An underseasoned rookie when he arrived, Garcia seemed poised beyond his years and came at the perfect time, sending the Toronto Blue Jays back in style several times down the stretch to hold them off in the playoff seeding.
But when the diminutive righty, who earned Pedro Martinez comparisons during his short and impressive time in the bigs, was pulled after just one inning of Game 2 of the ALDS, the tide seemed to turn.
And the Garcia we saw beginning in Spring Training 2021 was not the same pitcher.
Suddenly, he seemed timid around the strike zone. The breaking stuff had less bite, and was a bit more telegraphed. We weren’t wrong. The arm angle had been changed, and the problem only became more pronounced as the regular season began and the team’s prized rookie showed he had lost the strike zone for the time being.
Who was responsible for these changes that turned Garcia from a magician into someone who was beholden to the batters’ wishes? Who knows? But the mechanical changes have turned his 2021 upside down, and prospect evaluator Keith Law just confirmed everyone’s not crazy this week with a damning assessment of the Yankees top prospect’s regression.
Yankees prospect Deivi Garcia’s latest evaluation is a nightmare.
We’re glad the rest of the Yankees’ farm system has taken major and impressive leaps forward this season because what has happened to Garcia has been abhorrent.
The diminutive righty has managed to strike out 61 men in 54.2 innings of Triple-A baseball this season, but the rest of the results have matched the scouting report. The once-deep curveball is now side-to-side slop. The fastball is playing down without any deception. The command and control are both gone.
And with their departure comes the ugliness of the season’s stat line: 2-4, 7.41 ERA.
The numbers are only getting worse by the game.
Someone’s theoretical effort to turn Garcia into more of a short-inning burst specialist (?) over the winter has backfired completely. We’re not sure why this isn’t a front-page story every single day in Yankees Universe.
Oh, because there are a million seemingly larger problems at the big-league level and plenty of minor-league breakouts that’ve replaced Garcia atop the pecking order? We guess. Still highly problematic, though.