MIAMI -- As the Yankees’ No. 1 prospect at last summer’s Sirius XM All-Star Futures Game, Deivi García was at ease and poised while surrounded by media in the home clubhouse at Cleveland’s Progressive Field. After completing a mostly successful 2019 that saw him promoted to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre for the season’s second half, García expressed the same confidence this week in Miami at the MLB Rookie Career Development Program for prospects on the cusp of the Major Leagues.
“As far as last year, 2019 was a very important year for me, because it was a year in which I was able to develop a big part of my talent and I was able to develop my mentality,” García said.
Leading up to the All-Star break last season and his subsequent promotion to Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, García recorded 87 strikeouts in 53 2/3 innings at Double-A Trenton, utilizing his signature curve, mid-90s fastball and slider. And in the Futures Game, the Dominican-born right-hander did not disappoint, pitching a perfect first inning with a strikeout and landing 10 of his 14 pitches for strikes.
“That game was really important,” said García, 20, who asked to wear number 45 on his uniform in Cleveland in honor of his countryman and Hall of Famer Pedro Martínez. “It was a game in which I felt very comfortable. I felt like I did in fact have the potential to be a good player and that filled me with enthusiasm to keep moving forward.”
García’s second half at Scranton/Wilkes-Barre had its ups and downs. In 11 games (six starts), he had a 1-3 record, a 5.40 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 40 innings. He finished the season with a combined ERA of 4.28, 165 strikeouts and 54 walks in 26 games (21 starts) between Double-A and Triple-A. In 111 1/3 innings, he gave up 10 home runs.
Going into Spring Training, García -- who will turn 21 on May 19 -- should be slotted to start the season with the RailRiders, with a possible Major League debut in store this year.
“For 2020, the main thing I want is to be healthy,” he said. “I always say that if I’m healthy, I can show what I can do. And then, help the team be better every day.”