Prospect Profile: Luis Severino

Not many photos of Mr. Severino out there. (ABC News 4 Charleston and MiLB.com)

Not many photos of Mr. Severino out there. (ABC News 4 Charleston and MiLB.com)

Luis Severino | RHP

Severino hails from Sabana Del Mar, a small fishing town along the north shore of the Dominican Republic. He was a little older than the typical Latin American prospect when he signed with the Yankees in December 2011, two months before his 18th birthday. Severino received a relatively modest $225k bonus.

Pro Career
The Yankees assigned Severino to the Dominican Summer League to start his pro career in 2012. He threw 64.1 innings across 14 starts that season, posting a 1.68 ERA (3.14 FIP) with 45 strikeouts (6.30 K/9 and 18.3 K%) and 17 walks (2.38 BB/9 and 6.9 BB%).

Severino came stateside last year and was very impressive, making six appearances with the team’s Rookie Level Gulf Coast League affiliate (1.37 ERA and 1.68 FIP) before being bumped up and making four starts with Low-A Charleston (4.08 ERA and 2.24 FIP). All told, Severino posted a 2.45 ERA (1.92 FIP) with 53 strikeouts (10.84 K/9 and 29.6 K%) and only ten walks (2.05 BB/9 and 5.6 BB%) in 44 innings in 2013. After the season, Baseball America ranked him as the 17th best prospect in the GCL.

Scouting Report
Severino is a short-ish right-hander — he’s listed at only 6-foot-0 and 195 lbs. — with really big stuff. He unleashes 92-94 mph fastballs on the regular and will hump it up to 97-98 on his best days, though he is prone to getting radar gun happy and overthrowing. That is something that can improve with experience, at least in theory. Severino is really athletic and his arm action is loose, so the ball jumps out of his hand.

A mid-80s slider was Severino’s top secondary pitch when he signed, but he developed a low-to-mid-80s fading changeup after turning pro and it has since become his top offspeed offering. The slider is inconsistent but still shows promise. Severino throws strikes with his fastball and he generally locates his two offspeed pitches down in the zone, where they’re supposed to go. There is occasionally some arm recoil — not a huge red flag but not ideal either — in his otherwise smooth delivery. Like most teenage pitchers, Severino still needs to learn the finer points of his craft, like holding runners and fielding his position.


That video is from Spring Training last year and is the only video of Severino I can find. Again, there just isn’t many photos or video of the kid out there.

2014 Outlook
After his successful four-start cameo at the end of last season, Severino figures to return to Low-A Charleston to open 2014. He’ll turn 20 late next month and I expect him to remain with the River Dogs all year, even if he completely tears the South Atlantic League apart.

My Take
Severino is one of those cheaper, lower profile Latin American prospects the Yankees have a knack for digging up. I actually like him more than bigger name international signings like Rafael DePaula and Omar Luis because he throws strikes with his fastball, has already figured out a changeup, and has three pitches overall. Severino is just a kid with barely a hundred pro innings to his credit though. He has a lot of work and development ahead of him, but the raw tools are exciting and suggest he will be able to remain a starter long-term.

Categories : Prospect Profiles
  • Poconos Adam

    ‘Smallish’ at 6’0″? Jeez, our prospects always have warts, but this one seems a bit picky.

    • pat

      That’s not Yankee specific, but 6 feet even is generally considered exactly that, on the small side for a starting pitcher.

      • Caballo Sin Nombre

        Small for a right-hander. Generally not considered an issue for a lefty.

        • Laz

          Because people will overlook practically anything if you are a lefty.

          • Preston

            Height is supposedly more of an advantage against same handed hitters. So it’s more important for a RHP who will face a majority of RHB than a LHP who will face fewer left LHB.

            • vicki

              i think Size Matters has been generally debunked, though research findings can vary. i’ve gathered that scouts still fetishize height, so it remains an advantage in being drafted in the first place (which skews analysis). and laz makes a good point.

              • Preston

                Speaking anecdotally, I think the average MLB pitcher is significantly taller than the average person. So height probably does have some benefit. Although once a guy is actually pitching in a full season league I’ll take his on the field stats over his body stats anyday.

    • Thomas

      Average Yankees pitcher height (40 man roster + Matt Thornton) is 6’2.8”. He is only taller than Banuelos, Nuno, and Robertson (all 5’11”). Obviously that is only the Yanks, but he is smallish.

      • OldYanksFan

        He is SLIGHTLY Height impaired.

        • Thomas

          Just because I am tall at 6’3”, I am BIG-ot. Shoe’s on the other foot, now.

  • JD

    Please describe arm recoil. He looks very raw but also very fluid. Ball seems to explode out of his hand.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike Axisa

      His arm snaps back after releasing the ball. Doesn’t do it all the time and it’s not really a huge deal.

      • Size Matters

        It’s pretty bad for the muscles in the back of you shoulder at deceleration but agree it’s not hard (generally) to correct.

        • vicki

          oh, you.

  • PhillyMatt

    Who is the “tallish” catcher? Or is the umpire “smallish”?

    • Preston

      That looks like a 12 on his back which would make him Nick McCoy, and not very tall.

    • Bryan
      • Bryan

        Edit: That meant to say “Insert current Yankees hitting catching prospect in the GCL.

    • Andy in Sunny Daytona

      If I remember correctly, the catcher is Daniel Vavrusa. He’s the kid the Yankees signed out of the Czech Republic a few years ago. Didn’t play last season because of injury.

      • vicki

        it does look like a 2 on the back of his jersey, and both severino and vavrusa have july 28, 2012, @PIT on their fangraphs gamelogs. but i can’t find a box or dotf for this game.

        • Andy in Sunny Daytona

          That was from ST this year. I believe that Josh Norris took it.

          • vicki

            right, right; i missed that in the text. minor league spring training.

  • Preston

    “I actually like him more than bigger name international signings like Rafael DePaula and Omar Luis because he throws strikes with his fastball, has already figured out a changeup, and has three pitches overall”

    That sums up my feelings perfectly, can’t wait to see what he does next year.

    • CashmanNinja

      I still like DePaula more because his strikeout ability is just too good to pass up, but I agree that Severino is definitely a guy to watch. He’s without a doubt one of the most exciting pitchers in the entire system. The key is developing him so he’ll be able to actually pitch for the parent club. At this point in his career you really can’t ask for more than the tools/potential he currently has. A nice fastball and change-up…my absolute favorite 1-2 combo for a power pitcher.

  • Bryan

    I wonder why he did not sign at age 16.

    • Preston

      Probably because scouts weren’t very interested when he was 16. Who knows he might have weighed 150 lbs and thrown 84 mph two years ago. He got 225k, which while a lot of money, doesn’t scream that scouts were all that impressed with him as an 18 yo.

  • MB923

    I’m sure it will be put up shortly. Maddux, Glavine and Thomas make the HOF. Biggio gets 74.8% of the vote. Just short.