It was one of baseball’s sad stories last season: not being able to see the young Yankee do his thing on the mound. In limited work, his changeup (thrown at a cool 88mph) looked just fine. It still needs refinement to become a solid third pitch. Hopefully we will see it take a step forward in 2020.
Severino is one of the most electric pitchers in baseball, as evident by his 2019 fastball numbers in which le held opponents to a wRC+ of 9 with a 34.8% K%. The pitch averaged 96 mph and was thrown 57% of the time, including up in the zone where the high spin rate makes hitters chase more frequently. Look for Severino to have a full healthy season and regain his elite form.
The first time Sevy threw his slider on return from the IL, I had goosebumps. Vicious movement, and a nice compliment to his heater, Severino retired half the batters he faced with his slider. The Money Pitch returns soon!
Severino got typical results on his fastball, as it carried a .271 batting average and a .179 ISO against in 2018. What stands out is how often he throws the four-seamer for a strike, with a 64% zone rate last year, which was up from 57.8% in 2017. Considering that Severino can hit 99 mph on his 93rd pitch of the game, that strike-throwing ability is extremely impressive.
Severino saw his slider’s ground-ball rate drop from 64.2% in 2017 to 51.7% in 2018. Opposing batters also swung less at the slider in 2018, dropping from a 52.7% swing rate in 2017 to a 47.3% swing rate in 2018. Otherwise, Severino’s slider was remarkably consistent and excellent as usual. It qualifies as a Money Pitch and is a devastating complement to his quality fastball.
Severino’s changeup produced solid results in 2018 despite a .324 BABIP. Opposing batters only produced a .115 ISO against the pitch, and Severino threw it in the zone 43.8% of the time, giving him another offering he can throw for a strike. Severino’s changeup still has room to improve, with a below-average (for a changeup) swinging-strike rate, and hitters only chased it 25% of the time last year. But at 88 mph, this pitch has tremendous upside.