The Yankees want Luis Severino and Dellin Betances to be big factors in the postseason. Don’t sleep on Jonathan Loaisiga’s chance to make a big impact.
If the Yankees are going to win the World Series, they will need an infusion of talent into their pitching staff down the stretch. Big name guys like Luis Severino and Dellin Betances are on their way, but it’s Jonathan Loaisiga who is ready to give Aaron Boone’s rotation an immediate boost.
Loaisiga was called back up to the Bronx on Tuesday after competing his rehabilitation stint in the Minors. The 24-year-old right hander was briefly a member of the starting rotation before an injury to his shoulder forced him onto the 60-day Injured List. He won’t be coming back to the Majors as a conventional starter though. Instead, he’s only being counted on to pitch two or three innings at a time for the rest of the 2019 campaign.
While he could get a few starts in an opener sort of role, expect the majority of his appearances to come out of the bullpen. It’s easy to see how he can develop into a real weapon for Boone in that capacity. The group has been slightly overworked lately due to the inconsistency of the starting rotation. Having a pitcher with Loaisiga’s talent who can pick up multiple innings at a time could do a lot to give everyone in the bullpen proper rest.
Loaisiga isn’t just an average arm designed to eat innings, though. At his best, he uses his electric fastball to keep hitters off balance. He’s consistently gotten hitters out during his professional career at all levels. The question about Loaisiga has always been whether or not he’s durable enough to hold up as a starter. That question will be shelved for the rest of this season.
If Loaisiga’s command is up to the levels he showed earlier this year, he could prove to be an invaluable bridge between the starters and the club’s dominant late-inning relief corps. Perhaps even more importantly, he can reduce the team’s dependence on the likes of Luis Cessa, Nestor Cortes and Stephen Tarpley. Each of those three pitchers has enjoyed some quality moments this year, but the Yankees don’t want to rely on them in the postseason.
Speaking of October, that’s when Loaisiga could really pay dividends for the ball club. Assuming Severino does come back in time to make the postseason roster, he’ll need a partner to help bridge his relatively brief starts to the bullpen. The combination of Severino and Loaisiga both throwing between two and three innings could give the Yankees a hidden starter in the playoffs.
In the end, don’t be surprised if Loaisiga becomes an integral part of this pitching staff down the stretch. He isn’t the biggest name slated to make a return to the Bronx late in the year, but he may be the guy who makes the most profound impact.