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Around the Empire: Yankees News - 2/4/19

Paxton among sleeper Cy Young picks; Severino ranked eighth best starting pitcher in MLB; Boston’s bullpen a glaring weakness

MLB: Seattle Mariners at New York Yankees Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports | Matt Kelly: Staying on the mound has been an issue for James Paxton throughout his career, but when he’s been able to pitch, he has more or less dominated the competition. With the proviso that he enjoys a healthy year, Paxton gets a shoutout here as a potential Cy Young winner in 2019. I have a soft spot for talented but oft-injured players, and Paxton fits that bill to a tee. Here’s hoping he can avoid the DL and carry over his success from Seattle to the Bronx. Speaking of Yankee starters, Luis Severino was ranked as the eighth best pitcher in the game by MLB Network. The numbers certainly back this up, as Sevy ranks fifth in FIP- (67), seventh in K-BB% (22.6), and fifth in fWAR (11.4) over the past two seasons. Certainly, his horrific second half and pitch-tipping issues last year are cause for concern. However, when you look at his overall body of work, it’s impossible to call Severino anything other than an ace, and one of the best pitchers in the game today.

CBS Sports | Mike Axisa: The Yankees’ starting rotation is good, but their bullpen is even better. The same cannot be said of the Red Sox’ relief corps, who have lost Joe Kelly and still have yet to replace Craig Kimbrel. Their top five currently reads as follows: Matt Barnes, Ryan Brasier, Heath Hembree, Tyler Thornburg, and Brandon Workman. That sounds like a bullpen that the Yankees’ lineup can take advantage of...provided, of course, that they can work the count and force Boston’s starters to leave early.