To Keep or Not to Keep: Jonathan Loaisiga
by Ethan Semendinger
July 9th, 2021
Over the next month as we begin to approach the 2021 Trade Deadline season, Ethan will be taking you through most of the Yankees MLB talent (including those on the IL) and his give opinions on what he would do if he ran the team and on what the Yankees will likely do.
Today we’ll be discussing Jonathan Loaisiga.
MLB Postseason/Division/WS Odds for the New York Yankees (2021): Preseason: Fangraphs – 91.3%/71.0%/17.5% BBRef – 84.0%/63.1%/11.8% 538 – 83%/60%/14% On June 14th: Fangraphs – 44.5%/14.4%/5.7% BBRef – 19.3%/0.9%/0.8% 538 – 37%/8%/3%#Yankees #StartSpreadingtheNews — Start Spreading The News (@NYY_Report) June 14, 2021
Understanding This Series:
At the beginning of this series, the Yankees currently sit with a 33-32 record, are 4th in the AL East (8.5 GB of the Rays), and are 6th in the AL Wild Card race (4 GB of the Astros). If they want to win 93 games this season (what they’d likely need for a wild card spot) they’ll have to play .618 baseball, a winning percentage of which just 2 teams (Rays and White Sox) are currently playing at. In this series we’re not believing that the Yankees, under their current roster construction and self-inflicted restrictions, have a shot at the playoffs. Thus, we’re looking at the 2021 Trade Deadline as a place to sell and to look towards 2022 and the future for this team.
Jonathan Loaisiga Background:
Life is a fickle beast, of which is something that Jonathan Loaisiga is extremely familiar with. Originally signed out of Nicaragua by the San Francisco Giants back in 2012, Loaisiga was a very interesting prospect and was on many Top-100 lists but his stock fell so much he was released after 2015 due to injuries which caused him to miss the 2014 and 2015 seasons.
The Yankees took a chance on him before the 2016 season and were rewarded with much of the same: injury after injury which kept him to just 2.1 innings in 2016 and 32.2 in 2017. Though, the Yankees were patient with Loaisiga and he quickly shot up the minor and into the MLB when he had a healthy-ish season in 2018. And, in each of the following years (2019-2021) Loaisiga would continue to get called up to the MLB and he has seen improvement after every year.
In 2018, Loaisiga had a 5.11 ERA over 24.2 innings with and 83 ERA+.
In 2019, this became a 4.55 ERA over 31.2 innings and a 101 ERA+.
In 2020, this continued to get better with a 3.52 ERA over 23.0 innings and a 124 ERA+.
And so far in 2021, Loaisiga has put up a career best 2.15 ERA over 46.0 innings and a 201 ERA+!
The Yankees tried to make Loaisiga live up to his starting potential during these years (not including 2021) and have seem to find that his best role for the team is as a solid reliever. So much so that currently (as of 7/9) he has the best ERA+ on the team.
What I’d Do and What the Yankees Will Do:
Loaisiga is playing 2021 under his final pre-arbitration year which means that while he’s likely to get a sizable raise (especially given his performance this year) he is still cost controllable through his 3 arbitration years and through the 2024 season.
He is an obvious candidate to keep around as the Yankees should look to retool this team following the advice I have put forward in this series so far. I am in favor of getting rid of some players with shorter contracts, but those on longer deals who show great promise/have shown success at the MLB level make little sense to deal away now. Unless, it is believed that that success is not sustainable.
With Loaisiga I believe his success is sustainable. Likely not to the current 201 ERA+ he is pitching to, but his being a solid option in the bullpen is something that should stay pretty stable over the coming years. His track record is only ever improving, his history dictates he’ll be successful given his high praise as a prospect through years of injuries that many thought would completely ruin his career, and the Yankees are a team that historically run out good bullpens to great success.
To keep Loaisiga may be the most obvious move to (not) make across all of the pitchers in the system.