Deivi Garcia: New York’s “Next Man Up”?

Deivi Garcia with the Tampa Tarpons, vs Bradenton Marauders. George M. Steinbrenner Field, Tampa, FL April 17, 2019. Photo credit Scott Greene, @Scotty_Ballgame on Twitter

The New York Yankees farm system boasts some of the top talent of any organization in the league. Despite graduating a number of quality players over the past few seasons, they’ve managed to acquire talent through the international market with much eminence since the turn of the decade. Gary Sanchez and Miguel Andujar are examples of this process that are currently having massive success at the highest level.

However, out of all the talent in the system, their high upside arms are the ones that attract the most attention. Luis Severino is the archetype for international Yankees pitchers. They’ve also had a significant impact on the development of both Domingo German and Jonathan Loaisiga since they joined the team. German is beginning to blossom into the ace of the staff with Severino and James Paxton currently on the Injured List. Loaisiga stands out due to his promotion to the big leagues after a minuscule minor league track record.

There are rumblings that Loaisiga may not be the only pitcher primed for the majors in 2019. Whispers from Trenton are echoing onto the Internet, and apparently Deivi Garcia is “on the fast track” to the Bronx. An article on quotes the Trenton Thunder manager, Pat Osburn, as the source for this bold claim. Garcia goes on to further the confidence later in the article by stating that he feels like he “can get there.” His performance thus far has yet to make an argument to the contrary.

Since signing for $200,000 out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, $25K less than Severino four years earlier, Garcia is pitching like a future ace. Over his 204 IP, he is touting a sub-3.00 ERA, 1.06 WHIP, and 295 K to only 84 BB. The numbers are brilliant for such a young kid who now boasts two starts at AA as a 19-year old. His latest created quite a buzz on Twitter, as the recently promoted Garcia took on the New Hampshire Fisher Cats on May 1st. There were reports of an improperly scored error that caused the Yankees right-hander to later relinquish a grand slam in an inning that should have ended harmlessly. Nevertheless the final line was angelic. Garcia struck out 11 batters over 4 IP.

This prospect’s extraordinary success stems from textbook mechanics. The biggest, and seemingly ONLY, knock on Deivi’s game is the lack of size. Garcia stands 5’9″, 163 lbs. according to Baseball Reference. This profile puts him in the Marcus Stroman, Pedro Martinez category of outliers whose talent outweighs the diminutive stature. Garcia’s mechanics allow him to overcome an immediate negative in his game and flourish throughout the minor leagues.

Maximum efficiency in one’s delivery begins with the foot plant. Deivi Garcia has a beautiful foot plant, slightly closed to the armside and solidly cast in the dirt to provide an anchor for his leg to stabilize at the proper angle. His kinetic chain slows by the time the ball is finally released. However, he’s known to surpass 95 MPH on occasion. This velocity jump can be caused by increased torsion in the top half. Garcia’s lower half mechanics are some of the best in the Yankees system, and the main factor for consistency of both his fastball spin and curveball break. Overall the delivery is consistent and low energy, yet nearly reaching max efficiency. If he improves the internal rotation of his shoulder to ultimately achieve more power in the release, I believe he can get to a point where 95 MPH becomes the norm on an already dynamite, high-spin fastball. These improvements will be simpler to make due to his advanced lower half.

The plus mechanics allow Garcia to repeat his delivery and maintain command over what he wants to do with the baseball. He creates a notoriously high spin rate on both the fastball and curveball, which may be a reason he slows down the upper half prior to release. Deivi pounds the upper inside corner of the plate to right-handers, sometimes achieving an armside run on the four-seamer that renders it nearly unhittable; tunneling this offering with a late-breaking curveball that drops off the table and has the ability to attack the back-foot of lefties on its best day. Garcia continues to work on the changeup. Beginning to hone this last pitch, he utilizes it on the inside half to righties and outside corner to lefties. Even if the pitch never becomes outstanding, he uses it effectively enough to keep hitters off balance of the other two above-average offerings, some scouts rating them as highly as 70.

Calling for a 19-year-old to be promoted to the big leagues by the end of the season seems absurd. Although the attitude towards awarding the best talent within each organization has certainly changed over the past couple seasons with young stars like Juan Soto, Ronald Acuna Jr. Fernando Tatis Jr. and even Jonathan Loaisiga for the Yankees. The latter threw less than 160 innings in the minors before debuting in Pinstripes during the Summer of 2018. Deivi Garcia owns, what is undeniably, one of the top skill sets and highest upsides of anyone in the organization. Reports of his changeup developing into a plus offering are disseminating throughout the industry. This puzzle piece, along with increase fastball velocity, would close the case on future ace upside. It’s time to start taking this Yankees phenom a little bit more seriously on mid-season lists. Continued success will spark potential promotion to AAA sometime this summer, and ultimately a rotational spot in the Bronx some time sooner rather than later.

Paul Martin graduated from the University of Connecticut with a double degree in Political Science and American Studies. After college the drive to become a baseball writer became real when Lenny Melnick asked for a podcast substitute. Ever since late-2017, Paul has been providing content for, Razzball, Pitcher List, and now Prospects1500. Living in the Connecticut area there are plenty of options for minor league coverage with the closest team being the Hartford Yard Goats. This die-hard Yankees fan has transitioned into a well-rounded cover of all things fantasy baseball and prospects.

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