Yankees’ bullpen arm could play a huge role in 2024 or succumb to injury

jonathan loaisiga, yankees

The Yankees‘ bullpen projects to be one of the best in baseball once again, but they have several arms who are considered injury prone. Aside from losing Lou Trivino and Scott Effross until the summer, the Yankees will have to make do with what they have available, which is still plenty of talent.

One of their arms Jonathan Loaisiga, a 29-year-old coming off a season where he pitched only 17.2 innings, is still working his way back from shoulder inflammation. Loaisiga is being viewed as a multi-inning reliever in 2024, but he’s shown in the past the capacity to be a primary closer. For now, Clay Holmes and Ian Hamilton will likely share that role, depending on who has the hot hand.

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The Yankees Know That Loaisiga is Special When Healthy

We know that Loaisiga can be an elite relief pitcher when at the top of his game, as showcased back in 2021 when he recorded a 2.17 ERA over 70.2 innings. He produced a 60.9% ground ball rate and a 79.1% left-on-base rate. Walking batters has never been a serious problem, and he keeps his home runs per nine rate down.

Loaisiga hasn’t made an appearance this spring just yet, but manager Aaron Boone stated that he pitched two live innings on Wednesday, which is exactly where he needs to be in his ramp-up ahead of the regular season. The Bombers are taking a very cautious approach with his health, especially since he’s had multiple shoulder injuries that have shot him down prematurely.

With that being said, Loaisiga was still averaging 98 mph on his fastball last year, which is right in line with his career highs. With his velocity likely hovering in that range, it will ultimately boil down to consistency and fundamentals to avoid injury. The Yankees know he can be one of their most critical puzzle pieces, but his health history certainly doesn’t provide much optimism.

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