4 prospects Yankees can rely on to replace Luis Severino

Yankees pitching prospect Clayton Beeter in action for the AAA RailRiders

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The 2023 season seems to be over for Yankees starting pitcher Luis Severino. On Friday night’s game against the Brewers, he experienced intense pain and had to exit with a possible injury.

The Yankees pitcher experienced such intense pain that he immediately released his glove. In response to Severino’s visible discomfort and doubled-over posture, catcher Austin Wells requested a timeout from plate umpire John Libka, even though Brice Turang’s single to left field was still in play. Despite a brief period of labored breathing and pacing on the mound, along with an athletic trainer’s visit, Severino found no relief. He left the field with caution, making his way to the Yankees dugout.

As for whether this marked Severino’s final appearance in a Yankees uniform, that remained uncertain on Friday night following the Yankees’ 8-2 loss to the Milwaukee Brewers. The Yankees stated that the frequently injured right-hander would undergo diagnostic testing on his oblique area on Saturday.

“I feel like somebody shot me,” Severino told reporters, holding back tears. “Like a deep, sharp pain.”

Yankees surprised at Sseverino’s intense pain feeling

Severino conveyed that he hadn’t sensed any preexisting indications of trouble as he delivered his 70th pitch of the game with no outs in the fifth inning. Up until that point, the Yankees starter had displayed a strong performance, accumulating five strikeouts over four innings of work, although he had allowed two runs due to a Willy Adames home run.

Following his remarks to the press, Severino retraced his steps to his locker, where the Yankees starter hung his head and continued to wrestle with his emotions, holding back tears.

“It sucks,” manager Aaron Boone said. “You feel for him.”

Severino, who is set to turn 30 in February, will enter free agency upon the conclusion of the regular season. His contract extension with the Yankees, which had initially held high expectations, turned out to be a significant disappointment.

In the hopes of having Severino as a cornerstone of their starting rotation for years to come, general manager Brian Cashman signed the homegrown talent to a four-year, $40 million extension before the 2019 season. However, Severino’s tenure was plagued by numerous injuries, limiting him to just 26 games (22 starts). Nonetheless, he exhibited glimpses of his former dominance in 2022, boasting a 7-3 record with a 3.18 ERA in 19 starts, prompting the Yankees to activate his $15 million team option for 2023. Unfortunately, this decision backfired, as Severino faced recurring injuries, appearing in only 18 games (17 starts) and registering a 6.65 ERA. At one point, he even referred to himself as the “worst pitcher in the game.”

It appears that Severino will likely seek a fresh start with another team in 2024. If he is unable to make his next scheduled start for the Yankees, the team may need to explore alternative options.

Clayton Beeter, RHP

Clayton Beeter is the highly regarded pitching prospect of the Yankees.
Clayton Beeter/ Insta

Clayton Beeter took the mound on Friday night for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, placing him in the rotation spot previously occupied by Severino. Unfortunately, Beeter’s recent performance has been lackluster. The 24-year-old right-handed pitcher, acquired by the Yankees from the Los Angeles Dodgers during last year’s trade deadline when Joey Gallo was sent the other way, struggled in his most recent outing against the Cleveland Guardians’ affiliate. He allowed seven earned runs in just 4 1/3 innings, contributing to his 5.89 ERA in 12 games, of which 11 were starts, at this level.

Notably, Keith Law of The Athletic ranked Beeter as the Yankees’ 14th-best prospect prior to the start of the regular season. Leading up to Friday’s game, Beeter had displayed an impressive strikeout rate of 10.3 per nine innings but also struggled with control, posting a concerning 5.5 walks per nine innings. Additionally, he yielded two home runs per nine innings. Beeter possesses a fastball with mid-90s velocity and features two breaking balls, one of which is his signature hammer curveball. It’s worth mentioning that the Yankees will need to add him to their 40-man roster during the upcoming offseason to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft.

Randy Vasquez, RHP

Yankees starter Randy Vasquez is pitching against Baltimore at Yankee Stadium on July 5, 2023.

Randy Vsquez, who is 24 years old, had a workload of 50 pitches during his outing on Thursday. Substituting him into Severino’s rotation spot would be a straightforward move for the Yankees, potentially followed by a call-up of a relief pitcher to complement the roster. At the start of this season, The Athletic regarded Vásquez as the Yankees’ 12th-ranked prospect, and his performance in the major leagues has been commendable. Across seven games, four of which were starts, Vásquez has maintained an impressive 2.36 ERA. However, it’s worth noting that his control has been inconsistent, with a 4.4 walks per nine innings rate. Additionally, his 5.47 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) indicates that he might have experienced a bit of luck in his results.

Jhony Brito, RHP

BVM Sports

Jhony Brito, who is 25 years old, has been given 13 starting opportunities and has made appearances in 19 games for the Yankees during this season. In these outings, he has achieved a 4.86 ERA. Notably, he was not included in The Athletic’s list of the top 20 prospects for the Yankees before the season commenced. Lately, the Yankees have employed him as a bulk reliever, a role that might eventually suit him best in the major leagues. Brito possesses a fastball that typically reaches the mid-90s, along with a highly effective high 80s changeup. Moreover, among the young pitchers in the Yankees’ ranks, he exhibits some of the best command. However, it’s worth noting that he doesn’t generate a significant number of strikeouts.

Will Warren, RHP

Will Warren is the Yankees No. 1 pitching prospect.

Warren, aged 24, appears to be the least likely of the Yankees’ young talents to receive an opportunity, although many consider him to possess the highest potential among them. Before the season commenced, he secured the ninth spot on The Athletic’s list of the top Yankees prospects, making him the second-highest-ranked pitcher, following the 19-year-old Luis Serna. Warren had a successful stint at Double-A earlier this year, exhibiting a 2.45 ERA in six starts. However, in 18 starts at Triple-A, he has posted a 4.07 ERA. Recent performances have seen Warren improve, with a 2.48 ERA over his last seven starts, which included a scoreless seven-inning outing on Thursday. It’s important to note that the Yankees are not required to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft until after the upcoming season, so it wouldn’t be advantageous to allocate a 40-man roster spot to him at this time.

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