- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 195 lb.
Pitcher Luis Severino was signed by the New York Yankees as an amateur free agent before the 2012 season. He began his professional career that season with the DSL Yankees 1, putting up a sparkling 1.68 ERA in 14 starts to earn a promotion to the United States. After recording a 1.37 ERA in his first 6 games for the DSL Yankees 1 in 2013, he was moved up to the Charleston RiverDogs of the South Atlantic League, skipping short-season Class A ball. He went 1-1, 4.08 in 4 games for Charleston and was back with the team to start the 2014 season. In 14 starts, he was 3-2, 2.79 to earn a promotion to the Tampa Yankees on June 20th. In the Florida State League, he was 1-1, 1.33 in 4 starts, and moved up again a month later, joining the Trenton Thunder of the Class AA Eastern League. His rapid progression up the organizational ladder meant that he was almost five years younger than the league average at that point but it did not faze him as he went 2-2, 2.52 in 6 starts. Combined between the three stops, his record was 6-5, 2.47 in 24 starts, with 113 innings pitched, during which he allowed 93 hits and walked 27 while striking out an outstanding 127 opponents. He pitched for the World Team in the 2014 Futures Game.
Having now vaulted near the top of the Yankees' top prospects list and being considered the #35 prospect in baseball by Baseball America, he returned to Trenton to start the 2015 season. In 8 starts, he was 2-2, 3.32 and moved up again on May 31st, to the AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. He was outstanding at that level, with a record of 7-0 and a 1.91 ERA in 11 starts. The Yankees called him up to make his big league debut on August 5th, facing their historic rivals the Boston Red Sox. he gave up only 2 hits in 5 innings, walking none and striking out 7, but the Sox managed to score twice, with one of the runs being unearned and the other coming off a long ball by David Ortiz. Meanwhile, his opponent, knuckleballer Steven Wright, stymied the Yankees' bats and Luis was saddled with a 2-1 loss in spite of his nice effort. He won his first game on August 22nd when he defeated the Cleveland Indians, 6-2, pitching 6 innings and finally getting some run support. He had a 2.04 ERA after 6 starts, then ran into a buzz-saw called the Toronto Blue Jays on September 11th, as Ben Revere led off the game with a hit, followed by a Josh Donaldson homer and Justin Smoak added a two-run shot later in the five-run 1st inning. He was charged with the 11-5 loss. In all, he made 11 starts for the Yankees, with a record of 5-3, 2.89 in 62 1/3 innings.
The Yankees had big expectations of Luis heading in 2016, but he had a rough start to his season. The team lost all of his first five starts, and he was charged with four of the losses with an ERA of 6.31, prompting musings that he could be headed back to the minor leagues. However, after another rough outing on May 13th, in which he gave up 7 runs to the Chicago White Sox in 2 2/3 innings, he was placed on the disabled list with a "mild triceps strain." His record was now an unsightly 0-6, 7.46 in 7 starts. After one rehabilitation start, the Yankees decided to option him to the minor leagues on May 30th, just as he was eligible to return to the team. He came back on July 27th and pitched out of the bullpen for his first three appearances. He earned his first win of the season in the last of these, on August 3rd, thanks to a very solid effort facing the New York Mets. He replaced Chad Green with two outs in the 4th with the Yankees ahead 6-3, in spite of Green having already allowed 8 hits and 4 walks. He got the last out, stranding two runners on base, and went on to pitch 4 1/3 innings allowing only an unearned run on one hit to get credit for the 9-5 win. Following the game, manager Joe Girardi announced he would be given the starting slot opened up by the trade of Ivan Nova, as the Yankees were committed to give young players a shot to prove their mettle in the two months remaining in the season. However, it turned out it was the great relief outing that was a freak: he was beaten around badly in his next couple of starts, and after taking a 12-3 loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on August 14th, he was sent back to AAA. He finished at 3-8, 5.83, in what was a highly disappointing season.
Severino showed his star potential in 2017, as he quietly took over the mantle of the Yankees' ace, consistent with a season in which the team was driven by a group of emerging young players. He was 5-4, 3.54 in the first half but was still named to the All-Star team for the first time as an injury replacement, in large part because of his dominant 124 strikeouts in 106 2/3 innings. He then switched to another gear after the break, giving up a total of just 5 runs in 32 2/3 innings over his first five starts, good for an ERA of 0.83, and winning 4 of them. He finished the season at 14-6, 2.98, with 230 strikeouts in 193 1/3 innings, When it came time to chose a starting pitcher for the most important game of the season, the Wild Card Game against the Minnesota Twins at New Yankee Stadium on October 3rd, it was Severino who was Joe Girardi's pick. It was a very rough outing however. He came out with no command of his fastball or breaking pitches, quickly fell behind in the count to lead-off hitter Brian Dozier, and then was stunned when the second baseman jumped on a 99-mph fastball up the middle and drove it to the top of the left field wall for a solo homer. After getting Joe Mauer to pop up, he allowed a swalk to Jorge Polanco, prompting a visit from pitching coach Larry Rothschild and activity in the bullpen. The next batter, Eddie Rosario, hit another homer, to make it 3-0. He then allowed a single to Eduardo Escobar and a double to Max Kepler, and his night was over after just a third of an inning. But Chad Green made a great outing in relief, striking out the next two batters to limit the damage, and then the Yankees' bats took over, with a three-run homer by Didi Gregorius off Ervin Santana in the bottom of the 1st ensuring that he would not be involved in the decision. His short outing had taxed the bullpen, but the Yankees were able to win, 8-4, and move on to the next round. He did a lot better in his next start, in Game 4 of the Division Series against the Cleveland Indians on October 9th, as he pitched 7 innings, giving up 3 runs on 4 hits while striking out 9 to lead the Yankees to a 7-3 win. He made two other starts in the ALCS, losing one, allowing 4 runs in 8 2/3 innings as the Yankees were eliminated by the eventual World Champions, the Houston Astros.
In 2018, he was given the honor of being the Yankees' opening day starter for the first time, being preferred over Masahiro Tanaka. On May 2nd, he recorded the first complete game and shutout of his career in pitching a five-hitter. He did not chose the easiest opponent, either, as he was facing the defending World Series champions, the Astros. He was off to a great start, as the win improved his record to 5-1, 2.11 after 7 starts. He ended up going 19-8, 3.39 in 32 starts, with 220 strikeouts in 191 1/3 innings. He was named to the All-Star Game again and for the second straight year, started the Wild Card Game at home, this time facing the Oakland Athletics on October 3rd. Things went better this time, as he gave up just no hits through the first 4 innings, although he did walk four batters and used a lot of pitches. After allowing his first two hits, back-to-back, in the top of the 5th, he gave way to Dellin Betances, who received credit for the Yankees' 7-2 win. He was back on the mound for Game 3 of the Division Series against the Boston Red Sox on October 8th. This turned out to be one of the turning points of the entire postseason, as the Yanks had managed to take one ofn the first two games at Fenway Park, and with the Red Sox's bullpen appearing shaky, were confidant with the scene having switched to New Yankee Stadium. Severino got through the 1st inning fine, but in the 2nd allowed a run on a pair of singles and a stolen base, then compounded the problems in the 3rd with a couple more runs on three hits. The roof then completely caved in in the 4th, when he allowed the first three batters to reach base, and then gave way to Lance Lynn. Lynn allowed all three inherited baserunners to score as Boston went on to score 7 runs and never looked back after that. Luis was charged with the 16-1 loss, one of the worst in the Yankees' long postseason history.
In spite of his struggles in the postseason, the Yankees were very much counting on Severino to be their ace for the foreseeable future and on February 15, 2019 they signed him to a four-year extension for $40 million, with an option for a fifth season. He was also penciled in as their opening Day starter for the second straight year. However, before that could happen, he was slowed down by shoulder inflammation during spring training, making it highly unlikely he would be ready in time for opening day. Indeed the Yankees announced a couple of weeks later that he would miss all of April. A second MRI on April 8th after suffering a setback in rehab, giving a hint that his absence would be a protracted one. He finally made it back to the majors on September 17th, when he pitched 4 innings in an 8-0 win over the Los Angeles Angels. In all he made 3 starts, going 1-1, 1.50 in 12 innings. he then started Game 3 of the Division Series against the Minnesota Twins on October 7th, pitching 4 scoreless innings in a game that the Yankees won, 5-1, to complete a three-game sweep. He made another start in Game 3 of the ALCS facing the Houston Astros, but was charged with a 4-1 loss after giving up 2 runs in 4 2/3 innings.
Given his solid work at the end of the 2019 season, the Yankees were hoping for Severino to return to form in 2020, but got some bad news at the start of spring training on February 20th, as he was affected by a right forearm strain, a problem that had apparently first surfaced after his ALCS start the previous October. He was shut down as a preventive measure and the Yankees were still hoping that he would be ready for opening day.
In July of 2018, the Yankees signed Luis's younger brother, Rafael Severino, to a contract.
- 2-time AL All-Star (2017 & 2018)
- AL Shutouts Leader (2018)
- 15 Wins Seasons: 1 (2018)
- 200 Strikeouts Season: 2 (2017 & 2018)
- Bryan Hoch: "Severino gaining confidence with every outing: Yanks righty appears ticketed for rotation, delivers solid start against Mets", mlb.com, March 23, 2016. 
- Bob Klapish: "Why the Yankees trust Luis Severino", USA Today Sports, October 2, 2017. 
- Marty Noble: "Severino justifies callup with promising debut: Promoted to fill a spot, not a headline, Yankees' top prospect strong in defeat", mlb.com, August 6, 2015. 
- Jorge L. Ortiz: "The education of Luis Severino: New Yankees ace learns the art of pitching", USA Today Sports, June 19, 2017.