The difference between 2020 Deivi Garcia and 2021 Deivi Garcia is about as drastic as it gets. And the New York Yankees are hoping for something closer to the 2020 version of the young right-hander once Opening Day arrives.
Garcia made his MLB debut during the COVID-shortened season and made six starts to the tune of a 4.98 ERA, 4.15 FIP and 1.19 WHIP. He struck out 33 batters in 34.1 innings of work and actually performed better than those numbers because an inflated outing against the Boston Red Sox (3 IP, 6 ER) really made everything look worse.
He dominated the Mets in his official debut and then stymied the Toronto Blue Jays twice in September to keep them off the Yankees’ tail. Then, he was used as an opener in Game 2 of the ALDS against the Tampa Bay Rays, and that’s when it all changed.
In 2021, he appeared in just two games with the Yankees, both of which were unimpressive outings against the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers in April and May. He spent the rest of the year at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
The results there? Somehow worse. In 24 total games (22 starts), Garcia finished with a 6.85 ERA, 1.88 WHIP, and 68 walks in 90.2 innings. An unbelievable, almost impossible regression.
Many of the issues were believed to have stemmed from his control and velocity, both of which held him back to a degree at the MLB level, too. But so far this spring, it appears pitching coach Matt Blake is working his magic with the 22-year-old.
Is Deivi Garcia transforming back to a promising asset for the Yankees?
In five spring training innings, Garcia has allowed just three hits, one earned run and zero walks. Though he’s only struck out two batters, you can see the obvious change in velocity, which will undoubtedly make his secondary offerings that much more effective.
Since arriving in New York, Blake has worked with a number of Yankees pitchers to better their production, whether through increasing the usage of one particular pitch (more changeups for a number of starters), introducing an entirely new one (Aroldis Chapman’s splitter), or adjusting mechanics, which could be the case with Garcia at the moment.
The dream was always to have Garcia as a back-end rotation piece who can make 20+ starts and provide 100+ innings. His massive step back put a halt to those plans, but is it possible we could now be looking at ~25 combined starts from both Garcia and Clarke Schmidt instead of Domingo German and Michael King? We sure hope so.
Garcia and Schmidt returning to prominence as two of the organization’s best young talents would be a 180 narrative for 2022 all Yankees fans are secretly hoping for.