Checking in on Severino Gonzalez

Ever since his breakout last year, Severino Gonzalez has been a source of much discussion. There have debates not just about his ceiling and profile, but also about how that profile fits into the value scale of a major league team. Last night Severino made his 6th start of the season, and while it is too early to write any conclusions in stone, we can start to look at emerging trends.

So lets start with the overall stats:

2013 25 103.2 2 2.23 0.31 0.43 1.91 10.33
2014 6 34.1 3.67 3.23 0.311 0.52 1.83 6.82

Obviously none of the 2014 stats have reached the point of stabilization.  Overall his numbers are down, but they aren’t off the charts bad, and given his one bad start they are actually pretty good.


Moving from overall, lets look at balls in play.

2013 31.7 18.3 36.3 10.7
2014 37.1 16.2 35.2 9.5

Yet again, there isn’t a lot of movement.  There are some differences (an increase in GB rate), but we don’t have enough data to say it is permanent.  If he can keep a higher GB rate, it will help to limit the potential high home run totals posed by his raw stuff.

So if the batted ball data is pretty consistent, than the strikeout rate is where we want to look next.  Here is the difference between strikeouts swinging and looking from last year to this year.

2013 22.4 6.9
2014 12.1 5.7

That is a sharp dropoff in strikeout swinging percentage, and from last year we can see that he was at 30.8 KS% in Lakewood and down to 20.5 % in Clearwater.  I don’t know that Severino will stay down at 12%, but for reference Jonathan Pettibone was at 11.7% in his year in Reading.  The main culprit here is the lack of swing miss stuff, at the higher levels pitches like Gonzalez’s curveball are going to fool hitters and more advanced hitters aren’t going chase pitches on the margins on the zone.  This all being said, this really just translates to Gonzalez to being more of a 6 K/9 guy as opposed to a 9 K/9 player he was in 2014.


The other big concern for Severino was his fastball velocity.  Unfortunately all I have on fastball velocity comes from 2 of Severino’s starts attended by Crashburn Alley’s Eric Longenhagen that had him 88-90, touching 92 and 88-91, with the caveat that Severino was more around 86 towards the later innings.  This isn’t a game stopper, it certainly limits the overall ceiling and ability to miss bats.

Overall, Severino is off to a good start to the year.  He was never going to put up the video game numbers from last year, but he can still put up a successful season with a lesser statistical season.  The big things to watch going forward with Severino is whether the fastball velocity is consistent from start to start, or whether he loses it over the course of the season.  The other thing is whether he can continue to refine his cutter, which looks to have plus potential, and other secondary offerings to offset the lack of fastball velocity.  I still think that at best Severino is a #4/#5 starter in the major leagues, but he can do a lot for his value if he can make that a safer bet.

About Matt Winkelman

Matt is originally from Mt. Holly, NJ, but after a 4 year side track to Cleveland for college he now resides in Madison, WI. His work has previously appeared on Phuture Phillies and The Good Phight. You can read his work at Phillies Minor Thoughts

20 thoughts on “Checking in on Severino Gonzalez

  1. Unfortunately I see a lot similarities to Julio Rodriguez. A key will be in the success of developing other pitches. A back of the rotation upside?

    1. JRod’s fastball was a grade worse than Severino. Additionally Rodriguez never had anywhere close to the command or control of Severino (4.0 career BB/9). If anything I would say he compares more to Austin Hyatt who was 87-93 with a plus pitch (Hyatt changeup, Sev cutter?). Hyatt’s max effort delivery ultimately cost him his control and his career.

      And yes back of the rotation upside (which isn’t a bad thing if you are paying the Roberto Hernandez’s of the world).

    2. I go more with Tyler Cloyd and Elizardo Ramirez as comps from past Philly pitchers, especially Ramirez. The lack of swing and miss stuff means he has to really be good on command to succeed. JRod was different in that he was a big kid that we all thought had some projection left (he did not unfortunately). Plus, his swing and miss at lower levels was not based as much on command and changing speeds as it was an odd slow curveball that gave inexperienced hitters problems but better hitters would ignore.

      I have been pleasantly surprised with Seve’s start. K rate was going to go down especially if you do not include the Lakewood stats. But he is still succeeding and not really giving up too many home runs in what could have been a rough transition. Another comp I thought of was Austin Hyatt who ended up getting killed by the long ball at Reading.

      1. THus far Sev’s HR rate is up, but not drastically. Then again, it’s still cool in Reading and the HRs don’t really start to fly until the weather warms up. Come July, we’ll have a far more accurate read on whether or not Sev’s stuff plays at this level.

        1. Yeah but reading isnt a far representation, look what its done for some hitters that are less than average , Mike Rizzoti or how ever you spell his name comes to mind, and there are a few more who are escaping my memory right now

          1. Not sure what your point is here. Yes Reading is a good HR park and if Seve keeps the rate close to what it has been so far that will be good. As for bringing up older players with good offensive stats I don’t think that means much. If they were 22 years old putting up the stats that might mean Reading is a bad representation. But they are older AAAA players putting up good stats. There is really nothing uncommon about that other than Reading adds a little to everyone’s power stats, prospect or non prospect.

            1. read Allentown , he is using Reading as a determination whether or not Sev is up to task by judging his HR totals in a park that might add 5-10 HR that any other would not , so that is all I meant , If he gets hit around consistently not just cheap HR that are infield flys in any other park (exaggeration, relax) than there is any issue but HR in Reading is kinda unfair to use that as your yard stick

    3. Your are right on it. Julio Rodriguez , just not enough velo from this 2 arms Severino 87-88 guy. Touches 90 once in a while

  2. Another thing , Sev was rated as like the 5 highest prospect on the farm and he is a fringe starter , ouch !

      1. Like you said earlier….if he is a 5th that is not all that unacceptable, since the dollars are saved from going out and spending for it.

  3. It’s early, but a 17% strikeout rate doesn’t do much to allay concerns about his stuff.

  4. Love Sev’s walk rate though. When’s the last time we had a starter prospect with that kind of control?

  5. For me Sev was 13th in my prospect ranking the K rate just isn’t strong enough when compared with the Velo reports. That’s not to say he can’t be something to the equivalent of KK but there is the possibility he could be Tyler Cloyd.

    You can kind of move through the minors with a decent K rate and low velocity because many guys are seeing you for the first time but by the time you hit the majors and start facing better hitters and get the advanced scouting and video incorporated things can change in a hurry.

    Good command can only take you so far. Now the flip side if one was looking for upside would be movement. If he gets a lot of movement out of 88-90 and he commands it that’s a pretty good indicator he could stick. This seasons sample isn’t large enough yet but his lefty righty splits are .143 and .318.

  6. As I said yesterday, the real issue with Sev is whether he can add a few MPH as he gets older (he’s young enough for that to happen). His command/control is exceptional and he throws several pitches. At worst, he’s a nice game manager #5. If he can add a few ticks on the radar gun, he could be a lot more than that.

    All of that said, I find it very depressing that we’re lavishing so much attention on this pretty borderline major league prospect. If we had several good pitching prospects, he’d just be on the radar screen as a guy to watch, but little more than that. Right now, as far as I can tell, the only really good pitching prospects we have are Giles and Biddle – that’s it, except, perhaps, for Martin. Pettibone, Buchanan and Gonzalez, are okay prospects in the sense that they will probably end up being major leaguers. There are a few other guys to watch (Mecias, Anderson), but their futures are extremely speculative at this point. This is the worst overall collection of pitching prospects that the team has assembled in quite some time. It’s reminiscent of some of the dead years in the late 80s and early to mid 90s. I am hoping to God that the best player available with the 7th pick is a pitcher.

    1. They had a top 100 guy in Morgan that went down and a high draft pick in Watson who’s also on the shelf. Hopefully one of them can get back on the mound soon. And whatever happened to Mitch Gueller? Is he pitching in XST?

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