Yankees top pitching prospect Deivi Garcia needed a whopping 96 pitches to complete just four innings of work. From start to finish, he allowed five walks, two singles, and one grand slam following a mound visit with two outs during the second frame. Not a conventional outing, to say the least.
But the 19-year-old Dominican native, who was promoted from High-A Tampa to Double-A Trenton earlier this week, did prove he can throw strikes at a high volume.
Glancing at the box score, it was all or nothing for Garcia. But there’s something to be said about a teenager pitching at the Double-A level, where the average age of players is roughly 24-years-old.
“He has got the makings of a kid that can be pretty special,” Double-A Trenton manager Pat Osborn recently told Matt Kardos of PinstripedProspects.com. “The fastball jumps out of his hand, it’s got the ride carry that you hear a lot of people talk about now.He has got a really good spin-rate and keeps the ball on that flat plane finishing through the strike zone.The curveball is a plus pitch; he can really spin the ball…”
So, if Garcia continues to improve and impress, perhaps he’ll be pitching in the Bronx before the season ends?
“It would not surprise me whatsoever,” Yankees pitching coordinator Danny Borrell told Brendan Kuty of NJ.com back in February. “He’s actually like [Jonathan] Loaisiga. This kid can pitch, he’s got three quality pitches, and I wouldn’t put it past him to just push it. He may make that decision for us, if he just pitches well, he could be a valuable asset to us. He moved four levels last year and there’s only two left.”
Last season, Garcia started 15 games across three different levels. In a career-high 74 innings, he went 5-4 with a cumulative 2.55 ERA, and held opposing hitters to a .189 batting average. Garcia also struck out 105 total hitters, and capped off his season with five no-hit innings for Trenton back on September 2.
Prior to Garcia’s start on Wednesday, he struck out a staggering 33 hitters in 17.2 innings with Tampa (3.06 ERA in four starts).
“I give thanks to God for being able to come here again,” Garcia recently told Kardos. “I was a little surprised by it, but I am really happy to be here and take it on… I am very thankful to be here. I know that not many 19-year-olds are able to make it up here, but I am not worried about whether I am 19 or 20, or whatever age that I am.I am worried about just staying the same and continuing to do what I have been doing.”
“After spending $18.1 million on the 2014 international market, the Yankees were restricted to giving out bonuses of no more than $300,000 the following summer, yet they still landed a pair of quality pitching prospects in Dominican right-handers Garcia ($200,000) and Luis Medina ($280,000). While Medina has louder stuff, Garcia has much more polish and used it to rush from low Class A to Double-A in only three months at age 19 last year. He struck out 12 in seven perfect innings in the second game of a Class A Advanced doubleheader on Aug. 6, though his Tampa team lost the game (but not the no-hitter) in the eighth.
Garcia’s best pitch is a high-spin curveball with so much depth that he’ll have to prove he can land it for strikes when more advanced hitters don’t chase it out of the zone as often. He also gets good spin on his fastball, which plays better than its 91-96 mph velocity with deceptive riding life. He made strides with his fading changeup in 2018, creating optimism that it can become at least a solid third offering.
Though he doesn’t have the smoothest delivery, Garcia repeats it well and exhibits advanced control and command for such a young pitcher. Because he’s small and works with some effort, there are some concerns about his long-term durability as a starter, but his athleticism and efficiency help his cause. His fastball/curveball combination should play well in the late innings if he winds up as a reliever.”