Jonathan Loaisiga and Luis Cessa are certainly on the bottom of the depth chart in the Yankees’ bullpen, but they are going to play a vital role early on in the season.
Jonathan Loaisiga and Luis Cessa are probably the spot-starters in the Yankees’ rotation. That role also comes with them eating up innings in either blowout games or when that day’s starter is pulled early. But Loaisiga is going to play an important role in the first couple of weeks of the season.
While the Yankees’ pitchers seem to have gotten some work in, they haven’t dialed it up 100 percent just yet. Who knows if we will see guys like J.A. Happ and Jordan Montgomery, or even James Paxton, go six-plus innings. And, of course, this is assuming Masahiro Tanaka makes his first start of the season. That is not a guarantee after he was hit with a comeback in the head on July 4.
No matter the case, the majority of the Yankees’ rotation probably will not be set to go the distance early on in the season.
Loaisiga and Cessa are the only other non-injured pitcher on the Yankees’ 40-man roster that have gotten more than two big-league starts. Last year, Loaisiga tossed at least two innings in 10 of his 15 appearances, In Cessa’s 43 appearances last year, despite zero starts, Cessa tossed two or more innings in 23 of them.
We saw the Yankee bullpen get a bit worn down in the postseason last year. Game 4 was postponed due to rain, forcing manager Aaron Boone to use practically everyone available to him in three straight days, and they even had to use Chad Green as an opener in Game 6. Had they won that game, it would have been four-straight days of heavy bullpen use.
And because the starters’ longevity is looming early, Boone is going to use the likes of Aroldis Chapman, Adam Ottavino, Zack Britton, Tommy Kahnle, and Green often to secure some early wins to open up the season. But, as we saw in last year’s American League Championship Series, the bullpen could wear down quickly.
And if Tanaka does miss some time, Happ and Montgomery will move up in the rotation, with one of Loaisiga or Cessa being the temporary fifth starter. If that’s the case, you can even make this case for Deivi Garcia, who still has a chance to make this roster, considering it’ll open up at 30 people. Garcia is a prized starter in the Yankee organization. He only has 40 innings pitched in Triple-A, but a spot could be open, considering innings will have to be eaten.
Loaisiga and Cessa, and maybe even Garcia, are going to toss some very important innings for the Yankees as the season begins, even though their names don’t jump out when you first see the roster.