Jonathan Loaisiga will make his big league debut for the Yankees on Friday night and he could be just what the doctor ordered in New York.
It became official on Tuesday afternoon, as reported by Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, Jonathan Loaisiga (Loh-AYE-see-gah) will start for the Yankees on Friday night in the Bronx. The 23-year-old who was born and raised in Nicaragua stands at a slender 5-foot-11, 165 pounds, and was signed in 2012 by the San Francisco Giants. He was later released in 2015 after a number of injuries derailed his progression.
After a tryout with the Yankees in 2016, international scouting director Donny Rowland was contacted by one of his scouts in Venezuela. That scout’s name was Ricardo Funal and he was ecstatic about what he had just seen. This led to the Yankees signing Loaisiga the very next day. Unfortunately, soon after that, Loaisiga injured his elbow in his first minor league pitching appearance at Low-A Charleston which ultimately led to Tommy John Surgery.
Loaisiga is currently ranked as the Yankees No. 12 overall prospect and the No. 10 pitching prospect behind the likes of Dillon Tate, Domingo Acevedo, Chance Adams, Albert Abreu and Justus Sheffield.
So, why did the Yankees choose to call up Loaisiga? For starters, he is already on the 40-man roster and was called up to Double-A Trenton in early May after four stellar starts in High-A Tampa. His command of the strike zone is attractive, in 92 IP since being a member of the Yankees organization he has walked just 26 batters while striking out 106. In addition to this, he is said to have an arsenal of pitches which include a fastball that can top out at 98 MPH, a low 80’s curveball with a high spin rate, and a tailing changeup.
Time will tell if this is just a spot start for Loaisiga or if the Yankees intend to utilize him until Masahiro Tanaka returns from his hamstring(s) injury. After all, he has far less experience than the nine pitching prospects in front of him.
He certainly has the potential and talent to become a mainstay in a Yankees rotation that could desperately use another consistent, reliable arm. All eyes will surely be on the right-hander as he looks to impress the fans in the Bronx as he makes his big league debut on Friday.