Severino strikes again with six solid frames

No. 9 Yankees prospect's dominance continues in his third FSL start

Luis Severino has amassed 20 strikeouts over 16 2/3 innings in the Florida State League. (Mark LoMoglio/Tampa Yankees)

By Josh Jackson / | July 4, 2014 2:09 AM ET

Luis Severino is only 20 and he's only been in the Florida State League for 13 days. Still, it hasn't taken him long to show he's right at home.

"For a young guy to come up here to [Class A Advanced] and have the poise he's shown, it's amazing, really impressive," said Tampa manager Al Pedrique. "He goes after hitters, and he's not afraid to pitch his way out of a jam."

New York's ninth-ranked prospect has had little need to do that so far. He followed six innings of no-hit ball last time out with another six shutout frames Thursday. Severino allowed two hits and two walks while fanning six in the Yankees' 4-3 win over the visiting Lakeland Tigers.

"He's doing a good job of locating the fastball down in the zone and on both sides of the plate. He's really good when he works ahead in the count," Pedrique said. "He mixes in his changeup and his slider. For the most part, he's been successful locating his fastball and his changeup, but he also goes to that breaking ball sometimes."

Severino (1-1), who gave up three runs on five hits and a walk over 4 2/3 innings against Lakeland in his FSL debut, struggled only very briefly in his third start in the circuit. He walked Flying Tigers leadoff hitter Chad Wright and surrendered a two-out single to Lance Durham in the opening frame.

A manager might get butterflies in the stomach about a young pitcher running into such early trouble against a team who'd previously bested him, but Pedrique's confidence in Severino was not shaken.

"Not at all, because I saw him do the same thing for his first couple of outings when I had him last year with Charleston. You could tell he was really nervous last year," Pedrique said. "Not as much tonight, but against those first couple hitters, he was trying to do too much. He was jumping out front, especially to the first hitter, and missing up in the zone."

After Durham's base knock, Severino found his groove.

"He stayed back and had a solid delivery after that," said Pedrique. "That's when he really made an adjustment, and his arm angle got better.

"One thing I like about him, he realizes really quickly that he needs make to make adjustments. He gets the ball back, and he goes back to the rubber and he's ready to pitch. That kind of composure is very special for a pitcher as young as he is."

Severino, who's pitching in his first full-length pro season, retired eight in a row after that. He walked Durham with one out in the fourth, then set down six more. After Curt Powell slapped a one-out single off him in the sixth, Severino got two more quick outs to end his evening.

"If anybody gets on, he doesn't change anything, mechanics-wise," Pedrique said.

Aaron Judge, who's ranked directly ahead of Severino in the Yankees system and also joined Tampa in late June, smacked a three-run homer in support of his pitcher. It was his third dinger in as many games.

"He's been great since we got him," Pedrique said. "He shows good discipline at the plate, and he's very patient. In his first couple games, he was chasing early breaking balls out of the zone. The last three games, he's not doing that and he looks much more comfortable.

"He's realizing he can be patient and see good pitches to hit up here. That's what he did two nights ago with the grand slam, and that's what he did tonight with a 2-2 fastball he took the other way to the opposite field."

Josh Jackson is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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