The New York Yankees are no stranger to developing promising prospects, but the handling of pitching prospect Deivi Garcia raises questions about player development and strategic decisions within the organization.
Deivi Garcia: A Promising Start With the Yankees
A few years back, Garcia was one of the top young talents in the Yankees’ minor-league system. The now 24-year-old showed remarkable promise:
- 2019 High-A: 3.06 ERA
- 2019 Double-A Somerset: 3.86 ERA across 53.2 innings
He even made his MLB debut in 2020, registering a 4.98 ERA over 34.1 innings. But his inability to control his pitching, coupled with a significant number of walks, marked the end of his time with the Bombers.
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The Unexpected Release: Chicago’s Gain
This week, the Yankees released Garcia, leading to the Chicago White Sox claiming him off the waiver wire the next day. Garcia’s recent performance includes 5.2 innings this season, hosting a 1.59 ERA but giving up 6.26 walks per nine with Triple-A across 46 innings. This drop in stock has led to criticism from former Yankee catcher Erik Kratz, who holds the management accountable for failing to develop Garcia properly.
Erik Kratz’s Scathing Remarks
Via the Foul Territory podcast, Kratz criticized the Yankees’ decision-making concerning Garcia, including failing to trade him at his peak and eventually designating him for assignment.
“They didn’t want to trade him because they felt like there was so much upside for him and now he’s DFA’d,” Kratz stated.
Kratz further pointed out that when Garcia initially reached the MLB at just 20 years old, the proper guidance was lacking.
“They did him wrong in the organization is the sense of the coaches they had to coach him through being a 20-year-old in the big leagues,” Kratz added.
The criticisms didn’t stop at mismanagement; Kratz also targeted the front office for not leveraging Garcia’s value when he was one of the top pitching prospects.
“It’s a prime example of a guy they could’ve traded for whatever the Yankees needed…They didn’t do it and now anybody can have them,” Kratz concluded.
Erik Kratz: A Unique Perspective
Having spent the final season of his ten-year MLB career with the Bombers in 2020 and maintaining a close relationship with Garcia, Kratz’s observations carry weight. His 2020 performance included hitting .321 with a .367 OBP, four RBIs, and a 113 wRC+.
A Pattern of Concern?
While this situation with Garcia could be viewed as an isolated incident, some argue that the Yankees’ treatment of prospects, like Estevan Florial and Oswald Peraza, in recent years has been questionable at best.
A Lesson in Player Development
The case of Deivi Garcia serves as a stark reminder of the critical role that proper guidance, strategic planning, and timing play in player development. The Yankees’ handling of this talented pitcher highlights potential flaws in their approach to nurturing young talent.