Home » Yankees’ Jonathan Loaisiga finally shows off

Yankees’ Jonathan Loaisiga finally shows off

BALTIMORE — Over the past few springs, scouts, coaches and executives would fall in love again. They would watch Jonathan Loaisiga’s stuff and predict that this would be the year the slight right-hander used that stuff to become a dominant pitcher in the big leagues.

After three years of struggling to use that stuff to pound the strike zone, this seems to be the one that 26-year-old finally puts electric stuff together with confidence and become an important piece of the Yankees bullpen.

The Nicaraguan has allowed two earned runs and picked up his first career save over 14.2 innings pitched in 10 appearances. He’s remade his stuff, found an uptick in velocity and has transformed himself from a long-man and occasional spot starter who could falter in high-pressure spots into a high leverage pitcher.

“He’s been dominant down there,” Aaron Boone said this week. “I just think he understands who he is out on the mound. I think he’s challenging the strike zone a lot, the two-seam fastball to go with the changeup has become a really effective mix. He’s mixing in enough breaking balls, his sinker-changeup combination.

“I think the confidence he’s pitching with out there in some high leverage spots, it’s been fun to see him take this next step.”

Loaisiga has been a critical piece in a Yankees’ bullpen that has been outstanding to start the season despite being thrown into the fire with the Yankee starters coming up short. The Yankees bullpen’s 2.38 ERA is the third best in the big leagues despite having pitched 94.2 innings, the third most as well.

Jonathan Loaisiga is stellar in first save opportunity of the year.

That usage contributed to Loaisiga having to go in and get an out-out-save on Saturday night in Cleveland, after Aroldis Chapman closed and Chad Green pitched in two straight games and three out of the previous four.

Loaisiga admitted it was a big moment for him, getting to face the heart of Cleveland’s order in a one-run game.

“It definitely felt different,” Loaisiga said through an interpreter. “I have to be honest. When you realize that you’re going into this game, you’re getting ready to face their best hitters — second, third and fourth — you understand where the game is, winning by one run. When you’re warming up out there and you’re thinking about all this, you definitely feel a little pressure realizing where the game is and what you’re going into.”

In a situation that may have been too big for him in previous years, Loaisiga was fine once he got out there and earned his first save. He has upped the usage of his sinker and changeup and laid off his four-seam fastball considerably so far this season.

“He’s attacking hitters,” a scout said. “He’s always had good stuff, but it seemed like when he got in those tough spots he didn’t trust it. He’d try to be too fine with it. Now, he’s pounding them with it. The sinker and the changeup are really good for him. His presence on the mound is better. He’s more confident in what he’s throwing.”

That confidence is showing on the mound and Loaisiga is feeling it.

“It’s key. The experience of being there, having the opportunity to talk to my teammates and listen to their pointers and above all staying aggressive,” Loaisiga said of his growth. “I’m staying away from walks and trying to attack hitters as good as possible.”

That has resulted in a more consistent reliever, who is a very versatile piece for the Yankees manager.

“The great thing about Lo is obviously he can give you a couple innings,” Boone said. “The other night was a great example… I feel great about where he’s at and the confidence he’s pitching with. He’s an important part of our bullpen.”

Source (Ny Daily news)

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