In this weekly column, we spotlight the New York Yankee who has made the most positive impact on the team during spring training for the week. It will spotlight one pitcher and one hitter that excelled beyond the rest. So far in spring training, both starters’ and relievers’ pitching has generally been better than the Yankee hitting. But one Yankee is standing out from the rest, and that is Giancarlo Stanton, who has the highest batting average of any regular lineup hitter. The standout Yankee reliever, hands down, is Jonathan Loaisiga.
This week’s pitcher spotlight is on Jonathan Loaisiga, he has pitched more innings (10.1) than any Yankee reliever, and he has shined, allowing only 1 earned run over the span. His only earned run a home run. He has also allowed 3 hits but prevented those hitters from scoring. He has the lowest WHIP of any reliever that has pitched in five or more games. He has a tiny ERA of 0.87.
Loaisiga, because he has been used as a starter and reliever in the past, has remained mostly under the radar. When many pitchers and hitters underperformed in the shortened 2020 season, Jonathan got the job done. In 12 games, 23 innings, he was 3-0 while starting 3 of those games. He got 22 strikeouts with a WHIP of 1.22. Although probably not destined to be in the starting rotation, there is no question that if any of the regular guys get injured, the New York Yankees will look to Loaisiga to start a few games.
Honorable mention goes to Lucas Luetge, who is really turning heads in spring training. The Yankees acquired him over the offseason. Luetge, in six innings of work, has struck out 13 batters.
This week’s hitter spotlight is on Giancarlo Stanton. Stanton has been the one Yankee hitter that is performing better than others in the regular lineup. The Yankees have five hitters with higher batting averages, but they have played in fewer games and are non-roster players. It’s a bit of a surprise that Stanton is completely healthy so far. But even his detractors know that when he on the field, he can be an MVP-type player. So far in spring training, he is hitting .333.
Stanton last season played in only 18 of the 60 game season. But when he returned healthy after being on the IL, he played much better. He was the star player in the postseason, hitting six home runs over the seven postseason games. He had a postseason batting average of .302. So far, Stanton seems to have more plate discipline than he has in the past. He is being much more selective and taking his walks. His OPS stands at 1.016.
Honorable mention goes to Gleyber Torres, who is hitting .267 with two home runs in spring training. Torres hit 38 homers in 2019 but only 3 during 2020. Playing well at short and hitting two homers already suggests that Torres could have a great rebound season.