The Yankees’ most reliable bullpen arm might surprise you

New York Yankees, Jonathan Loaisiga
Sep 30, 2018; Boston, MA, USA; New York Yankees pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga (38) walks off of the field after the second inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Brian Fluharty-USA TODAY Sports

The Yankees have put together one of the best bullpens in baseball. Top-tier arms like Aroldis Chapman, Zack Britton, and Chad Green lead the pack. However, none of them have been consistent enough to be the main guy. The man that has been was definitely not predicted to be. 

Jonathan Loaisiga has been the Bombers’ most reliable pitcher so far in 2021. He’s turned into an all-star caliber player and a fantastic option for the Yankees. Loaisiga has been pitching at the big league level since 2018. 

Since his rookie season, his numbers have only improved. In 2018 he appeared in nine games and finished with a 5.11 ERA. In 2019, he appeared in 15 games and finished with a 4.55 ERA. Then last season, he had a 3.52 ERA in 12 appearances. New York noticed his improvement and made him a regular bullpen arm.

Now in 2021, he has improved yet again. This time, he is putting up all-star numbers. He has thrown a career-high 45 innings and has put up a career low 2.20 ERA. His SO/9 is sitting at 8.6, the lowest in his career. However, he’s had a career year in SO/W ratio, WHIP, hits per nine, and home runs per nine. 

What made him improve so much?

At the beginning of his career, Loaisiga was very reliant on his 4-seam fastball. In 2018, he used it 55.8% of the time, and in 2019 he used it 47.7% of the time. last year, he was less reliant but still used it on 42.6% of his pitches. 2021 is when he made the big change. This season, Loaisiga has only thrown his 4-seam fastball 5.1% of the time. His sinker, however, is being used at 54.9%. There was a slight improvement in usage among his curveball and changeup. However, the sinker has clearly been the difference.

In terms of Whiff% and PutAway%, his changeup and curveball have been the best. However, his sinker has allowed him to mix in those pitches late in counts. The stats show that Loaisiga has not only been a top pitcher for New York but in all of baseball. Multiple advanced statistics place him in the top 2% of the league. He has developed into a fantastic option for the Bombers. 

Jonathan Loaisiga didn’t make the all-star game. However, his numbers are right up there with some of the great relievers in the league. He doesn’t get enough recognition which is why he won’t be in Colorado for all-star weekend.

Tune in tomorrow night as Jonathan Loaisiga, and the Yankees make a trip to Seattle to face the Mariners! That game will begin at 10:10 pm EST!

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