Next man up? Ian Hamilton’s strong showing puts pressure on Yankees’ Jonathan Loaisiga

Ian Hamilton, player of the new york yankees
Amanda Paula
Wednesday April 10, 2024

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New York Yankees starting pitcher Jonathan Loaisiga’s season-ending UCL tear exposes a familiar issue: bullpen depth. This has plagued the team in the past. However, a bright spot emerges in the form of young reliever Ian Hamilton. Stepping up seamlessly, Hamilton offers promise to fill the void left by Loaisiga.

While the Yankees boast their best regular season start in 20 years, the season remains young. The true test of the bullpen’s resilience will come over the long haul. Nonetheless, Hamilton’s emergence provides a glimmer of hope for the Yankees’ pitching staff.

Iam Hamilton takes center stage

Ian Hamilton, player of the new york yankees
Sports Illustrated

With Michael King gone after the Juan Soto trade, Ian Hamilton has become the Yankees’ trusted multi-inning reliever in crucial situations. The 28-year-old has impressed in his five appearances so far, particularly on Tuesday against the Marlins. Entering with the bases loaded and no outs in the seventh, Hamilton showcased his poise by striking out the next three batters despite two unearned runs. He tossed two scoreless innings on a mere 17 pitches, all strikes, showcasing his fastball-slider combination.

“Ian’s a real asset,” praised manager Aaron Boone, emphasizing Hamilton’s efficiency, ability to generate weak contact, and effectiveness against both lefties and righties. “His confidence is soaring right now.”

This isn’t Hamilton’s first time playing a crucial role for the Yankees. Last season, he pitched multiple innings on 20 occasions, stepping up when King transitioned to starting. While the multi-inning role is new for him this year, he’s embracing the challenge.

“It’s an adjustment,” Hamilton admitted to NY Daily News. “Different timing than last year, but I enjoy it and want to keep doing it.”

Yankees’ bullpen culture breeds success

Jonathan Loaisiga, the new york yankees players

The Yankees have fostered a culture of developing quality relievers, and Hamilton exemplifies this approach. Despite losing Jonathan Loaisiga, King, and others, the bullpen remains a team strength, ranking sixth in the majors with a 2.42 ERA.

“Everyone pushes each other to excel,” said Hamilton. “Even though we’re teammates, there’s a healthy competition within the bullpen to be the best.”

Whether it’s through shrewd pickups like Nick Burdi and Dennis Santana or homegrown prospects like Clayton Beeter, the Yankees consistently tap into their deep well of bullpen talent. With Hamilton’s emergence, the team seems well-equipped to handle Loaisiga’s absence without a significant drop-off.

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