Yankees: Throwing strikes consistently is the key to unlock Jonathan Loaisiga’s potential

Andres Chavez
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

In order to take the next step and advance to their first World Series since 2009, the New York Yankees will likely need best-case scenarios everywhere on their roster. Starters will need to be healthy and effective, and the offense needs rebound seasons from Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres, plus full healthy campaigns from Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton.

However, the bullpen needs to take a step forward, too. And one of the arms that the Yankees have the most faith on is right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga, who had a fine 3.52 ERA last year, but wasn’t able to do the job come playoffs time.

Loaisiga blew a save against the Cleveland Indians in the 2020 Wild Card series, so he decided that was enough. He worked hard this offseason and now looks like a completely different pitcher, command-wise.

After his blown save last season, veteran closer Aroldis Chapman told Loaisiga that “It’s important to believe in your pitches, believe in the quality of your pitches and attack hitters.”

Now, with that advice and other veteran pitchers like Zack Britton, Chad Green, Justin Wilson, and Darren O’Day available to help, Loaisiga seems to have stopped nibbling and looks poised and composed. The Yankees, of course, are ecstatic.

The Yankees’ pitcher has received useful advice

“It’s important for me,” Loaisiga said through a translator per MLB.com. “Not only do I get to spend time with them in the bullpen, I get to spend time with them in the clubhouse, on the field, playing catch, and that allows me to ask questions and find bits of information that can be useful for me. Information that I can put into practice right away when I enter a game.”

So far, the Yankees’ multi-inning reliever has two appearances, covering three innings with no runs allowed and four whiffs.

The command of his fastball is important, but his changeup has been a real weapon, as he used it to strike out Cavan Biggio and Rowdy Tellez over the weekend.

Throwing strikes, however, is the key to unlock his potential.

“He’s really attacked the zone in a really good way this spring and so far in these first couple of games,” Boone said.