What to expect from Deivi García in bigs

August 30th, 2020

With five games in three days against the Mets this weekend, the Yankees needed extra pitchers, prompting speculation they'd call up a Top 100 Prospect to make a start. They did exactly that, tabbing Deivi García (ranked No. 100) over fellow right-hander Clarke Schmidt (No. 96) and will deploy him on Sunday.

At 21 years and 103 days, García will be the youngest Yankees pitcher to debut in the big leagues since Phil Hughes (20 years, 306 days).

New York faced international spending restrictions in 2015, yet still managed to sign García for $200,000 out the Dominican Republic. He spent his first two seasons in Rookie ball before bursting onto the prospect scene in 2018, when he threw seven perfect innings in the second game of a Class A Advanced doubleheader in August and reached Double-A at age 19.

García wasn't as dominant while pitching at three levels (Class A Advanced through Triple-A) as a 20-year-old in 2019, though his strikeout rate (13.3 per nine innings) would have ranked second in the Minors if he hadn't fallen just short of qualifying. Added to the 40-man roster in November, he got knocked around a bit in Spring Training and spent the first month of this season in alternative camp.

Known for his wipeout curveball, García has gone 17-20 with a 3.37 ERA in 65 Minor League appearances (57 starts). He has struck out 416 and walked 125 in 293 2/3 innings while shackling opponents to a .202 average. The biggest question with him is durability, because he's a 5-foot-9, 163-pounder who has yet to pitch more than 111 1/3 innings in a season and worked six innings just four times in 21 starts last season.

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Here's our breakdown of García's tools on the 20-80 scouting scale, where 50 represents big league average ability:

Fastball (60): García's four-seam fastball usually ranges from 91-95 and tops out at 97. It's a high-spin weapon that misses bats with riding action up in the strike zone, though it's more hittable when he doesn't elevate it. While he doesn't have a classicly strong frame, he's able to maintain his velocity for several innings at a time.

Curveball (65): García owns one of the best curveballs among all pitching prospects. It's a low-80s pitch with tremendous depth and high spin rates, though it sometimes breaks so much that he has trouble landing it in the strike zone. If he can't locate it with consistency, more disciplined big leaguers may just lay off his curve once they identify it.

Slider (55): García's feel for spinning a breaking ball also translates into a mid-80s slider, which he added last season and is a plus-offering at its best. Despite his nasty pair of breaking pitches, right-handers actually hit him better than lefties in 2019 (.244/.350/.392 versus .216/.310/.357).

Changeup (50): Though it's definitely his fourth pitch, García can display a solid changeup. It typically plays as an average offering with some fading life.

Control (45): García is small and features some effort in his delivery, though he also has the athleticism to make it work. Throwing strikes will be one of his keys to succeeding in the Majors, and his walk rate rose from 2.4 per nine innings in 2018 to 4.4 last year. If he can't be more efficient, he might wind up in the bullpen, albeit as a potential high-leverage reliever.