Pedro Severino is going to see plenty of time behind the plate now that Matt Wieters had surgery on his left hamstring, so it’s a good thing the 24-year-old catcher has had time to familiarize himself with the Washington Nationals’ pitching staff.
“He’s going to be our starting catcher now for a while,” Max Scherzer told reporters after he worked with Severino in Arizona last weekend, before Wieters’ surgery, when he was just on the Disabled List awaiting a more thorough look at the leg.
“This is [Severino’s] opportunity to show the world how good he is,” Scherzer continued.
“I love pitching to him. I love [him] back there, I love his energy. He does some great stuff.
“He’s got great instincts back there ... and we’re really getting on the same page of how we want to sequence guys, how we take a scouting report and implement it, and he did a great job back there.”
Davey Martinez praised Severino’s work behind the plate in Stephen Strasburg’s start on the road in Chase Field, telling reporters that after Strasburg was wild out of the gate, “Sevy did a good job with him. He really did. Got him back in the strike zone.”
In 25 games, 21 starts, Severino has .274/.386/.356 line on the season, with six doubles, 11 walks, and 17 Ks in 88 plate appearances, and he’s thrown out seven of 18 would-be base stealers this season (39% CS%).
Severino didn’t make the Opening Day roster out of Spring Training, with the Nats opting to go with veteran backup Miguel Montero, but Wieters’ first DL stint of the season provided Severino with an opportunity he took advantage of, as Martinez explained early last month.
“I like Pedro. I’ve always liked Pedro,” Martinez said.
“When we sent him down it wasn’t a demotion, it was getting him ready to play and having him play every day, but he’s doing great. I talked to him today in the office and told him how good he’s doing, just keep it up. He’s learning the pitchers, calling a good game, he’s doing everything right, so I love what I see out of him.”
Montero ended up getting DFA’d when Wieters returned, with Martinez once again praising the young catcher, and talking about the growth he’s seen from him even since the end of Spring Training.
“What I like about Sevy is he took what we told him in Spring Training to heart, and he’s working every day to get to know the pitching staff,” Martinez explained, as quoted by Washington Post writer Chelsea Janes.
“And that’s the biggest thing for us, calling pitches and working with the pitchers. And he’s done that and he’s done it well. And I’m getting a lot of feedback saying that he’s done a great job so as long as he continues doing that — hitting comes and goes.”
Are the Nationals comfortable with Severino and Spencer Kieboom, who was called up in the wake of Weiters’ latest injury, or will they be back in the market for a backstop when a timetable for Wieters’ return is established?