2. Jonathan Loaisiga
When both Jordan Montgomery and Domingo German failed to hold a spot in the rotation last year the organization was forced to put their hopes in Loaisiga. To put it mildly, he exceeded expectations. He couldn’t handle a full season’s worth of work due to his youth, but his time in the Bronx catapulted him to the No. 3 spot in the organization’s prospect rankings.
The challenge for the 23-year-old right hander will be to take an important step forward from intriguing young player to dependable major leaguer this year. He’s certainly going to get an opportunity to compete for a spot in the starting rotation. Again, free agency signings will figure into the mix, but unless Cashman brings in multiple new arms there still should be an open spot for a young pitcher.
Even if Loaisiga can’t nail down a starting spot in Spring Training, he could start the year with the Yankees as a long reliever. A.J. Cole almost certainly won’t be retained in the offseason. Loaisiga could slot into his place in the bullpen and provide the Yankees’ superior production.
That shouldn’t be Loaisiga’s goal, but it does represent a pretty nice floor for a player who wasn’t that highly regarded just 12 months ago. It’s still unclear whether he can develop into a quality starter for a team with legitimate World Series aspirations.