Imminent Impact? Could The Yankees’ Jonathan Loaisiga Get An Opportunity In The Majors?

by Eric Stashin (aka The Rotoprofessor)

With Masahiro Tanaka hitting the DL (and likely out for a few weeks), the Yankees have a significant void in their rotation.  There were already questions, being forced to deploy Domingo German (though he’s shown potential), so where will the Yankees turn from here?  They do have options in the minors, whether it’s those already on the 40-man roster and those who aren’t.

If Luis Cessa is ready to return from the DL he could be the logical choice, or the team could add Chance Adams, Justus Sheffield or Erik Swanson to the 40-man roster.  Adams and Sheffield are the bigger names, and the ones fantasy owners will want to see, but if the team wants to keep some level of flexibility they could opt to dig a little bit deeper.  Right-hander Jonathan Loaisiga, who was just recently promoted to Double-A, is already on the 40-man roster and could get the first shot at the spot.

Who is Loaisiga?  Could he make an instant impact?

The 23-year old has hit a bump recently, allowing 4 ER in two of his past three starts, but overall the results have been there between High-A and Double-A:

6-1, 3.00 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 58 K, 4 BB

That strikeout-to-walk rate is going to catch your attention, especially entering Sunday with a 12.5% SwStr%.  Throw in a 1.29 GO/AO and it appears that he brings the total package that we look for…  However there are a few issues that can’t be ignored:

  1. Limited workload – Over his 10 starts he has thrown a total of 45.0 IP, never going longer than 5.0 IP. He only threw 32.2 IP total last season, again never going longer than 5.0 IP in an appearance, so while the Yankees are easing him back after Tommy John surgery, how many innings he can throw and the potential to really tax the bullpen looms large
  2. Lack of upper level experience – His 25.0 IP at Double-A this season represents his only action above High-A
  3. Home run issues – While he appears to be inducing an ample amount of groundballs, he’s allowed 4 HR over 25.0 IP at Double-A and pitching in Yankee Stadium that could really loom large
  4. He’s been hit relatively hard – While it hasn’t hampered the results, a 26.0% line drive rate at High-A and 25.0% at Double-A this season can’t be ignored
  5. Size – He’s listed at 5’11” and 165 lbs., so there are going to be further questions about his ability to stick in the rotation

Obviously the numbers are impressive but we can’t ignore the questions.  He pitched on Sunday, though a Monday off day could still allow him to be the option.  That said it would seem like a big leap of faith by New York, and putting a lot of pressure on a 23-year old who may simply not be ready.

Sources – MILB.com, Fangraphs

Missed our Top 100 prospect rankings?  Make sure to check it out by clicking here.  Also don’t miss all of our 2018 Preseason Positional Prospect Lists:

Catcher1-10
First Base1-10
Second Base1-10
Shortstop1-10
Third Base1-10
Outfielders:1-1011-20
Pitchers:1-1011-2021-30

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