With the departure of Dellin Betances and the trading of Nestor Cortes Jr., the New York Yankees will be looking to supplement their losses with youth, so it seems. With Josh Hader likely off the table, the bullpen needs a bit more longevity if the Yankees are keen on replicating last year’s success.
The New York Yankees have one young pitcher they can rely on in the bullpen:
One of the lowkey pitchers that could leave their mark on the 2020 season is Jonathan Loaisiga. At 25-years-old, Loaisiga is preparing to pitch in his third season with the Yankees, and while he has featured in a starting role at times, his tenure with the Bombers seems to land him in the bullpen, where he pitched 31.2 innings with a 4.55 ERA in 2019 (four starts included).
However, despite Loaisiga’s struggles in the hit category (averaged a hit allowed every inning he pitched), he’s still developing his style. At just 5-foot-11, 165-pounds, the Nicaraguan’s frame does not give him an intimidating stance, but he still manages to put plenty of power behind his pitches.
Loaisiga averaged 96.8 mph on his fastball and 84.2 mph on his curveball last season, giving him reliable speed. His accuracy was the primary problem, which led to a high-contact rate for hitters and increased the probability of hits. His style, though, is similar to Betances’ — a blend of fastballs and curveballs. Loaisiga, through his fastball 47.7% of the time in 2019 and 30.8% with his curveball.
Relying on just two pitches makes him more effective in the bullpen, as hitters can quickly begin to decipher his tendencies after a few at-bats. It’s important to note that his four starts undoubtedly affected his ERA. As stated above, his dominant two pitches are easily understood by batters who can then take advantage. Utilizing Loaisiga in the bullpen is far more beneficial for the Yankees, who can use him situationally.
The Yankees are taking massive steps regarding their strength and conditioning programs, which should benefit Loaisiga, a player who has succumbed to injuries in the past. Increasing the overall health of the starting pitching rotation and bullpen should allow the young arm to earn more reps.