Devi Garcia, RHP, NYY

2019 proved to be the Case of the Dropping Strikeout Rate for Deivi Garcia.

Video courtesy of Prospects Live
  • Born: May 19, 1999
  • B/T: R/R
  • 5’9″, 163-lbs
  • Signed by the New York Yankees in 2015 out of the Dominican Republic

The Numbers

His raw numbers are listed above courtesy of baseball-reference.com. Let’s aggregate by year then focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:

The thing that pops out is that gaudy strikeout rate, and the fact that it holds at that high level no matter the level.

The second thing that pops out is the suddenly high WHIP last year, due, in part, to an elevated walk rate. Yes, the strikeout rate is so high, he can get away with a high walk rate, but the walks complicate things as the WHIP shows.

I wonder, was this walk rate just about being at AAA? Let’s dig deeper:

No, the walk rate was elevated from day one of the 2019 season. And while the strikeout rate was elevated on a season-long basis, we see that it actually dropped every time Garcia jumped to a new level. It was only because he started at an eye-popping 45% strikeout rate at A+ that his final 25% rate at AAA is still acceptable despite a major drop.

2019 was a year where Garcia’s command of his pitches was lacking, and as his strikeout rate diminished, his WHIP increased, and the damage got worse.

In Class A Advanced, Garcia gave up fewer hits to lefties while righties scored runs.

In Double-A, Garcia gave up more hits and far more runs to lefties.

In Triple-A, Garcia gave up more hits to righties.

Nope, no big split patters here.

Same with the spray chart, it’s balanced.

His career K-BB% rate is good, and for most of his career he has been at that rate or higher, and even in 2019 his high-K% rate kept him above water. Then he reached AAA and his strikeout rate collapsed and with it his trend line.

When you are only 5’9″, and a sleight 163 pounds, scouts figure there’s no way you are going to be a starting pitcher in the majors. Or if you do, there’s no way you have the frame to pitch 200 innings (although let’s be real, how many 200 IP pitchers exists any more?).

That said, what Garcia has in his favor is a four-pitch mix, three of which are already average if not plus. That’s why he remains a starter, and if he doesn’t stay one in the majors, it just means he’ll be a bulk inning reliever. If he was on the Rays, he’d be a good fit for their Opener strategy.

His fastball has a high spin rate that gives it life, and he throws with a unique angle that makes it hard for batters to pick up.

His curve can be plus as is his slider.

The Scouts

Warnings

AAA was a good test for Garcia. He should spend more time there and work on his command.

His height will cause him to have doubters that he can remain a starter. Lack of command will add to those doubts.

Conclusion

If he improves his command, he has the pitch mix to not only be a starter, but a #3 starter. That’s why he ranks so highly on the scouts’ lists.

Even if he’s only a 100 IP weapon for the Yankees, this skill set will be useful.

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