Deivi Garcia made his long awaited debut two weeks ago and boy was it worth it.
In his first start against the Mets he threw 6 innings of 1 run ball (not earned) racking up 6 K with no walks. His second start wasn’t as good, pitching 4.2 innings against the Orioles. Through two starts he’s thrown 10.2 innings with a 3.38 ERA, 2.96 FIP, 27% strikeout rate and 4.5% BB rate. That is mighty, mighty impressive for a 21 year old. More endearing is his relationship with Erik Kratz, who he refers to as “padre.”
Now that Garcia has made his debut, we finally have Statcast data on him which can tell us how he’s been so effective.
Fastball Spin Efficiency
By most metrics, Garcia has an average fastball. He averages 92.5 mph on it with a 2245 rpm spin rate. This day in age, that’s below average velocity and just average spin which should mean that batters tee off on it. However, that’s clearly not the case as evidenced by swings like these:
You can see how the batter reacted as though Deivi blew 98 mph past him up in the zone, yet that pitch was only 92 mph. How does that happen? Spin efficiency.
Statcast has a metric called active spin, which measures what percentage of a pitcher’s spin contributes to active movement. Basically, a high spin rate is great, but it only matters if that spin goes in the right direction. Even though Deivi only has average spin on his fastball, he has excellent spin efficiency, measuring in at 95.8% which means nearly 96% of the spin on his fastball contributes to rise and effective velocity. For some context – that spin efficiency is better than 94% of pitchers in MLB.
Therefore, the “rise” on Deivi’s fastball ends up better than 90% of pitchers which is how a little guy throwing an average fastball can blow it past people. The rise he gets on his fastball ranks 6th among all starters this season.
Lol. Garcia has a 2900 rpm curveball which gives it crazy drop…just watch this…
That beauty has led to a 50% whiff rate on the pitch, which while unsustainable, tells you how amazing it is. It is a true hammer curveball.
Because the fastball has so much rise and the curveball has so much drop, the effect of them together is striking:
The pitches seem to swap in midair which is confusing for the batters. A curveball that looks like it’ll be up in the zone ends up in the dirt whereas a fastball that appears to be right down the middle ends up at the letters. That combined with Garcia’s natural deception from his pitching motion makes the ball really hard to pick up.
One point of potential concern is that Garcia does not have a consistent release point. He releases his curveball from an arm slot 6 inches higher than his fastball, which in time batters can learn to pick up on.
So far it hasn’t been an issue, but it is something to keep an eye on moving forward. If batters start to square up either of those two pitches that could be the reason why.
Through two starts Deivi Garcia has been the real deal, and with the Yankees’ pitchers reeling he will be an integral part of the rotation for the rest of the season if the Yankees want to make a playoff run.
Not to mention his relationship with his dad Erik Kratz is beautiful