Yankees’ Deivi Garcia turns to Pedro Martinez for advice on how to become great

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

While the Yankees were on a five-game losing streak last week, young starting pitcher Deivi Garcia rose to the occasion and gave them some much-needed support in the pitching department. Currently 1-1 on the year, Garcia has a 3.06 ERA with 18 strikeouts and just two batters walked. He’s allowed six runs over 17.2 innings with a 9.2 S09.

The 21-year-old’s emergence for the Bombers has been perfectly timed, with James Paxton dealing with a flexor strain in his forearm and still a few weeks away. The starting rotation has been inconsistent, but it’s finally starting to gain some ground, and Garcia has been factored into the middle of it. After his first performance in the MLB, in which he lasted 6.0 innings against the New York Mets and allowed just one run, he received praise from the legendary Pedro Martinez.

Some speculated that Garcia’s belt, which bears the number 45, was actually Gerrit Cole’s by mistake. Nonetheless, it is actually in memory of Martinez, who is Garcia’s favorite player of all time.

“We talked after (my first game),” Garcia said Sunday before the Yankees’ 3-1 win over the Baltimore Orioles. “That was great. But I have so many different questions I would love to ask him. Like, how do you plan executing? And do you carry that plan over the game? There’s so many different questions I would love to ask.”

Ultimately, learning from Martinez is probably the best thing Deivi can do at such a young age. Gaining more control of his pitches and tweaking his fundamentals to fit his style is the process of becoming a legitimate starter in the MLB. He’s already proven he can pitch at a high level against quality teams, and he will face off against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday.

“They’re very talented team that I’m facing again,” Garcia said. “For me, it’s a matter of being aggressive and being able to execute my pitches. When you see a lineup like that, you have to not give in and cast the tenacity behind every pitch.”

Soaking in as much information as possible is exactly what he should be doing, and it will ultimately translate next year when the Yankees factor him into their starting rotation. With three starters set to hit the free-agent market in Paxton, Masahiro Tanaka, and JA Happ (possibly), they will only be gaining back Luis Severino from the injured list. While I estimate they will likely retain Tanaka and let the other two go, they will supplement one of those spots with Garcia.

“Every experience is unique, and you learn from those,” Garcia said. “I learn from my teammates. How do they go about their responsibilities on and off the field, the professionalism as baseball players and the preparation? Building a plan to face a team … What goes into that? How do you prepare for that?

“They’re very important for me as a player, just the experience itself and gaining as much as I can.”

Preparation is a massive part of longevity and success in every professional sport. For a starting pitcher, watching film on his opponent and understanding how to pitch around individuals is exactly the type of process García should be embarking on. Learning as a player and an academic is how people progress from good to great. So far, I would say the young Dominican is well on his way to becoming a successful player in the majors.

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