I'm not a big minor league guy, so I'm not here to tell you whether or not Luis Severino will be the next Pedro Martinez or another busted prospect. However, the way the Yankees have handled Severino has certainly peaked my interest. Severino was promoted to Triple-A Scranton-Wilkes Barre a little faster than expected. He only pitched 67.2 innings at Single-A Charleston before getting promoted, 20.2 innings at Single-A + Tampa and 63 innings at Double-A Trenton before this promotion.
Severino is only 21 years old and moving through the system at a very rapid pace. Meanwhile, another top prospect Aaron Judge has almost 200 very productive at-bats at Trenton and is already 23, but has not been promoted yet. Is it because the Yankees have a logjam in the outfield and see no way Judge makes MLB this season? On the other side of the coin, the Yankees have very little pitching depth and maybe they see Severino making a contribution in the Bronx this season?
Severino seems to be the exception for the Yankees in how quickly they move prospects. I already mentioned Judge, and Rob Refsynder still can't get a chance even with Stephen Drew looking like he is swinging at wiffle balls four at-bats a game. Also, even though Jacob Lindgren got promoted he hasn't seen any significant innings. To me, it says a whole lot about how the Yankees feel about Severino and that they think he's truly legit.
The weird thing is every time I check out Severino's stats it seems like the Yankees never let him surpass the 80 pitch mark. I suppose they're doing it for health reasons, although who knows if that actually helps anything. If the Yankees wanted him starting in the big leagues this season they would have to let him pitch deep into games.
Maybe they want Severino to help out a struggling middle relief? For what it's worth, ESPN's Keith Law has always seen him as a reliever, but the Yankees have always maintained that he will be a starter. The Yankees certainly don't really need another Joba Chamberlain situation. However, if the middle relief is still bad, and the Yankees are in the race in September, it might not be the worst idea.
Perhaps, they do see Severino as a starting pitcher injury away from joining the MLB rotation. Masahiro Tanaka is joining the rotation next week and hopefully Chris Capuano is designated for assignment. Although, with the Yankees paying him $5 million this season I have my doubts. That's probably the same reason Drew is still employed. Wasting $10 million on those two players for a cost-cutting team is a travesty.
The Yankees may want to move Adam Warren to the bullpen when Ivan Nova is ready to come back. If they do that and another starting pitcher goes down maybe Severino gets promoted over Bryan Mitchell. It does not add up that the Yankees are moving him this quickly without any possible plans of him reaching the Bronx this season. How this plays out the rest of the season will be very interesting.