“Who’s That Guy?” is a new weekly Yahoo Sports feature highlighting a baseball player who you should definitely be watching this week. We’re not talking about the Mike Trouts and Max Scherzers of the world, instead it’s new and interesting players. Maybe a hot prospect who just got called up or a veteran role player having a moment.
There’s this narrative about the New York Yankees and you’ve surely heard it before: They get all the best free agents and make all the big trades to make the best teams money can buy. While that’s true with Gerrit Cole and Giancarlo Stanton — and certainly was true in the past — the narrative doesn’t quite hold up anymore.
The modern Yankees are more of the best of both worlds. They bring in big stars, sure, but their success is also built on homegrown talent. And recently, that homegrown talent has had to rescue them when the big-name guys are either not performing or injured — but these days, usually injured.
There’s a lot of “Where did that guy come from?” on the Yankees roster the past few years. And while no one should be surprised at the ascension of Deivi Garcia — he’s been a Yankees top prospect for a few years — he’s certainly another young, talented player who is poised to make an impact on the 2020 season.
With the Yankees facing injuries again in 2020, Cole not totally delivering on the hype yet and the front office not doing anything at the trade deadline, there’s actually quite an opportunity for Garcia to contribute.
Why do you need to know him?
The Garcia hype is riding high this week after a stellar MLB debut. He was called up over the weekend to pitch in a doubleheader against the Mets and was quite impressive. He only allowed an unearned run, struck out six and didn’t walk anybody in six innings. The 21-year-old right-hander was the Yankees’ No. 3 prospect coming into the season, according to MLB Pipeline, and had a debut that matched the rosy scouting reports.
We’re not sure when the Yankees will call on him again — maybe during another doubleheader this Friday against the Orioles; maybe next week — but you can bet many eyes will be on him. With James Paxton on the IL again, the Yankees could use another impact arm as they try to catch the Rays in first place in the AL East.
Where did he come from?
The Yankees signed Garcia out of the Dominican Republic in 2015 when he was 16 and have watched him blossom into a budding star. He was great in 2018, with a 2.55 ERA across two minor-league levels. Times were a little tougher in 2019, as he made his way to Triple-A and had a 5.40 ERA.
Still, he’s continued to impress because of his pitch arsenal. He has a daunting curveball that scouts rate as “plus-plus,” a fastball that’s only in the mid-to-low 90s but has some deceptiveness and he’s worked on a change-up and a slider to complete his pitch mix. The curve is what people gush over.
Deivi García, Fastball/Curveball Overlay pic.twitter.com/aJ7IYh02UD— Rob Friedman (@PitchingNinja) August 30, 2020
Garcia has earned comparisons to Pedro Martinez over the years, mostly because of his stature (being Dominican helps too). Garcia isn’t Chris Sale — he’s just 5-foot-9, shorter than even Martinez, but still brings some gusto on the mound.
Is this Kratz-Deivi relationship an actual thing? SO here for it pic.twitter.com/ue16WgqWqb— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) August 30, 2020
Is he a one-hit wonder?
While Garcia’s full impact may not come in 2020, it’s a good bet that what we saw in his MLB debut is just the start. If he can pitch well, the way things are going this year for the Yankees, they can use him down the stretch and into October.
But this is hardly his endgame. With Cole locked into the top of the Yankees rotation for years to come, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Garcia right there next to him.
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