Luis Severino details his path to becoming a homegrown Yankee in Players' Tribune piece
Rewind to a year ago, when Sevy, coming off a very impressive 2015 debut stint in the Majors, showed few signs of the dominant pitcher that coaches and front office members were hoping to see.
Through his first seven starts of 2016, Sevy allowed 29 earned runs. He then was placed on the disabled list with a right triceps strain, and didn't return until late-July, as a reliever.
The Yankees weren't giving up on Severino's potential as a starter, but he needed a change of pace to put the start of the season behind him. As a reliever, Sevy was every bit the overpowering force from the mound that his reputation had foretold.
By season's end, Severino had gone 0-8 with an 8.50 ERA as a starter, but as a reliever, he went 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA. As a starter, Severino allowed his opponents to hit .337 against him, but as a reliever, they hit for a .105 clip.
It was difficult to rationalize such a drastic disparity in results for the Dominican-born hurler, but luckily for him and for the Yankees, his success turned out to be the more telling bellwether of his future in pinstripes.
Now, as Severino mounts a regular season campaign worthy of Cy Young acknowledgement, those 2016 struggles seem like ancient history. The Yankees pitching staff is primed to be led by Severino for the foreseeable future, and based on a recent Players' Tribune piece written by Sevy, he seems to be very comfortable in his role.
"You know what the best feeling in the world is? The best feeling in the world is waking up in the morning and remembering that you're a New York Yankee," Severino wrote. "I'm having the time of my life right now."
Sevy detailed his long and fortuitous path toward becoming a Yankee, his favorite team growing up, and how close he came to taking his talents elsewhere when initial signing offers came from MLB clubs.
After building up his arm strength with the help of his hometown coaches, Severino had a choice to make between signing with the Colorado Rockies, or holding out to see if the Yankees would match the offer. It didn't take long before Severino had a choice to make.
"When the Yankees matched the Rockies' offer, and it came time for me to decide where to sign, it wasn't a tough call for me at all," Severino wrote. "I'd go to bed at night and think about what it would be like to wear the pinstripes and play in New York City."
From his humble beginnings in the Dominican Republic to his burgeoning superstardom as one of the AL's elite starting pitchers, Severino has come a long way, both physically and figuratively. His English speaking skills have developed at a rapid pace, and he's even begun to expand his diet away from fast food burgers and pizza.
"Pretty early on, I learned that sometimes you need to go to Burger King, just to switch it up. That was huge for me," Severino explained.
The Yankees have hung around the top of the AL Wild Card standings for months, thanks in large part to the efforts of their flame-throwing neophyte and potential future Cy Young candidate. Through his first 27 starts of the 2017 season, Severino, a first-time All-Star, has gone 12-6 with a 3.03 ERA and 201 strikeouts. His success will be critical to the Yankees' chances of a deep playoff run, but Sevy has never been afraid of the big spotlight.
"It's been so much fun to be a part of this franchise and to be one of a group of young guys who is looking to do big things for years and years to come," said Severino.
"I just feel very fortunate in every way."