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Player Spotlight: Luis Severino

Luis Severino is set to start his second game of the season for Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre on Friday night against Syracuse at NBT Bank Stadium. According to BaseballAmerica, Severino is considered the number one prospect in the Yankees organization and the 35th best prospect in all of baseball after the 2014 season.

Luis Severino was ranked the Yankees top prospect at the end of the 2014 season.

Luis Severino was ranked the Yankees top prospect at the end of the 2014 season. (Photo credit: Jason Famrer/RailRiders Staff Photographer) 

What’s the buzz about?

In just his fourth professional season, Severino has skyrocketed through the minor leagues. At just 21 years of age, Severino is 16-11 in 58 minor league appearances with an ERA of 2.42 in that time span. Over 264 total innings in the minors, he surrendered only 71 earned runs and 213 hits. Meanwhile, he struck out 276 hitters with an average WHIP of .106. Over his career he played with the Gulf Coast Yankees, the Charleston RiverDogs, the Tampa Yankees and the Trenton Thunder. Severino started the season in Double-A with the Trenton Thunder but was called up to the RailRiders. The Domincan Republic native made eight starts for the Thunder this season. He held a record of 2-2 with an ERA just above three at 3.36 in 2015. In 38 innings, the right-hander fanned 48 hitters and only allowed 10 walks. Over two seasons with Trenton, Severino recorded 77 strikeouts in just 63 innings.

What does he throw?

At the moment, Severino is primarily a two-pitch pitcher with a mid-90s fastball and a changeup. However, he continues to develop a slider to mix in a third pitch. Normally, a starter who only throws two pitches does not experience too much success. What makes Severino so special is the movement he has on both his fastball and his changeup. His pitches tail down and away from lefties and down and in to righties at the plate. It is very similar to a sinker, but is not considered a true sinker. The sinking action does create a lot of groundballs and groundball pitchers are always top priority with short fences in Yankee Stadium. The changeup is especially deadly since Severino can take off 10 M.P.H. off his secondary pitch. With the tailing action, it looks exactly like his fastball so it is easy for hitters to be fooled and swing ahead of the pitch. His slider is the only pitch that needs work. Severino throws the pitch from a different arm angle, which can be easily identified by the better, more veteran hitters in the Majors. However, seeing as he is only 21, he has time to perfect his craft before reaching that level.

What to watch for?

Severino is one step away from the big leagues and with a few impressive outings with the RailRiders could find himself on the Yankees Major League roster before long. He has a very good chance to make it this season based on the amount of injuries to the starting rotation that New York is experiencing this year. Masahiro Tanaka was just taken off the disabled list with a forearm injury while C.C. Sabathia suffered injuries over the past two years of his career. If any of the starting five go down with an injury and Severino shines in Triple-A, he could be making an impact as early as next month. But for today, Severino is seeking his first Triple-A victory in today’s game against Syracuse. Come catch all the excitement at NBT Bank Stadium at 7:05 p.m., but if you can’t, you can listen live on The Score 1260 A.M.

Triple-A Trickledown: Louisville Bats

Triple-A Trickledown is back for a third time in 2015 as the Louisville Bats finish up a three-game set with the Syracuse Chiefs at NBT Bank Stadium. After a rain out on Monday, Syracuse dropped both games of a doubleheader on Tuesday to Louisville. The Chiefs look to bounce back and take the final game of the series on Wednesday morning.

Catchers: Ramon Cabrera and Chris Berset

Ramon Cabrera is the everyday catcher for the Louisville Bats since the promotion of Tucker Barnhart to the Reds. Barnhart played only five games with Louisville before his promotion to the majors. Since then, Cabrera started 30 games behind home plate in his first season for the Louisville Bats and his first season in Triple-A since 2013 when he played in 39 games for the Toledo Mud Hens. Cabrera hits for average at the plate and he is not highly sought after for his defensive skills behind the plate. The 25-year old from Venezuela is hitting .273 with 12 RBIs for Louisville so far in 2015.

First Base: Chris Dominguez and Josh Satin

Warning: The Bats have a ton of corner infielders that spend time at both first and third base. These are just the most prevalent players at each position. Chris Dominguez is familiar with the Louisville area having played for the Louisville Cardinals for four years during his college career. In 2009, he was drafted to the San Fransisco Giants. Dominguez found his way to Triple-A by his third season in professional baseball and made his major league debut in 2014 with the team that drafted him. This season, Dominguez has three at-bats in the majors for the Reds but is refining his skills in Triple-A. His competition is Josh Satin and corner infielder Ivan De Jesus. Satin just came off the disabled list yesterday and appeared in his first game since May 15th. At the moment, Dominguez has the upper hand since he is on the 40-man roster and has not battled any injuries.

Second Base: Irving Falu

A 13-year veteran in professional baseball, Falu is surging this season for the Louisville Bats. The 31-year old played in parts of three seasons for the Kansas City Royals, Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego Padres. After a hot start with Kansas City at the end of 2012 where he hit .341 in 24 games, he did not continue that success. His most recent stint ended after 11 games with the Padres in 2014 where he went 3-20 (.150) for San Diego. This year, Falu is more consistent at the plate in Triple-A. The second-basemen is 10th in the league in hitting posting a .316 batting average in 36 games. Falu does not hit for power but can get his bat on the ball and get on base. He has to hit with more consistency in the majors if he wants to find a spot on the Cincinnati team. Especially with Brandon Phillips holding the everyday spot for the Reds at second base.

Third Base: Hernan Iribarren and Ivan De Jesus

Trading time at third, Ivan De Jesus and Hernan Iribarren are primarily at the hot corner. Iribarren is in his seventh season in Triple-A since he signed as an International free agent from Venezuela in 2002. The 30-year old only tasted the majors for 12 games with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2009 but is a career Triple-A player since then. This season marks the second for Iribarren in a Louisville uniform. So far, Iribarren is reaching base a lot with a .270 batting average and a .360 on base percentage. He is third on the team in runs scored with 18 in 28 games played this season. Iribarren holds great value for the Bats as well since he can play multiple positions on the diamond. He appeared at four different positions for Louisville this season. Son of former major leaguer Ivan De Jesus, Ivan De Jesus Jr. is having a stellar season for the Bats. De Jesus is fifth in hits in the International League as he collected 55 hits in his first 48 games for Louisville this season and is hitting .309. However, the two positions that De Jesus plays are currently occupied by two all stars in Cincinnati. Todd Frazier and Joey Votto are not going anywhere anytime soon, but De Jesus could be a valuable backup if any of the two went down with an injury. The fact that he can play both corner infield positions makes him a valuable asset in the Reds farm system

Ivan De Jesus is a corner infielder for the Bats this season. (Photo credit: Pat Pfister/Pfoto.com)

Ivan De Jesus is a corner infielder for the Bats this season. (Photo credit: Pat Pfister/Pfoto.com)

Shortstop: Eugenio Suarez

Suarez was one of two pieces traded to the Reds from the Tigers for Alfredo Simon in the offseason. The other was Jonathon Crawford who is still working his way up the lower totem of the minors. After just 12 games in Triple-A, Suarez got his break for Detroit last season when Jose Iglesias saw his season fall short with stress fractures in both of his shins. Suarez did a solid job at short for the Tigers. At only 22, he hit .242 in 85 games with 14 extra base hits and 23 runs batted in. Now at 23, Suarez is consistently getting on base for the Bats and is scoring runs. In fact, he leads the team in walks with 23 and home runs with seven and is second on the team in runs scored with 24. Suarez is one of two Louisville infielders on the 40-man roster along with Chris Dominguez.

Outfield: Yorman Rodriguez, Steve Selsky, Ryan LaMarre and Bryson Smith

Yorman Rodriguez is the only healthy outfielder on the 40-man roster in 2015. Donald Lutz is also on the 40-man roster but is sidelined for the season after having Tommy John Surgery. Rodriguez has also been the most consistent outfielder as he has started the most games in the outfield of any Bat on the roster. The 22 year old was called up from Double-A to the majors for 11 games in 2014. According to BaseballAmerica, Rodriguez is the 10th best prospect in the Reds’ farm system. He leads Louisville in runs scored and is second in runs batted in. Rodriguez is hitting for power so far this season with 18 extra base hits, including 10 doubles and five home runs.

Steve Selsky is quietly having a very good season for Louisville. Selsky has not reached the majors yet in his career and is in his second season in Triple-A. In 55 games last season for Louisville, Selsky hit .240 with 11 RBIs. This season he has turned it up a notch. After 35 games in 2015, Selsky already has more runs batted in than he did last season with 20. That figure is second on Louisville behind Chris Dominguez’s 22 runs batted in. Selsky is second in slugging with a .434 mark heading into Tuesday’s doubleheader.

Starters: Dylan Axelrod, David Holmberg, Donovan Hand, Jon Moscot, and Josh Smith

The Louisville pitching staff as a whole has been fairly poor through the first 50 games of the season. The Bats are ranked just above Toledo for second-to-last in the International League with a 4.12 ERA. Louisville allowed 199 runs and 28 home runs while ranking last in strikeouts with only 316 in 435 innings in 2015.

However, Jon Moscot is sticking out like a sore thumb amongst the five-man rotation that Bats send out. Moscot leads the league with seven wins and holds a 3.15 ERA in 54 and one-third innings. Moscot is in his first full season in Triple-A after posting three starts in 2014. The 23-year old is making the most of his time with the Bats. The 6’4” right-hander won his first six contests this season.

David Holmberg and Josh Smith are the only two starters on the 40-man roster for the Bats in 2015. Holmberg is just 23 and has tremendous upside. Just like Moscot, Holmberg also stands at 6’4” but he is a lefty rather than a righty. He made his major league debut with Cincinnati in 2014 and this year is 3-3 with a 4.73 ERA in nine starts. Josh Smith is not as tall as Moscot and Holmberg. He stands just an inch shorter at 6’3”. The right-hander was sent down to Double-A Pensacola earlier in the season but after dominating through four starts for the Blue Wahoos, Smith got the promotion to Louisville on May 9th. In 5 starts for the Bats in 2015, Smith is 1-2 with a 3.81 ERA in 28 and one-third innings.

Jon Moscot leads the International League in wins in 2015 for Louisville (Photo credit: Pat Pfister/Pfoto.com)

Jon Moscot leads the International League in wins in 2015 for Louisville (Photo credit: Pat Pfister/Pfoto.com)

Relievers: Nate Adcock, Jose De La Torre, Pedro Villarreal, Sam LeCure, Carlos Contreras and Drew Hayes

Carlos Contreras and Pedro Villarreal are the only two healthy relievers on the 40-man roster in June. Matt Magill is also on the list but is on the disabled list. Contreras is only 24 and made his major league debut for the Reds last season. In his first major league appearance, he only threw nine pitches and recorded a strikeout. He is lights out in the Bats’ bullpen as well. In 13 innings, Contreras allowed only 4 runs and fanned 21 hitters. He is not untouchable but is certainly hard to hit. Pedro Villarreal is now in the bullpen in Triple-A. However, the Reds tried to make him a starter at one point in his career and made one major league start for the Reds in his career. Cincinnati found a better home for him in the late innings out of the bullpen. Villarreal pitched in 20 innings so far this season and has allowed nine runs. His strikeout numbers are a bit low at 16 and he’s pitched to a WHIP of 1.59.

Two other relievers to keep an eye on are Jose De La Toore and Nate Adcock. De La Torre is used primarily as the set-up man and is second in the International League with six holds in 18 games. However, his numbers besides that are a little concerning. He’s surrendered 13 earned runs in 22 and one-third innings of relief and only struck out 14 hitters in that time frame. Opponents are hitting .232 against De La Torre as well. Meanwhile, Nate Adcock is lights out in the ninth for Louisville. Adcock is second in the International League with 10 saves. He holds a WHIP of 1.15 and is holding opposing hitters to a .217 batting average in 21 and two-thirds innings. Adcock appeared in the majors in parts of three seasons and is working his way back after a seven-game stint with the Texas Rangers in 2014.

That’s all for Triple-A Trickledown for the Louisville Bats. I hope you enjoyed the third edition. Thanks for reading. See you next time- Broadcast Intern Andrew Grella.

Inside the Locker Room: Emmanuel Burriss

Hey Chiefs fans! Welcome to the first edition of Inside the Locker Room, a feature on a different Chiefs player each week or every other week. The piece takes a look at how each player got their start in baseball and what influenced them to keep playing and finally make it to the Chiefs organization. First up, shortstop Emmanuel Burriss!

On April 20, 2008, Emmanuel Burriss made his MLB debut for the San Francisco Giants. Twenty-three years in the making, Burriss had now accomplished his ultimate goal of playing in the major leagues. Since his debut for the Giants, Burriss has played in parts of five MLB seasons, and is now in his second season in Syracuse for the Washington Nationals organization.

The Chiefs’ shortstop has had a head for baseball since he was a young child. Burriss grew up in a family of baseball lovers, with his father, Allen, being his primary influence. Starting at age four, Burriss played baseball in his house or outside with his dad and uncles. Then, when he was eight, Burriss began playing organized baseball under his dad as a coach, and has not stopped playing since. Even with his dad coaching, Burriss took the game into his own hands, emulating the likes of Ken Griffey, Roberto Alomar, Cal Ripken, Jr., Lenny Dykstra and Kenny Lofton.

Emmanuel Burriss makes a leaping catch at shortstop. (Photo Credit: Rick Nelson)

Emmanuel Burriss makes a leaping catch at shortstop. (Photo Credit: Rick Nelson)

“I tried to do everything that all of them did,” Burriss noted when talking about his baseball role models as a child. The players Burriss loved to watch, Griffey, Ripken, Jr., Dykstra Lofton, and his favorite, Alomar, each brought their own “excitement, aggressiveness, speed, electricity to their team.” According to Burriss, “They would do anything to win a ballgame.”

Alomar was Burriss’ favorite simply because Burriss “loved everything he did.” Not only did Burriss emulate these major league greats, but he also watched highlight reels of the best yearly plays over and over, studying how professional ballplayers were able to make such incredible plays.

From eight until 11 years old, Burriss played catcher. As a middle schooler, Burriss changed from behind the plate to being an infield utility man, and finally to his position at shortstop when he was 14. The future Chiefs shortstop played high school baseball for Woodrow Wilson High School in Washington, D.C., where the team won four consecutive league championships with Burriss in the lineup. It was in high school that Burriss solidified baseball as his primary sport over basketball, due to improvement in his defensive ability.

After high school, Burriss went to college at Kent State in Ohio where he began to see adult speed and learned to switch-hit. Never a true power hitter, becoming a switch hitter “only made sense” for Burriss. And, with his newfound speed, Burriss “figured [he] might as well be one step closer to first if [he’s] on the left side of the plate.”

Burriss learned how to switch hit and hit from the left side during his career at Kent State University in Ohio. (Photo Credit: Rick Nelson)

Burriss learned how to switch hit and hit from the left side during his career at Kent State University in Ohio. (Photo Credit: Rick Nelson)

Following his junior year with Kent State, the San Francisco Giants drafted Burriss in the first round of the 2006 supplemental draft. Being drafted was something Burriss “had wanted since [he] was eight years old.”

Two years later, Burriss finally lived his dream and stepped on to a major league field for the first time as a major league baseball player. When he found out that the Giants wanted him in the majors, Burriss was surprised.

“All of it was such a shock because it was unexpected to me,” Burriss reflected. “I can’t believe this is happening.”

Looking back on his childhood playing baseball, Burriss believes he was always one step ahead of his teammates because of how much he knew about the game. Burriss would “go over every small detail that the players would do” to burn in his mind how the professionals were so successful.

Burriss is a student of the game, studying baseball greats from a young age. (Photo Credit: Rick Nelson)

Burriss is a student of the game, studying baseball greats from a young age. (Photo Credit: Rick Nelson)

“I think at an early age I knew how to play, what plays need to be made, and how the game worked before a lot of kids my age,” Burriss said. “I think that helped me stay one step above everyone else.

Now, with the Chiefs, Emmanuel Burriss is at shortstop for almost every game, playing with a smile on his face, something he did not always do as a kid. Burriss now realizes how stressful the game of baseball can be, but for a kid, he thinks it should be all about having fun.

— Josh Hess, Broadcast Intern

Stuff You’ll Like: May 27th

Good morning from the waterside in Norfolk, where the Chiefs and Tides play game three of four tonight at 6:35. Some things to know before then…

– Highlights of last night’s 3-1 Norfolk win.

– The newest edition of Teammates in a Glove, with veteran reliever Rich Hill.

– USA Today’s Will Leitch, hoping last night’s FIFA arrests are a sign of good things to come.

– In case you missed it last week, HBO’s John Oliver (NSFW – some language) had some fun with FIFA president Sepp Blatter’s bid for re-election.

– My new favorite Twitter account.

Chiefs and Tides at 6:35 tonight. See you then.

KB

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