The NewYork Yankees have a 22-year-old starter and he’s not immediately producing results this season. Luis Severino has been the talk of the town regarding a demotion because of his unsightly 6.12 ERA and 0-5 record. The only problem with this line of thinking is executing it would accomplish nothing. Severino’s ERA is deceiving and a product of small sample size, rather than small performance.
True, he has just two quality starts this season, but the young phenom has given up three runs or less in three of his starts and four runs in two more. Outside of a six run beating in Texas, Severino would have kept any normal offense in the game in five or his six starts and has thrown between five and seven innings in all but the aforementioned outing.
The Yankees’ offense is not normal though. It’s the second worst in the majors and the largest contributer to an 0-5 start, so let’s eliminate the record as any sort of damning statement about Severino’s immediate future. Let’s also look at the young man’s pitching matchups:
- Three runs in five innings in Detroit (sixth in the AL in runs) and zero runs of support.
- Four runs in 5.2 innings at home against Seattle (3rd in the AL in runs) and one run of support.
- Two runs in six innings at home vs Oakland (a quality start) and three runs of support.
- Six runs in three innings on the road vs Texas (2nd in the AL in runs) and one run of support
- Three earned runs in six innings on the road vs Baltimore (fourth in the AL in runs) and one run of support.
- Four earned runs in 6.2 innings at home vs Boston (First in AL in runs) and one run of support.
Those are all six of his starts this season. Severino has had one run or less of support in five of his six starts, with the exception of Oakland, where he threw his best game of the year and the bullpen fell apart instead. Even with the whopping three runs of support that day, the Yankees have given Severino seven runs of offensive support in six starts.
Yeah, that 0-5 record is irrelevant.
Let’s look at the next issue: Opposition. In this small of a sample size it’s important to point out Severino has faced the top 25% of offenses in the AL in four of his six starts (giving up five runs in 11 innings in the other two games, one of which was his first start of the year on a pitch count).
No run support? Elite competition? Are we sure we don’t want to demote the entire lineup instead?
Luis Severino’s problem is not confidence or an inability to compete with major league hitters; if it were, those would be legitimate reasons to demote him.
The fact of the matter is Severino has now made 17 starts in the majors, about half a season’s worth, and he’s given up three runs or less in 13 of those starts. Does that sound like someone who can’t handle major league hitters?
Even with the rough start, mainly bloated from his terrible game in Texas, Severino still has a 3.99 ERA with 81 strikeouts in 94 innings. He’s given up seven home runs in his first 32.1 innings this year, which puts him on pace for 42 home runs surrendered this year, something that won’t happen. Anyone with a basic understanding of math can understand Severino’s struggles are temporary, at the major league level, and going somewhere he already dominated isn’t going to change that.
After pitching six innings in just one of his first four starts, he’s now done it, against Baltimore and Boston, in back to back appearances, striking out 13 batters in 12.2 innings in the process.
The kid doesn’t need a demotion, he needs more time.
And we as fans, need to be patient.