Not many Yankees have managed to meet expectations thus far in 2021, let alone exceed them. But one guy who’s been an absolute delight is Jonathan Loaisiga. Aka Johnny Lasagna.
Loaisiga debuted in 2018 for the Yankees as a starter. He started a few more games the past two seasons, but he struggled with injuries and stamina. The Yankee right-hander profiles best as a reliever, with the potential to be a good one. I thought he could’ve been the piece our bullpen was missing last postseason. But with the 60-game season, there just wasn’t enough time to prep Loaisiga for that kind of October role.
If 2020 was a full season, some of the Yankees’ problems would’ve been exposed more. But I also think it could’ve given them time to solve some problems. Maybe Loaisiga gets the chance to actually pitch in high leverage spots before being thrust into that role in the playoffs
Through 10 outings this season, that’s exactly what he’s shown. Loaisiga sports a 2-0 record, 1.23 ERA, 16 K’s & 0.75 WHIP in 14.2 innings in 2021. He’s been entrusted with some of Zack Britton’s innings while the veteran lefty is on the IL, and Lasagna has thrived.
What’s the difference? Well, for one his pitch mix. Loaisiga has nearly doubled the usage of his two-seam fastball/sinker. He threw it just 24.6% of the time in 2020 and now throws it 44.4% of the time, his most commonly used pitch. Loaisiga is also throwing a lot more changeups, and has drastically decreased his four-seam fastball use. He throws the four-seamer hard, but with very little movement. The two-seamer is absolutely disgusting.
Jonathan Loáisiga, Wicked 96mph Two Seamer movement.
It’s exciting to see Loaisiga come into his own like this. The potential has been obvious since 2018, but he just hasn’t put it all together. Do I think he’ll finish the season with a 1.23 ERA? Of course not. But Loaisiga has the stuff to be a back-end if the bullpen weapon for the Yankees for years to come. Plus I’ll get to keep making this awful pun:
Is this an Olive Garden? Because that was some nasty Lasagna