In 2019, he only pitched 12 frames, plus the playoffs, but missed most of the early months with right shoulder rotator cuff inflammation and a Grade 2 lat strain.
He underwent Tommy John surgery in March 2020, knocking him out for that season and part of 2021.
In June 2021, in a rehab game, he suffered a groin injury that set him back a few weeks, and when he started throwing again, reported tightness in his right shoulder.
It has been a long way back for the Yankees fireballer, but the wait was worth it.
Severino The Reliever Is Nasty
Because of a lack of time to fully stretch out the talented righty to a starter’s workload, the Yankees decided to use him as a reliever.
There wasn’t much room in the rotation anyway, as Gerrit Cole, Corey Kluber, Jameson Taillon, Nestor Cortes Jr., and Jordan Montgomery were all healthy when it was decision-making time with Severino (Taillon is currently injured).
All the rehab work, the missed games, and the anxiety to get on a mound again were worth it, both for Severino and for the Yankees.
Yes, there is no time to stretch him out and fill the role of “1B” to Cole’s “1A”, but he can be, and has been in fact, a deadly bullpen weapon for the Yankees.
In six innings of work this season, Sevy has allowed no runs and just two hits and a walk.
Luis Severino in his first four outings of the season 🔥
6 IP, 0 R, 2 H, 8 SO, 1 BB
— Talkin' Yanks 🐢 (@TalkinYanks) October 1, 2021
He has fanned eight hitters in a dominant showing.
He started his season by throwing two consecutive two-inning outings in a span of four days, suggesting he could be used as a multi-inning reliever.
His other two outings, the most recent ones, have been of the one-inning variety.
This kind of usage tells us that the Yankees are viewing Severino as an option based on outs, not innings per se.
As he has shown in his brief time with the Yankees this season, he is back in form and can dial it up to the upper-90s range, showing his pre-surgery velocity.
Perhaps more importantly, his command has been on point, avoiding bad misses and walks that could harm him.
And both of his main secondary pitches, his slider and his changeup, have looked particularly nasty.
A Top Bullpen
Severino’s rise to the top of manager Aaron Boone’s circle of trust comes as a welcome development for the Yankees.
At a sensible moment, not too long after losing Zack Britton for the season, Severino will handle high-leverage innings with the experience of a seasoned veteran and the stuff of a top pitcher in his prime.
Now, the Yankees bullpen looks better than at any other point in the season.
Jonathan Loaisiga is back to full health, Clay Holmes has cemented his role as a top setup option, the left-handers are top-notch (Joely Rodriguez, Wandy Peralta, Lucas Luetge, and Aroldis Chapman), and Mike King and Chad Green are excellent options, too.
Severino, Loisiaga, Green, Holmes, Wandy, King, Chapman… This Yankees bullpen has once again become our strength. I’m totally comfortable with Nestor, Monty, and any SP giving us 5 innings and handing it over to the bullpen.
— LVUREN F. (@war_in_france) October 1, 2021
None of them, however, have looked as dominant as Severino in September.
The Yankees are relieved.