Deivi Garcia: Yankees 2019 Minor League Player Of The Year
Because of trades and graduations in the past few seasons, it’s not an industry secret that the Yankees don’t have a premium prospect like Miguel Andujar or Gleyber Torres at the top levels of their system.
What they do have is Deivi Garcia, a dazzling 20-year-old Dominican righthander who has an outside chance of working out of the big league bullpen this season.
"Everybody has loved Deivi the past two years, no doubt about it,’’ vice president of baseball operations Tim Naehring said.
When a pitcher works at high Class A, Double-A and Triple-A in the same season as a 20-year-old, it gets attention. In fact, Garcia quickly pitched his way to the top rung of the farm system, reaching Scranton/Wilkes-Barre in the middle of July.
When Garcia pitched for Double-A Trenton, a scout from another organization labeled him "the Yankees' top prospect.’’
At 5-foot-9, 163 pounds, Garcia is the quintessential undersized righthander. He has drawn comparisons with Hall of Famer Pedro Martinez and Mets righthander Marcus Stroman because of his combination of size and explosive stuff.
"The stuff I like a lot," another scout said. "He reminds me of Stroman, a guy who will compete a lot. His fastball is 94-97 (mph), his curveball and slider project to be above-average and his arm speed on his changeup is good.
"Like most kids, he has to tighten up his control. Mistakes in the minors are different than mistakes in Yankee Stadium.’’
Through 23 games (21 starts) this season, Garcia recorded a 4.09 ERA with 159 strikeouts and 51 walks in 105.2 innings. His walk rate of 4.3 per nine innings hints at subpar control that must be improved.
Since signing Garcia on July 2, 2015, the Yankees have been impressed by his mental capacity and his ability to make adjustments on the mound. That those tools are wrapped around a 97 mph fastball and an arsenal of above-average secondary pitches make Garcia an arm the Yankees could use on the big league staff next season.
— First baseman Mike Ford has ridden the Triple-A to the Bronx shuttle this season thanks to his potent bat. The 26-year-old hit .303/.401/.605 with 23 home runs through 79 games at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre to earn his big league looks.
— Short-season Staten Island second baseman Ezequiel Duran had opened eyes in the New York-Penn League. The 20-year-old hit .275/.346/.541 with 13 home runs through 57 games.