Yankees Top 30 Prospects for 2020: Deivi Garcia (RHP, #3)
Today we continue our Yankees Top-30 Prospects Countdown for the 2020 season with RHP Deivi Garcia.
Signed in 2015 out of the Dominican Republic along with Luis Medina, Deivi Garcia was seen as a project piece because of his size, even though he showed great spin rates and movement on his pitches. Garcia quickly made people consider him a legitimate prospect however, after just one amazing season in rookie ball in 2016. From there, Garcia has continued jump up the minor league levels, moving up three levels at a time for each of the past three seasons. He has tremendous put-away stuff and gets a lot of strikeouts, but has been prone to allowing a lot of fly balls. His future as a starter is under some question because of his effortful delivery and lack of going far into games in 2019, but his ceiling still obtainable and comes as a mid-to-high rotation piece with a floor as a high-leverage reliever. Maybe 2020 also comes his MLB debut, we’ll have to wait to see.
(Screenshot From New York Yankees Video, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PzO2Z8x63gI)
Deivi Garcia, RHP (#3):
Age/Date of Birth: 20 Years Old (06/03/1998)
2019 Team(s): Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders (Triple A), Trenton Thunder (Double A), Tampa Tarpons (Class A Advanced)
2019 MiLB Statistics: 5-9 Record, 4.28 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 111.1 Innings, 165 Strikeouts, 54 Walks, (26 Games, 21 Games Started)
Height/Weight: 5’9”/163 Pounds
Acquired: Signed by the New York Yankees during the 2015/16 IFA Class.
MLB ETA: 2020
Deivi Garcia Scouting Grades (20-80 Scale):
What to Know:
As with many of the Yankees current prospects, Deivi Garcia was signed as a value player during the two seasons when the Yankees were not allowed to top any IFA bonuses of more than $300,000. Signed during the 2015/16 IFA class, Garcia inked a $200,000 bonus to join a previous prospect Luis Medina (#10) as the two big potential arms that the Yankees were able to acquire. Unranked as an international prospect, largely due to his short size (5’9”), the Yankees saw past this, instead focusing on his great spin rates and quick arm.
Making his professional debut in 2016 in the Dominican Summer League, Garcia would fall victim to the “Jacob DeGrom” factor as he only recorded 1 win around 5 losses while pitching phenomenally. A 2.61 ERA, 1.14 WHIP, and .149 BAA were only some of the numbers that were dazzling, with the most (and obviously unsustainable) being his nearly 2.00 GO/AO at 1.96. (!) This was the makings of his becoming a great prospect.
That 2016 season not only provided the Yankees with knowledge that they may have found another diamond in the rough, but also helped put Garcia on-the-map as he found his first prospect ranking at #16 in the system to start the 2017 season. He had a quick stint again in the DSL for 4 games (and a 1.17 ERA; 0.78 WHIP) before moving up to make an American debut in the Gulf Coast League. This would be his first showings of a flaw in his game, as he fell considerably below a GO/AO of 1.00 (0.56) yet he was able to keep control of his other numbers with a 3.24 ERA and a 0.78 WHIP. After 4 games with 2 starts, he moved up to the Appalachian League with the Pulaski Yankees, where he would start 5 games and finish his season. Again, his numbers started to inflate (ERA of 4.50, WHIP of 1.29) at the level, but over the course of two seasons he had produced incredible K:BB numbers of 146:51 over 108.1 innings. Unfortunately, Garcia did almost fall of the system rankings, being re-ranked mid-season at #30.
2018 would bring about another season at three different levels for Garcia, starting that season with the Charleston RiverDogs (Class A) and ranked #16 in the Yankees system again. At the new level, Garica would start all 8 of his games to 40.2 innings and a 3.76 ERA. Again flashing amazing K:BB numbers going 63:10, held his WHIP to 1.01, and kept batters to near the Mendoze line at .205. This would earn him a stint with the Tampa Tarpons (Class A Advanced) where he would start 5 games to a 1.27 ERA. While his WHIP went down again to 0.95 and his BAA went to .195, Garcia was still allowing more and more fly balls, now a GO/AO of 0.48. To end the season, Garcia made one start with the Trenton Thunder (Double A), going 5 innings with 7 strikeouts and 2 walks. These various stints would propel his prospect status up from #16 to #11 at midseason, and then again up in the 2019 preseason. Keep in mind, Garcia was 19 years old at this time.
Now the #4 prospect in the Yankees system, Deivi Garcia was about to begin his 3rd straight season spending time at three different levels. Starting the year back with the Tampa Tarpons, he set to work with fixing his extreme fly ball rates, quickly doing so in his 4 game stint to a GO/AO of 1.25. This focus didn’t ruin his numbers, at he still had a good ERA at 3.06 and a WHIP at 1.25, and helped bring him back to the Trenton Thunder. He would spend most of the season at Double-A, starting 11 games and 53.2 innings. He did watch his GO/AO go back down to 0.87 and his ERA jump to 3.86, but still continued to flash great K:BB numbers at 87:26. Now 20 years old, he had already proved enough to bump up to the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Railriders for the first time. Starting 6 games and pitching in 5 others, Garcia did not pitch tremendously well (5.40 ERA, .262 BAA) but overall had produced another season of great numbers with an overall 13.3 K/9 rate that would’ve been 2nd best in the minor leagues (had he pitched enough innings). At the mid-season, Garcia was moved up to the Yankees #1 spot and #62 overall in the MLB.
Going into the 2020 season, Deivi has fallen a tiny bit to #3 in the Yankees system and #92 in the MLB.
Overall, Deivi Garcia is the type of pitcher that everybody would desire and fight over if he was taller. Outside of that however, he should still excite everybody given his athleticism, 4-pitch arsenal, and young age. Along with a fastball that moves around the 90s with great movement from high spin rates, his curveball is seen as one of the best in the minor leagues and has so much break it has occasionally moved too much to keep in the strike zone. Along with this, Deivi also casually added a new above-average pitch in 2019 with a mid-80s slider, and even has a solid changeup to play with as well. Because of his shorter size, Deivi has to put a lot effort into his delivery which has brought about concerns about his future in the rotation, especially because he only made it above 6 innings in 4 starts last season.
What Will the Future Hold?
Looking forward into the 2020 season, the Yankees have already assigned him to begin the season with the Trenton Thunder, where he could have very well made it 4 straight seasons pitching at three different levels. He had an outside shot of making it into the Yankees rotation this season if injuries piled up, but now that the season has been shortened and with no start date currently set, this may delay his MLB debut by a season. Most likely he’ll look to pitch in the Yankees pinstripes in 2021 with there being a full season to progress through the final stages in his development and the minor leagues.
As a prospect, Deivi Garcia is placed perfectly in the system. His upside is high enough and obtainable enough to be a #2 or comfortable #3 in the rotation, and his floor is pretty set as a high-leverage reliever. It also seems as though Garcia is becoming a little bit of a polarized prospect as more people are thinking that he would work best in the bullpen, but given his age he still has plenty of time to prove that he is a viable starting option before I think that should become a debate. His MLB ETA has moved up very quick because he’s been so good so early, but if it means he can be a starter only if that debut comes in 2021 or even 2022, so be it, that’s still great to me.