Well, for one, his usage. Is he a starter, middle reliever, or high-leverage reliever? No idea! But as for the things that Loaisiga can control, the top concern has been his ability to put his entire arsenal together.
Every Yankees fan who’s watched him closely will tell you that they love his “stuff,” but the results have said otherwise, especially in the shortened 2020 season in which he had trouble finding his footing in tight spots.
Last year, he managed to get off to a nice start, which prompted calls to use him in later innings to take pressure off the bullpen. Then he fizzled out and couldn’t get the job done when called upon.
We have a little déjà vu to start off 2021 after the right-hander’s first two games, but he admittedly looks way better after an impressive spring training.
Yankees reliever Jonathan Loaisiga has had a hot start to 2021.
Six up, six down on Saturday. Three up, three down on Friday. He’s retired the first nine batters he’s faced and struck out four of them. Hitters have largely looked stymied when in the batter’s box against the 26-year-old.
Loaisiga’s fastball, cutter, changeup and slider mix has been on full display, and the movement on his fastball even got the attention of MLB’s official Twitter account. That’s some serious recognition.
He completely fooled Blue Jays slugger Bo Bichette on a full count with that sucker. “In on the hands” would be an understatement in regard to where that pitch ended up.
And then came the full-count changeup. It fully disappears.
Boone said that he plans to use Loaisigia in a “Swiss Army knife” role, which leads us to believe we could see him in multi-inning relief (like we did on Saturday), tight one-inning relief (like we did on Friday), or as a spot starter (when the rotation needs a rest or is low on arms).
Loaisiga needs to continue to hone his pitch mix and get used to being utilized in a wide variety of roles. If he can take care of the former at the onset of the season, the uncertainty regarding the latter won’t affect him as significantly as it has in the previous couple of seasons.
Nothing like a well-done Lasagna to please the crowd, eh?