3 New York Yankees players who'll be better in 2023 and 2 who won't

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Jonathan Loaisiga, RHP

Relievers are fungible and can vacillate between "spectacular" and "useless" from year to year. We know that. That said ... it was only one year ago when Jonathan Loaisiga was thought of as the heir apparent to Mariano Rivera, parlaying moderate strikeout numbers into dominance thanks to low-quality contact and a buzzsaw cutter.

Somehow, in 2022, he stayed mostly healthy, but was ... largely not good! Every reliever is prone to bouts of ineffectiveness, but this was more surprising than most dips.

Loaisiga only managed 48 innings in 2022, most of them fairly hittable (4.13 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, just 37 Ks). Things got better as the year dragged on, though; at the end of July, his ERA was 6.75!


Loaisiga's August? 1.86 ERA in 9.2 innings pitched. Loaisiga's September? 1.93 ERA in 14 innings. Eventually, the right-hander found his footing, which bled into the postseason. In October, Loaisiga was one of only four reliable back-end options for the Yankees, and he appeared in six of the team's nine postseason games, thriving with an 0.96 ERA. He looked most like his old self in Game 5 of the ALDS, erasing two full middle innings against the Guardians (three hits, two Ks).

Some of Loaisiga's struggles in 2022 were to be expected due to random variance, but nobody saw him being that brutal in the first half, which began to correct itself as his shoulder warmed up and the year dragged on. 2023 could feature some rough times, too, but odds are he'll have a much better season overall.