Prospect Profile: Deivi Garcia
The Yankees have a fair number of right handed pitchers taking up room on their top 30 prospects lists. One of their younger top pitching prospects finds himself a bit outside the box, in ways that make him an intriguing player to follow. Deivi Garcia was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2015, when the Yankees weren’t allowed to sign international players for less than $300,000. They signed Garcia for $200,000 and the small hurler has managed to impress.
Name: Deivi Garcia Birthdate: May 19, 1999 Position: Pitcher Bats/Throws: R/R Height: 5’10” Weight: 163
Starting his professional career in the Dominican Summer League, Garcia struck out 61 hitters in under 50 innings. He held opposing batters to just a .149 average, striking out ten in 4.1 innings in a game against the Rockies’ DSL team. He started 2017 back in the DSL before being promoted to the Gulf Coast League, playing for the Yankees’ West team. In a little less than a month, the young pitcher was promoted again, heading up to Pulaski.
While playing for Pulaski, Garcia found his first professional challenge, going 2-1 for a 4.50 ERA in six games. He still kept his strikeout rate high, sitting down 43 in 28 innings of work. His work over 2016 and 2017 in the rookie leagues meant that Garcia started 2018 in Charleston. He actually played his first game with Tampa, but then left for Charleston, where he went 2-4 over eight games with a 3.76 ERA and 63 strikeouts in 40.2 innings. He then went back to Tampa where he held opposing batters to a .192 average over 28.1 innings. One more promotion and Garcia made a start in Trenton, where he struck out seven and didn’t give up a hit over five innings of work.
Garcia’s small stature is one of the most intriguing aspects of his game – at least to me. I’ve always been on the small side and while I played goalie in field hockey through college, I can’t tell you how many times I heard people tell me I was too small to play goal. They were wrong. Despite his smaller size, Garcia’s fastball mostly lives in the low-90s, but he can get up to 96mph. However, it is the incredible spin that he generates that makes him such a crafty pitcher.
While he has a strong fastball, it is Garcia’s curveball that is his bread and butter pitch. It is a plus pitch that also benefits from his spin. He reportedly has a spin rate on his curve that is over 3,000, which is pretty outstanding. He has a fading changeup that is a solid pitch, though still needs some work.
Garcia strikes out a lot of batters and his walk rate isn’t anything to frown at either. He averaged only 2.4 walks per nine innings last season, while ringing up 12.8 strikeouts over nine. Garcia has an interesting collection of tools that make it possible to envision him as either a starter or a reliever. If he can add some strength to his small frame, he could last as a starter, but if that doesn’t pan out, a strikeout machine like this could be a valuable pitcher coming out of the bullpen.