Can Luis Severino Steal the Cy Young from Favorite Chris Sale?

23- year-old ace has thrown himself into Cy Young contention

(Keith Allison)

Last year was supposed to be Luis Severino’s break out year. After a strong but short rookie season in 2015, the Yankees were relying on Severio to be their young staple in the rotation in 2016. But the Pinstripes quickly realized that would not be the case as Severino opened the campaign with six losses in his first seven starts with a 7.46 ERA. He finished the season with 11 starts, the Yankees losing nine of those games.

Severino moved into the bullpen later in the year and was a completely different pitcher. He was able to focus on only one or two innings of work and was throwing over 100 MPH. In eight September relief appearances, Severino went 2–0 with 19 strikeouts and held opposing batters to a .140 batting average. The Yankees may have found another lethal weapon out of the bullpen, which lost Andrew Miller and Aroldis Chapman to trades.

Fortunately, the Yankees still looked at Severino as a starter and went into this season expecting Severino to bounce back from his rough year. Severino even worked with Red Sox legend Pedro Martinez in the off-season.

The results?

Well, they have been Pedro-esque.

Severino currently sits at 9–4 with a 2.91 ERA and 162 strikeouts. He was named to the All-Star team in July and since the break he has been in formidable form. Over his last five starts, Severino is 4–0 in 32.2 innings pitched with a 0.83 ERA. He has struck out 38 batters and only given up 21 hits.

The key has been Severino’s ability to mix his pitches. He is throwing triple digits late into ball games but his slider and more importantly his changeup are leaving hitters with almost no chance.

This is from his start vs. Cincinnati on July 27.

Chris Sale is the front runner for the AL Cy Young Award. Sale is having an amazing season with a 4.8 WAR but Severino, posting a 4.6 WAR himself and isn’t letting Sale run away with it. Who knows? A misstep by Sale and this could turn into a tight two-man race. Severino already is putting up the stats that will get him CY Young votes.

The Yankees and Red Sox play each other ten more times this year. Those games might determine who will win the AL East but it could also determine which ace takes home the Cy Young.

Follow Steve on Twitter @AngelSteve89