On Sunday afternoon, the New York Yankees fell short to the Tampa Bay Rays, 7-9, dropping the Yanks record to 0-2 in Spring Training.
Yes, they have now lost back-to-back games, but in the grand scheme of things, Spring Training doesn’t remotely indicate how this team will perform in the regular season.
However, there is at least one positive takeaway that should excite any and all die-hard Yankee fans…and that prime positive is Jonathan Loaisiga.
Jonathan Loaisiga pitched well through 1 inning of work, striking out 1 batter and giving up no hits or runs in the process.
In 2019, Loaisiga recorded a 4.55 ERA, 4.94 FIP, 1.48 WHIP and a 4.34 SIERA through 31.2 innings pitched. He also struck out 10.52 batters per 9 innings, walked 4.55 batters per 9 innings and gave up 1.71 home runs per 9 innings.
While the majority of these numbers aren’t outstanding by any stretch of the imagination, his strikeouts per 9 innings stat sheet is important to take tabs on.
Last season, the league average for strikeouts per 9 innings among relievers was at 9.29 and 8.58 among starters, revealing that Loaisiga was above league average in both categories. He was also in the 95th percentile for fastball velocity, 84th percentile for fastball spin and 89th percentile for curve spin.
Loaisiga utilized his four-seem fastball at a 47.7% usage rate, his curve at 30.8%, his changeup at 12.9% and his sinker at 8.6%.
Impressively, Loaisiga was familiar for fooling hitters and accumulated a 14.2% swing and miss rate. This was 2.4% above the league average among relievers and 3.5% above the league average among starters. His swing and miss rate was significantly higher when throwing four-seem fastballs than any other pitch in his arsenal.
It’s also worth mentioning the astonishing whiff percentage Loasigia possessed when throwing either a changeup or curve. When releasing a changeup, he made batters whiff 50% of the time. When releasing a curve, he made batters whiff 45.8% of the time. In all, he made batters whiff 33.2% of the time, above league average by 7.5%.
Loaisiga was also experienced at pressuring batters to chase out of the strike zone. Out of 592 total pitches thrown, batters chased out of the zone 28.9%, just above league average by 0.1%.
If Loaisiga can effectively and precisely locate his fastball, changeup and curve on a regular basis, he will become both a weapon to bolster the bullpen and a reliable source in high leverage situations.