Behind Yankees prospect’s meteoric rise to getting his shot

Jonathan Loaisiga began this season with Single-A Tampa. On Friday, the right-hander is scheduled to make his major league debut with the Yankees.

Manager Aaron Boone said the 23-year-old, most recently at Double-A Trenton, will take Masahiro Tanaka’s spot in the rotation against the Rays, getting the call over prospect Justus Sheffield and the more experienced David Hale.

“He’s really talented,’’ Boone said before the Yankees’ 3-0 win over the Nationals Wednesday night at the Stadium. “We think he has a very bright future. His stuff is really good. He pounds the strike zone. For a young guy at Double-A, being on the [40-man] roster, we feel like he’ll come up here and won’t be overwhelmed by pitching here at Yankee Stadium and the big leagues.”

Loaisiga has risen quickly through the Yankees’ system, with a fastball that reaches the high 90s and a developing changeup and curve.

Signed to a minor league contract before the 2016 season following his release by San Francisco, Loaisiga underwent Tommy John surgery during that year.

He pitched just 11 games last season, finishing with Single-A Staten Island of the New York-Penn League.

In 45 innings this season, he has struck out 58 and walked just four.

Luis Severino was 21 when he came up with the Yankees for the first time, though he had made 11 starts at Triple-A before his debut in 2015.

“The crowd is the biggest thing he’ll have to adjust to,” Severino said. “All the noise. If he can block that out, he’ll be fine. I know he has a good fastball.”

Boone said he believes Loaisiga is ready.

“We feel like with his repertoire, his stuff, he has a chance to be successful for us. We don’t necessarily expect him to go real deep into the game, but he has an opportunity to give us a quality start,” Boone said.

Sheffield, acquired from Cleveland in the Andrew Miller deal two years ago, remains one of the organization’s top prospects.

“Sheffield is very much in the mix,’’ Boone said. “He’s continuing to develop and is close to being an option — or is an option for us.”

Loaisiga isn’t expected to stick around The Bronx once Tanaka returns from the two stiff hamstrings he suffered last weekend against the Mets. Tanaka is likely to be out for several weeks.

“I think Jonathan has a chance, with his stuff, to pound the strike zone,’’ Boone said. “It was a sound decision.”

Source: Read Full Article