Luis Severino has all the makings of a pitcher that will not only rocket up the prospect rankings but also the Yankees farm system in the coming months and years.
In some sense, that's already happening. The 20-year-old right-hander put up a 2.79 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 70 strikeouts in 67 2/3 innings at Class A Charleston, where he was making his full-season debut, before being promoted to Class A Advanced Tampa early last week.
The new level appears to be no problem.
The Yankees' No. 9 prospect tossed six scoreless no-hit innings, striking out six and walking only one, Wednesday afternoon in Tampa's 9-3 win on the road at Clearwater.
"The stuff is an obvious starting point," said Tampa pitching coach Danny Borrell. "Any time you've got a pitcher with a mid-90's fastball, these things are possible. This guy has it all though. He has the speed. He has an idea where the ball is going. Throw in a good breaking ball [which is a slider] and a changeup to keep guys off and you've got a great recipe for success. Today was certainly that."
Five of Severino's six frames were perfect. The only blip on the radar came when he walked Phillies No. 3 prospect and fellow recently promoted prospect J.P. Crawford with one out in the fourth. The no-hitter came to an end when Crawford singled off reliever Stefan Lopez to start the seventh.
But in case a series of zeros wasn't enough to signify the Dominican Republic native's dominance Wednesday, there's also this: He allowed only one ball to leave the infield. That came when KC Serna flied out to right field for the final out of the first inning. Of the 18 outs Severino recorded, eight were on the ground, six came via the strikeout, three were pop outs and one (Serna's) was a fly out.
"That's all about execution down," said Borrell. "His fastball has a lot of late life to it. It has some finish to it. ... When hitters have difficulty catching up to that, they're just not going to hit it well, and he has the stuff to make that happen."
Wednesday's results were different on paper from Severino's Class A Advanced debut last Friday, when he suffered the loss after giving up three runs on five hits over 4 2/3 innings. However, he did strike out eight, walk only one and maintained a 5-to-1 groundout-to-airout ratio, signifying a much better outing than the runs allowed would tell you alone. That's a notion with which Borrell concurred.
"To be honest, there wasn't too much different between this one and that one," Borrell said. "He pitched much better than the score showed. The only difference was that the results were better today. Overall, the pitch package, the approach -- it was all the same."
After beginning his United States career as an untested question mark, Severino impressed by putting up a 2.45 ERA, 10.8 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9 in 10 appearances (44 innings) as a 19-year-old between the Gulf Coast League and Class A Charleston, where he was coached for four games by Borrell. He was then moved into MLB.com's list of top-10 Yankees prospects and named the system's top right-handed pitcher.
The 6-foot hurler hasn't been troubled by a move to full-season leagues this season as his numbers have been mostly the same -- 2.78 ERA, 9.7 K/9, 2.0 BB/9 -- in a career-high 78 1/3 innings between Charleston and Tampa. Because of those results along with his plus fastball and above-average control, don't be surprised to see Severino in the mix near the top of the Yankees system when prospect rankings are updated at the end of the season. When he is, it'll be no surprise to his pitching coach.
"It's very rare," Borrell said. "I know other people may see it every now and again, but for me, he's a very rare commodity, given everything he's got going for him. I'm just glad to see it's all coming with us."