KC Royals can use Severino injury as cautionary tale

Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images /

As the New York Yankees’ young stud pitcher is slated to be on the shelf for the entire 2020 season, it’s important the KC Royals learn from that situation.

Young pitchers are valuable to all 30 Major League Baseball franchises. More importantly: Good young pitchers are nearly impossible to put a value on. The KC Royals already have one solid youngster in the rotation, and a few more should be joining the ranks over the next two seasons. Mike Matheny and his fellow coaches can learn from Luis Severino and the New York Yankees.

Severino, who recently turned 26, was excellent in 2017 and 2018. Combining to post a 33-14 record with a 3.18 ERA in 384.2 innings, he emerged as one of the best young starters in all of baseball. He sat on the injured list for nearly all of last season, though, but managed to return in September.

After rehabbing from his shoulder and back injuries a year ago, Severino was never quite the same and ended up suffering a UCL injury which was recently fixed with Tommy John surgery this week. Mike Calendrillo of Yanks Go Yard recently broke down how the Severino situation can be a perfect cautionary tale for offering early extensions to impressive young players. This is something the KC Royals should take note of.

Players like Brad Keller and Adalberto Mondesi have been impressive at times throughout their respective tenures with the team. Their potential is obvious. Despite that, Keller hasn’t quite taken the leap many hoped for and Mondesi hasn’t been able to stay healthy for an entire season. While extending either of them now (or soon) could turn out to be a bargain, it could also backfire.

This also applies directly to the organization’s crop of young pitchers. Brady Singer (who we recently wrote about), Daniel Lynch, Jackson Kowar, Kris Bubic and a few others have the potential to impact the major league team in a huge way, starting in the next year or two. Pressure will be on them to help lead the next wave of contending Kansas City Royals.

With that pressure, though, the franchise should exercise cautious optimism. Pushing one or more of these guys too hard could set the team back. Offering early extensions is great, but they have to come with an understanding that they’re far from certain to pan out value-wise. Every move in baseball is a calculated risk.

The Royals know what they’re doing. The past few drafts have produced a core that is undoubtedly solid at the very least. Combine that with the players already on the MLB squad, and you’ve got a recipe for (eventual) success.

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Injury and contract management will be huge factors in how things play out. Hopefully, for our sake, both fall in the KC Royals’ favor.