A significantly shortened season will hurt the New York Yankees more than help them, precisely because several starting pictures will become free agents after 2020. Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ will all be on the market next off-season, and the Yankees were hoping that some of their younger arms could develop into potential starters to supplement the losses.
However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the inability for team owners and the MLBPA to find a resolution on player contracts, the season could be shortened to 50 games.
A 50 game season would force the Yankees to maximize their healthy players right off the bat. The issue is, their younger prospects will have lost an entire season of development essentially.
What Yankees’ players will be affected the most?
Starting pitcher Deivi Garcia is one of the players hurt by the situation. He was projected to start in the Minor League system this year to continue his progression to becoming an eventual starter at the MLB level. Both Garcia and Clark Schmidt were potential call-ups for the top team this year, even if it was in a rotational or bullpen role. Injuries have affected the team significantly, and they have had success relying on alternative options in the recent past.
At 5-foot-9, Garcia is small for a starting pitcher, but his stuff is nasty, boasting a 90-95 MPH fastball and a daunting curveball/changeup. His ability to diversify his pitch repertoire and confused batters are how he maximizes his game, but losing a year of development might hold him back from reaching the Majors until 2021. Ultimately, it is his breaking ball that makes him unique and elite for a 21-year-old pitcher.
While some scouts believe his command is below average, he is still young and has plenty of room for improvement. As he continues to refine his skillset and add more diverse pitches with better quality to his arsenal, he can only become a more effective player on the mound.
In 2019, Garcia struck out 33 batters in just 17.2 innings. He climbed through the Minors in just three months last year, showing off his immense talent and adaptability. Eventually, he was going to hit a wall and require a bit more time, and that happened with Scranton Wilkes-Barre in AAA ball.
He posted a 5.40 ERA, allowing eight home runs over 40 innings in high A ball. A bit more consistency and dominance at that level will earn him a spot in the rotation, possibly as a bullpen arm for the time being. There is no rush for him to see starting reps, but I believe he has the skill set to earn them eventually. The reality of a shortened season will push his timeline back a few months, but luckily age is on his side, and the Yankees know that.