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Luis Severino hitting his stride

2016 was certainly a year to forget for Luis Severino. The hard-throwing right-hander went 3-8 with a 5.83 ERA, struggled to gain command of his slider, and his fastball was getting crushed all over the yard. Severino failed to meet expectations last year after breaking into the majors in 2015, where he went 5-3 with a 2.89 ERA. 2016 was supposed to be the year Severino took a major step forward as a big leaguer, but it obviously didn’t happen.

Heading into this year, Severino’s role in the Yankees organization was uncertain. Was he going to start games or come out of the bullpen? Was he going to begin the year in Triple-A? The only thing that was known for sure was that 2017 could make or break his career. The 23-year-old earned a spot in the big league starting rotation out of Spring Training, and it doesn’t look like he’ll give it up anytime soon.

Severino blamed poor mechanics and inconsistent release points for his 2016 woes, but an old Yankee rival helped him get back on track. Pedro Martinez worked with Severino during the off-season in the Dominican.

“To be able to work with him means a lot to me. I call him anytime. He’s always there for me to work (with) anytime.” Severino stated.

Severino by the Numbers

Severino has arguably been the Yankees best pitcher so far this year, boasting a 4-2 record with a 2.93 earned run average. The Dominican native also has 69 strikeouts on the year, which is eighth-best in the American League. Through 61.1 innings, Sevvy has held the opposition to a .222 batting average. Contrary to last year, Severino has successfully executed his slider thus far. According to Fangraphs.com, he has punched out 39 batters with his slider this season, which is already 10 more than all of last year.

Severino has also seen an uptick in his fastball velocity. In 2016, the average speed on his fastball was 96.1 MPH. So far this year, he’s averaging 97.2 and has even gotten into the triple digits. Perhaps the biggest factor of Severino’s success has been his change-up, a pitch that he wasn’t confident in last year. He has already thrown more change-ups this year (118) than last year (112). Opposing batters are hitting a mere .074 against the pitch.

Severino has pumped up his fastball while establishing two solid off-speed pitches to form a deadly arsenal. He has also done a great job of attacking hitters and limiting walks.  Through 10 starts, Severino has walked 15 batters. His 2.20 walks-per-nine innings is ninth best in the American League.

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The Yankee pitcher is really starting to heat up, holding opposing teams to just two runs in his last 19.1 innings of work. Severino will look to win his third game in a row this afternoon against the Blue Jays, as the Yankees look to take the series and stay atop the American League East.