According to Yankees' journeyman catcher Erik Kratz, there's a difference between being a no. 1 starter and being an ace. Kratz holds the term 'ace' for only the very best.
While Luis Severino isn't a true ace in Kratz's eyes yet, the catcher has no doubt that the 24-year-old is on his way to joining the likes of Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels and Cliff Lee.
"Obviously everybody sees his stuff," Kratz said, via John Harper of NY Daily News. "But his confidence in throwing it where he wants to is up there with some of the best guys that I've caught - guys like Halladay and Lee and Hamels. None of them were like Seve in the way they pitched, but they had that same uncanny ability to throw all of their pitches where they needed. It comes from a confidence that can take a guy like him to the very top."
Last season, Severino finished third in Cy Young voting by going 14-6 with a 2.98 ERA. The young pitcher exceeded all expectations and was one of the reasons the Yankees were ahead of schedule in their rebuild.
This offseason, the Yankees decided not to throw money at Yu Darvish or trade for Gerrit Cole. This season, Severino will have the expectations of a man leading the staff of a World Series contender. One day, according to Kratz, he could be an ace rather than just a no. 1.
"There's a big difference between a No. 1 starter and an ace," Kratz said. "To me there are probably only about seven aces in the big leagues, but I think if you're a bonafide No. 1, it's that confidence I'm talking about that lifts you to ace status. So I can't say Seve is there yet, after basically one year, but I don't have any doubt he's getting there."