to the plate with a runner on first. He brings his pitch at less than 1.6 seconds most of the time.
Severino has a loose and electric arm. He throws strikes and generally keeps the ball away from the barrel of the bat.
A strikeout pitcher in his past, Severino could average nine strikeouts per nine innings and get lots of ground-ball outs. Even though he is only 21, his two-seam fastball is a plus-plus pitch.
Severino can regroup after getting in trouble and adjust accordingly.
Severino has to sharpen his fastball command and mix in his changeup more often. That will likely come once he gains more confidence.
Severino's fastball seems to straighten out on his highest velocity pitches. He is at his most effective at 94 mph. Severino can be hittable.
I find this interesting
I will not forget Severino's handling of the Rangers' Joey Gallo in the Futures Game. He went right after Gallo, setting him up with blazing fastballs and finishing the at-bat by striking him out with a slider. It was memorable.
The future for Severino
With the health of the Yankees' starters a continuing issue, Severino can provide a life jacket to the Yanks' rotation. He will have to continue to respond to the adjustments hitters make to him.
It remains to be seen if Severino will stick for the rest of this season. Of course, the club could seek free-agent pitching in the offseason, which may give him more time to develop. For now, however, Severino is in the mix.
Severino in a word
Bernie Pleskoff has served as a professional scout for the Houston Astros and Seattle Mariners. Follow @BerniePleskoff on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.