Yankees pitching prospect Deivi Garcia isn’t a rotation solution for 2020. All good, though!
Yankees fans have grown used to watching minor-league arms step seamlessly into the rotation and impress so far in Summer Camp.
24-year-old Clarke Schmidt and 25-year-old Michael King have been successfully going blow for blow, earning consideration for primetime in 2020’s shortened campaign. Deivi Garcia, also among the crown jewels of the farm system, hasn’t been given the same opportunity.
Though it’s clear by now that his intended role for this campaign isn’t as a big-league savior, Garcia got the ball in the final Yankees exhibition game of the summer, and looked every bit of 21 years old. But guess what? That’s absolutely fine.
Garcia rocketed up the minor league ladder in 2019, exceeding expectations every step of the way. He dominated at Double-A Trenton, whiffing 87 men in 53.2 innings, posting a 3.86 ERA. After a promotion to Triple-A Scranton, his control remained an issue (20 walks in 40.0 innings), and his ERA rose to 5.40, but he maintained his strikeout stuff, whiffing 45 men in the process.
At the end of 2019, though, nobody viewed him as a legitimate rotation option. He was simply a high-upside arm who would start at Triple-A once again in ’20, and potentially make his way to NYC as a bullpen option as the year dragged on.
Why would things be any different now, after four months of inactivity instead of minor league development work?
Garcia struggled with his out pitches on Monday night, occasionally flashing an exemplary bender and solid change, but unable to command any of them or get top velocity consistently. The one enduring shame of 2020 isn’t that the young hurler isn’t ready for big league duty at the drop of a hat, though.
It’s that, thanks to the cancellation of the minor league season, nobody knows when and where his next reps will come. Garcia is slated to lose a key year of development when he needs it most.
Luckily, he’s just a kid in every way. Perhaps he’ll blossom at age 22 instead of 21.
He didn’t need to dominate or meet unreasonable expectations on Monday night, and it’s perfectly acceptable that he didn’t come close. The only thing we must hope for now, though, is that he finds some way to approximate big league reps and get better in 2020, while his more polished (and older) contemporaries ascend to MLB action.