11. Luis Severino
The Yankees were extremely cautious with ace right-hander Luis Severino’s shoulder injury all season, only concerned about having him ready for the postseason. That’s the luxury that comes with being a 100-win team with a dominant offense and bullpen. Severino probably could have been ready earlier in the year if the Yankees really needed him, but that wasn’t the case. As soon as it was crystal clear the Yankees could breeze to another AL East title, the postseason became the sole focus for Severino in 2019.
Severino has made three starts for the Yankees to close out the month of September, going four, five and three innings, respectively. It has been a mixed bag for him in those three outings. Severino was dinged for two runs and four walks in three innings against the Texas Rangers on the final Saturday of the regular season. In his 12 innings of work, the 25-year-old had a 1.50 ERA and struck out 17. Severino topped out at 80 pitches.
With their deep bullpen, the Yankees won’t have to ask Severino to give them more than five innings/80 pitches in the playoffs. If he is able to dial up his best stuff in short bursts as a starter, he will be tough to beat. Severino claims to be at full strength, but the Yankees should still be careful with him and avoid asking him to go much longer than five innings.
This can still go down as a big season for Severino if he is able to lead the Yankees rotation deep into October. With James Paxton dealing with nerve irritation in his lower body and the rest of the rotation all over the place, it will fall on Severino and the bullpen to pitch the Yankees to the World Series.