Luis Severino’s recent struggles have brought up eerie, unpleasant memories for New York Yankees fans. Phil Hughes. Joba Chamberlain. Ian Kennedy. Ivan Nova. Manny Banuelos. Andrew Brackman. The past five years have heard the Yankees brass convincing people that their next ace was on the horizon, that their pitching prospects were indeed elite. The sad truth is that not since Andy Pettitte have the Yankees produced a starting pitcher with any sort of staying power.
Severino is going through a rough patch, there is no doubt. By no means should the Yankees give up on him; however, he is in desperate need of adjustments. He has poor command of the strike zone, and his fastball, although fast, doesn’t seem to miss too many bats. Those adjustments were needed by plenty of the Yankees top pitching prospects before him, but none seemed to make them.
The Yankees desperately need one of their top pitching prospects to stick. That’s why Domingo Acevedo can’t be another miss.
Acevedo was signed out of the Dominican Republic by the Yankees in 2012. The then-18-year-old has matured into an intimidating presence on the mound and one of, if not the, hardest throwing pitchers in all of the minor leagues.
He came to the Yankees a tall, lanky teenager at 6-foot-5 and 175 pounds and is now a menacing 6-foot-6, likely 20 to 30 pounds heavier than his listed 190. He uses that frame to power a triple-digit fastball that is lighting up radar guns in in Charleston.
Acevedo is still very underdeveloped. He could as easily become the next Dellin Betances as much as the next Felix Hernandez. It comes down to understanding the strike zone and improving his secondary pitches.
Right now, Acevedo simply overpowers the younger, more undisciplined hitters of Low-A ball. His fastball consistently sits between 95 to 99 miles per hour, and when he really cocks back and unloads he has hit anywhere from 101 to 103. If he wants to succeed at the next step, he needs to learn how to strike advanced hitters out without relying simply on pure gas.
Looking at Acevedo, similarities to current Yankees No. 2 starter Michael Pineda jump out immediately. They have nearly an identical build — Pineda is a tad bit heavier — and they thrive on the fastball. Acevedo’s delivery is long and fluid, but he has no problem repeating his motion. There is little excess motion in his delivery and his high leg kick comes right at the hitter every time, planting down and firing straight heat.
The biggest issue Acevedo will have as he moves up through the ranks will be his secondary offerings. His changeup is considered an above-average pitch, usually coming across the plate in the mid-80s, so he deceives opposing batters with such a drop in velocity. His breaking ball needs the most work. The slider sits in the low to mid-80s, but he is not as consistent with the pitch as he should be. Still at Low-A ball, he has time to work out those kinks before moving to the next level.
For video footage, projections and more on Acevedo’s breakout 2016 so far, head on over to Today’s Knuckleball and read the full article by clicking on the link below: