Matt Blake's School for Pitchers has done wonders for many, many Yankees arms, and has made fans forget all about the Larry Rothschild Era of Incompetence.
One pitcher Blake's teachings objectively broke, though? Deivi Garcia, who didn't take to a tweak here and a tweak there before his entire arsenal fell off the tracks between 2020-21.
Long story short? Garcia rose through the ranks of the Yankees' system in 2018, defying his size and stature with a surprisingly potent fastball and devious curve. He whiffed 105 men in 74 innings pitched across three levels, posting a 2.55 ERA and reaching Double-A. He threw five no-hit innings with seven strikeouts in his debut at the level.
The next year, he took a slight step back, but still represented the Yankees in the 2019 Futures Game and obscured his 4.28 ERA with 165 Ks in 111.1 innings pitched. He was an unorthodox pitcher. Often, arsenals like that don't come in tidy packages. Yet, somehow ... it worked. He made his MLB debut -- and started a playoff game on a technicality -- in 2020. Sometimes, he got rocked (three innings/six earned against the Red Sox). Sometimes, he made art (14 innings/five earned runs against the Jays in back-to-back starts).
But whether it was psychological warfare from being used for a single inning in a playoff start or something more mechanical, he was never the same again after that partial season. "Next Pedro Martinez"? Maybe for somebody else, which is what Yankees insider Erik Boland seems to believe is on the horizon for Garcia once he latches on elsewhere.
Former Yankees pitcher Deivi Garcia will dominate elsewhere. It's science.
Want to see something genuinely sad? Check out the replies to that tweet, or any Garcia tweet. They're jam packed with fans wishing him well elsewhere, knowing full well that this current regime screwed him up and he'd never have the same chance to grow and develop under the Yankees' guidance. Yankee fans rooting against the Yankees, ostensibly. That's what we've come to.
While we're not in the room, Garcia certainly seems like the victim of Yankees tinkering. The team's pitching program has been by and large successful, but somewhere along the way, someone seems to have treated the unique Garcia as a cookie-cutter righty who needed to be less "rotational" in his delivery. The Yankees messed with his mechanics prior to the 2021 season, and Garcia responded by losing all command, as well as the shape of his famous curveball.
From 2021 to present, his Triple-A ERAs have been 6.85, 7.96 and 5.67. After walking 20 men in 2018 and 54 in 111.1 innings in 2019 (admittedly a tough number), those marks ballooned to 68 in 90.2 innings in 2021, 32 in 64 last season, and 32 in 46 this year.
Maybe Triple-A was the end of Garcia's rapid rise. Maybe he was always destined to stall and sputter out. Or maybe the Yankees messed with his mojo after 2020, which we have documented evidence of them doing. Maybe, when Blake and Co. tried to get him "back" to his 2020 setup/windup in 2022, it was already too late.
Bottom line? The Yankees broke Garcia, and Boland believes someone else can do what the Yankees couldn't and erase the damage they'd inflicted.
Eternally glad Brian Cashman turned down "lots" of Garcia trade requests in 2020 before they poked and prodded him into oblivion. That's the most common trajectory for Yankees prospects.