Washington Nationals: Pedro Severino falters badly after fast start to 2018

WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 7: Pedro Severino #29 of the Washington Nationals scores a run Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on April 7, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - APRIL 7: Pedro Severino #29 of the Washington Nationals scores a run Atlanta Braves at Nationals Park on April 7, 2018 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images) /

The next player to get their 2018 report card is Washington Nationals catcher, Pedro Severino. He started well but ended up faltering badly most of the year.

The District on Deck 2018 report card series continues on as we review each member of the Washington Nationals. Pedro Severino is next up, and after a strong start to 2018, he faded badly, and now his 40-man roster spot is in jeopardy.

He started the season in Triple-A, before being recalled after a few days on April 2nd when Matt Wieters hit the DL. Then when Wieters returned, he maintained his spot on the roster, beating out Miguel Montero as he looked very much like the catcher of the future for a short time.

However, an almighty slump followed, and when Wieters came back from a second injury, Spencer Kieboom had won management’s favor, so Severino was optioned back to the minors. He finished the season with a measly slash line of .168/.254/.247 as well as two home runs and 15 RBI in 70 games.

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The Positives for Severino

With that gruesome slash line that Severino had to finish the season, it often gets overlooked that he was actually pretty good with the bat to start off with. Through his first 25 games in 2018, the young backstop was slashing a much more respectable .270/.382/.351 showing good plate discipline with 11 walks to 18 strikeouts. That line is closer to his minor league numbers from this past season too as he slashed .269/.294/.462, so the talent with the bat is in there somewhere and, in theory, has a chance to at least be respectable.

His defense, which has generally been his calling card throughout the system, was also looking promising during his hot streak with the bat. We took a deep dive into the stats back on May 12th, and at that time, according to Fangraphs, he was sixth in Defensive Runs Saved in the majors in 3, ranked sixth in overall defense for catchers, with at least 160 innings. Max Scherzer was also vocal about Severino’s game calling at that time, so again, there’s something in there, even if we only saw it briefly to begin the year.

Areas for Improvement

For all the talk of how good Pedro Severino was to start with, on the flip side, he was woeful from May 19th onwards as he slashed a pitiful .103/.161/.181 after his hot start. The plate discipline completely failed him with 30 strikeouts compared to just seven walks and resulted in a negative wRC+ of -17, which is almost impressive to be that low. It just seemed as though he started chasing pitches as his swing percentage jumped from 44.5 percent before May 19th to 51.5 percent afterward. As a result, hit more groundballs with his groundball percentage going from 35.1 percent to 44.0 percent in the same time period.

With his bat is disarray, it seemed as though his glove suffered at the same time too, as the youngster struggled through a prolonged slump. After May 15th, he recorded a -2 DRS after doing so well behind the plate and pitchers seemed to lose their rhythm with him behind the plate. It’s not entirely clear what exactly went wrong behind the plate, but there’s a fair chance that the struggles at the plate got into his head, and he was trying to overthink too many things at the same time, which caused his defensive performance to fade.

The Final Grade

After appearing to be the catcher of the future with the team for a while now, Pedro Severino will enter 2019 with his roster spot in jeopardy. If the Nats bring in another catcher to pair with Kieboom then the Dominican, who is now out of options, could easily be jettisoned from the team.

While there’s no way he can be as bad as he was in 2018, he just hasn’t shown enough in his big league time to warrant sticking around. Severino couldn’t have had a worse season at a worse time, and may pay the price. F

F. . C. Washington Nationals. PEDRO SEVERINO

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Remember to keep an eye out for more Washington Nationals 2018 Report Cards during the upcoming weeks here at District on Deck.