With the New York Yankees signing star pitcher Gerrit Cole to a nine-year, $324 million contract, the starting rotation is all but solidified. Rushing youth prospects up to the major-league level to feature in a starting role is not necessary during the 2020 season.
The Yankees have Luis Severino and Jordan Montgomery, both returning in a full capacity, as well as retaining Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and potentially J.A. Happ. Players like Deivi Garcia, one of the Yankees top pitching prospects, can take his time refining his abilities in the minor leagues.
Manager Aaron Boone and GM Brian Cashman protected García this off-season by adding him to the 40-man roster ahead of the Rule 5 Draft. For those uninformed, the Rule 5 Draft allows lesser teams that cannot fill their 40-man roster to sign players from other farm systems. They pay a small fee for the players gained. García would undoubtedly be on the list of many teams looking to bolster their pitching prospects and potentially utilize him as a starter in 2020. The Yankees have bigger plans, though, for the undersized 5-foot-9 pitcher.
Garcia was elevated from A-Ball to AAA-Ball in just three months last season. He did struggle at the top minor league level, primarily due to do the differential in player quality and change in grips on the ball. However, he posted a 5.40 ERA, allowed 24 earned runs, eight home runs, all over 40 innings.
Those numbers aren’t noteworthy, but his elevation to the top level of the minor leagues would indicate he was fighting way above his weight class. Next season should be used as a developmental one and allow him to adapt to the quality in AAA. At only 20 years old, he has plenty of time to see progression and eventually make his major league debut.
There have been rumors that García could be on the trade block, especially if a highly touted relief option is on the line. However, I don’t believe general manager Brian Cashman is willing to deal the team‘s number one prospect anytime soon. We can expect García to be a Yankee for quite some time.
I anticipate the Yankees pulling Garcia up to feature in a bullpen role for a short amount of time, just to gauge his readiness to compete at the top level. There’s no indication they could exercise this idea; it all depends on his efficiency with Scranton.
“What comes out of his arm is pretty special, and the Yankees are a very sort of trackman-focused team when it comes to all players,” said Keith Law from ESPN. “But they love their high-spin guys throughout their system. He’s a guy who has that and has command and has control. Which says to me, at least, they’re not going to hesitate to trust him with some kind of major league job by the end of the year.”