Full year of Severino could be huge for Yanks

Right-hander ready to break out following 11-start stint in 2015

Full year of Severino could be huge for Yanks

TAMPA, Fla. -- There was enough information to be squeezed from Luis Severino's first 11 big league appearances that told the Yankees he was ready for a long stay at the highest level, with no further polishing of his tools required down in the Minors.

While trying not to inflate expectations on the 22-year-old right-hander, the Yankees have been thrilled to see his confidence rise this spring. After an offseason in which they searched high and low for starting pitching, Severino appears to be a prime candidate to step up as the team's Breakout Player of 2016.

"Experience is going to put him in the place where, with the tools that he has and the experience that he's gaining, he's going to be good," Carlos Beltran said. "He's going to be good for a long time for this organization. That's the way I see it. Not to put pressure on him, but that's what I see."

Reserving a rotation slot for Severino was just a formality after he went 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA following his August promotion to the Majors. That included a trial by fire in which he faced the Blue Jays' wrecking-crew lineup three times, producing decent results. Experience should only help him going forward.

"I know how Major League hitters think now, and it's important to bring that to this year here and have more confidence in myself," Severino said.

This spring, Yankees manager Joe Girardi offered some impressive comparisons in discussing Severino's presence, tossing out the names of David Price, Clayton Kershaw and Hall of Famer Greg Maddux. Girardi is not one who is typically given to hyperbole, which offers an idea of how highly the Yankees view Severino.

"When you look at David Price, the way he came up; he kind of started in the bullpen a little bit, and was thrown right into the World Series in the bullpen," Girardi said. "There was a lot of poise. Kershaw, a lot of poise.

"I was around Greg Maddux, when I was a young player. There was a ton of poise and he knew exactly what he wanted to do. And I feel like Sevvy is the same way. He knows what he wants to do. Executing is sometimes a different story, but he has a plan."

Girardi said Severino pitched as well as any starter in camp this spring. The consistency of Severino's changeup and slider will determine how quickly he can take the next step in his development, getting hitters off his fastball.

Severino has set his personal goal at 200 innings, one year after completing a career-high 161 2/3 frames -- 62 1/3 of which came in the Majors. He would have continued starting if the Yankees had advanced in the postseason, and Severino said he would have had no problem firing off another 20 or 30 innings.

"I love him. I love what I see every day," Beltran said. "... He's a confident kid. It's good to see that. In these games, you've got to be that, and playing in this city you've also got to be confident. Things go up and down. He's a smart kid."

Bryan Hoch is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @bryanhoch, on Facebook and read his MLBlog, Bombers Beat. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.