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How one of Yankees’ top pitching prospects fared in first Double-A start of year

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.

A really high volume, actually.

Although Garcia took the loss against New Hampshire (Blue Jays affiliate) on Wednesday afternoon at Arm & Hammer Park, 11 of the 12 outs he recorded in his Double-A season debut came via the strikeout, and his fastball velocity maxed out in the mid-90’s.

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.

    

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).

  

Garcia is the Yankees’ No. 4 prospect, according to MLBPipeline’s rankings.  Here is their scouting report on him:

“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.”

 

If you want to connect with Tom Hanslin, you can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @TomHanslin.

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