Jonathan Loaisiga has been both a starter and a reliever for the New York Yankees. He recently declared a preference for one of those roles.
Like many starting pitching prospects, Jonathan Loaisiga has spent time in the bullpen waiting for an opening in the rotation. Rather than complain, the New York Yankees‘ youngster has embraced the relief role.
“I like being a reliever,” Loaisiga told reporters, including the New York Post’s George A. King III. “I like the opportunity it presents.”
Presumably, the opportunity Loaisiga is referencing is the extra room in the pen compared to the traditional five-man rotation. Also, the current brand of MLB ball heavily relies on relievers, often asking starters for only five or six innings of work.
Loaisiga is not suffering from any delusions that his love of middle-inning pitching will automatically earn him a spot on the 2020 Yankees roster, though.
Per King, the 25-year-old emphasized that “nothing has been decided” yet.
The 56.1 innings Loaisiga has accumulated at the big-league level are pretty evenly split between the two pitching roles. He tossed 30 innings as a starter and 26.1 as a reliever across the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
His 4.50 ERA as a starter tops the 5.13 mark he posted coming out of the pen. However, his SO/9 jumped from 10.5 when starting to 12 in relief, when shorter outings let him cut loose.
Loaisiga may have a decent shot at a roster spot when the delayed 2020 season finally starts.
Potential long-relief option Luis Cessa is out with COVID-19. Masahiro Tanaka took a terrifying shot to the dome off the bat of Giancarlo Stanton. There’s no update yet on when he’ll be able to resume prepping for the season.
What’s more, Loaisiga has been playing in his native Nicaragua, according to King. That means he may be ready to go a little quicker than fellow roster hopefuls like Deivi Garcia and Clarke Schmidt.