Yankees: Has top prospect Deivi Garcia lost nearly all value?

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - APRIL 26: Starting pitcher Deivi Garcia #83 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - APRIL 26: Starting pitcher Deivi Garcia #83 of the New York Yankees (Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images) /

One of the drawbacks of seeing so many top prospects graduate into solid MLB players is the fact that the New York Yankees are now struggling to amass depth and quality in their farm system.

One of the players who was supposed to be a shining light of consistency and potential was diminutive starter Deivi Garcia.

Listed at just 5-9 and around 170 pounds on a good day, those physical limitations didn’t stop Garcia from rising through the ranks, making his MLB debut at just 21 years old last year, and even earning a spot on the postseason roster.

In 2021, however, all of that momentum has ebbed away.

Once a prospect so treasured that the Yankees would be maligned for years if they gave him up in a trade, Garcia’s ERA with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre has ballooned all the way to 7.08, and his 1.82 WHIP shows that he is allowing almost two baserunners every inning, just for an extra taste of disheartening pain to swallow.

Should the Yankees still view Garcia as a top prospect? Unfortunately, that ship has sailed, and New York shouldn’t expect Garcia to have much of an impact on this roster unless he makes some wholesale changes.

The Yankees can’t view Deivi Garcia as a top prospect anymore.

The most agonizing part of Garcia’s decline is what appears to be the early onset symptoms of Steve Blass disease. Garcia walked 54 batters in 111.1 minor league innings in 2019, but that walk number has jumped up to 51 in 2021 despite pitching just 68.2 innings. The loss of control is real.

The player who shut down the New York Mets in his debut appeared to be long gone. His opponents are hitting .275 against him, he’s surrendered 18 home runs this year as compared to 10 in 2021, and his velocity doesn’t have the same impact it once did.

Say the Yankees want to include him as part of a package for a star. Fine. Who in their right mind would acquire Garcia after such a cavernous drop in production? Mechanical tweaks or command issues can be responsible for a slight decline, but a guy goes from unhittable to a batting practice machine, major changes are needed.

The best thing the Yankees do for Garcia is to have him take a start off, figure out exactly what is wrong from a biomechanical or mental perspective, and try to end the year with some better performances. Letting him flounder and erode his stock within the organization serves no one.

Very few prospects blitz through the minor leagues as quickly as Garcia did, so there is without question still a top prospect waiting inside. However, the Yankees can view him as trade bait or a tentpole prospect to build around.

At this point, he is a project and nothing more, especially with players like Luis Gil leapfrogging him within the organization.