Luis Severino on learning how to become a leader
With a world of talent on the field, Sevy is elevating his game inside the clubhouse
Since that debut game, which saw him surrender just two hits and strike out seven Red Sox batters on the grand stage of Yankee Stadium, Severino has established himself as one of the most imposing young hurlers in the game today.
With one of the fiercest fastballs and a devastating wipeout slider to match, Sevy is entering the 2018 season from a position any young pitcher strives to reach: the leader of one of the premier rotations in the big leagues.
Severino's on-field performance took a massive leap from 2016 to 2017, and this season he's hoping for more of that progression. One way he's working to elevate his game is by being more of a leader, and learning how to handle pressure from the veterans in his locker room.
"I think I can work more on that," Severino told YES Network early in camp about his eagerness to improve his leadership qualities.
"I can listen more to CC [Sabathia], one of the leaders here, and I think that if I can work on that with him, with the veteran guys here, I can become somebody like that."
Sabathia has been one of the most durable and longevous starters of his era, entering what will be his 18th big league season this year. Baseball's active all-time strikeout leader, CC has won Cy Youngs and World Series titles, and offers a deep wealth of knowledge to players coming into their prime like Severino.
"We feel very lucky," Severino said of Sabathia's return, after the 37-year-old southpaw re-signed with the Bombers for a one-year deal.
"I texted him saying, 'I'm happy to see you back,' because we need somebody like that, one of the veteran guys. [He has] a lot of experience in the playoffs, so I think he can help everybody here."
And even though Severino's first-year manager Aaron Boone might be a newbie in some ways, Boone is another longtime baseball figure from whom Luis has plenty to learn, beginning with how to maintain a loose clubhouse.
"We need somebody like that," Severino said of Boone.
"It's not going to be all serious all season, because we're not going to have fun. This is a game [but] this is our job. We have to have fun, we have to enjoy the game, and having somebody like that is going to motivate us to get going."
There's still plenty left to prove as Boone gets set to embark on what he described as a "surreal" new gig as Yankees manager, but with more strong play from youngsters like Severino, Gary Sanchez and Aaron Judge, guided by the veteran wisdom of players like Sabathia and Brett Gardner, this club appears capable of handling any challenge that might come its way.