New York Yankees: The Future Looks Bright For These Three Youngsters

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

The New York Yankees just released their summer camp rosters so let’s look and see who on the list we might see in Pinstripes one day. Three players come to mind.  All of them are pitchers. 

Let’s begin with the 20-year pitching machine Deivi Garcia (currently ranked 92nd on MLB’s top 100). Garcia has everyone talking about him and is closer than ever to getting his shot in the big leagues. He has a nasty arsenal of pitches with a screaming fastball and a knee-buckling curve ball. He has climbed up the minor league ladder quickly in the last 3 years and was the youngster most consistently in the spotlight this past Spring. Let’s look at the numbers. 

He started getting attention in 2018 when he put up an astonishing 1.27 ERA in 5 starts with the Tampa Tarpons. In mid-2018 he optioned to the Charleston River Dogs where he struggled in his first few starts but finished strong enough to be called up to the Trenton Thunder late that season. He had just one outing, but pitched a very productive 5 shutout innings.   

Garcia again received an invite to extended Spring Training with the Tampa Tarpons in 2019 where he finished with a 3.06 ERA over 17.2 innings. He was again called up to the Trenton Thunder and held his own finishing with a 3.86 ERA in 11 starts. 

Garcia made his Triple-A debut with the Rail Riders bullpen in late 2019. While he struggled in his first two starts there, he improved over time and ended with a 5.40 ERA.

He got his first invite to Spring Training in 2020. He finished with a 7.36 ERA after 7 innings pitched in a season cut short by COVID-19.  That was not the performance Garcia wanted, but the spotlight hasn’t shifted and the Yankees know he gets better with time. Despite his Spring Training performance, the higher-ups are expecting Garcia to positively impact the Yankees very soon.  At just 20-years old, he has plenty of time to do just that.  Look to see Deivi Garcia’s name in the big leagues at some point in the future. 

The next pitching stud that is opening eyes in the organization is 23-year old pitching phenom Clarke Schmidt (currently ranked 88th on MLB’s top 100). Schmidt is another player that’s climbed the Yankees ladder quickly after being drafted by the Yanks in 2018. Schmidt’s nasty breaking ball makes players whiff. 

The first rounder has surprised everyone in the organization with his quick development.  In 2018 he pitched in the Gulf Coast League and also played for the Staten Island Yankees. He finished the year with a 3.09 ERA in 23 innings.  With shockingly good numbers in 2018, he was invited to Tampa for extended Spring Training. He had great numbers with the Tarpons, finishing with a 3.84 ERA in 12 starts. He returned to the Gulf Coast League where he started three games finishing with a 3.24 ERA. From there, he was pulled up to Double-A to play with the Trenton Thunder. His time with the Thunder was short due to the late call-up, but he started 3 games and finished with a phenomenal 2.37 ERA leading to an invite to join the Yankees in Tampa for his first Spring Training. He was a member of the bullpen for the beginning of Spring Training and handled that adjustment with ease, finishing with a 2.57 ERA in 7 innings.

Schmidt looked great in Tampa and used his breaking ball effectively. Clarke Schmidt is definitely one of the names to watch in the future. 

The final stud on the list is 22-year old, right-handed pitcher, Miguel Yajure. There are higher ranked pitchers in the organization but I see something special with Miguel’s ability to dominate deep in counts and get players to swing and miss. Miguel has some nasty pitches in his arsenal.  During our recent interview, he told me he is most confident throwing his change-up. He is creeping up in the rankings and gaining recognition but still doesn’t get talked about enough. 

He has been with the Yankees since he was 17-years old and has improved every year. In 2018, started 14 games with the Charleston River Dogs and finished with a 3.90 ERA. He played the majority of his 2019 season with the Tampa Tarpons and pitched in 22 games (started in 18) and finished with an incredible 2.26 ERA in 127 innings of work. Heads were turning quickly and he was called up to Double-A to play with the Trenton Thunder. While he only started in 2 games he dominated both, finishing with a 0.86 ERA over 11 innings. Based on his performance in 2019, he was invited to join the Yankees down in Tampa for Spring Training where he pitched in 2 games, giving up 3 runs over 2.1 innings pitched. 

Yajure’s resume speaks for itself and he is really due to make some noise soon.  

All three pitchers are extremely talented and trending up in the rankings.  Don’t be surprised to see one or more in the Bronx soon. Their future truly looks bright!

Yankees’ Deivi Garcia could be secret weapon in shortened season

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

One byproduct of a 60-game regular season for the MLB is that the active roster will be expanded from 26 to 30 players. The New York Yankees will be looking to fill out the final four spots on the roster to help mitigate fatigue in a condensed schedule. There are plenty of options that represent great talent and can supplement injuries and rotate to give top players the rest they need during the hot summer months.

One Yankee that could be a secret weapon in the shortened campaign is Deivi Garcia, the team’s top pitching prospect. He joined the ranks as one of the best young talents in baseball in 2019, as he progressed through the Yankees’ farm system at an astronomical rate.

The consensus was that he would end up in the Bronx at some point in 2020, but the coronavirus pandemic has completely shut down the minor-league seasons and limited his development as a result. Garcia would have benefited from a large sample size of games, giving him an even better chance of making the top team at some point this year. However, the extra spots on the roster could land him an opportunity in a bullpen role, and given his starting abilities, utilizing him for one or two innings could be an efficient move by the Yankees.

Manager Aaron Boone was excited about García earlier on this year before spring training was interrupted. He received the Kevin Lawn award as the Yankees’ top minor league pitcher of the year.

“You see why we’re excited about him, his ability to spin the ball’’ and his progression through the club’s system “at a very young age.’’

At just 21 years old, he has amazing potential and is expected to climb the ranks and eventually cement himself in the starting rotation. While he will have to wait a bit longer due to the change in schedule, he’s in prime position to steal some live reps in 2021 with three starting pitchers entering the free-agent portal.

“There’s so many guys that you can really dream upon, you can really picture having a really good big-league career,’’ Boone said in late February. “And Deivi (pronounced DAVEY) certainly falls into that category.’’

New York Yankees: Why a shortened season significantly hurts Deivi Garcia’s development

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

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.

New York Yankees: 2 high-rated prospects at a severe disadvantage with shortened season

New York Yankees, Estevan Florial

Taking a look at two of the New York Yankees’ top prospects and how the shortened season will impact their progression:

The coronavirus pandemic has caused a lot more harm in every industry than most realize. With people struggling across the globe and lifestyles taking a significant hit, baseball is one function in society that has been halted due to the concern of further spread.

Major League teams are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the loss in revenue, time, and entertainment for fans. The minor-league system has been hit even harder, stopping the progression of prospects and seriously damaging the income required to operate specific farm systems. For the Yankees, two high-rated prospects will see a disadvantage from the postponement of the regular season.

Estevan Florial is the first Yankee who will suffer the consequences of a shortened 2020 campaign. At 22 years old, the Dominican has struggled to put together complete seasons of adequate play, dealing with injuries and inconsistencies over the last few seasons. The 2020 year was projected to be a bounce-back for Florial, who has seen 325 at-bats or fewer in four of his five seasons as a professional.

His best season was in 2017 when he earned the number one spot in MLB Pipeline’s top 30 rankings. He posted a .298 batting average with 13 home runs and 57 RBIs. He also stole 23 bases in 120 games. Breaking his wrist twice the last two seasons has undoubtedly set him back, and a shortened campaign in 2020 will only do so again. A limited sample size will inevitably slow his progression and force the Yankees to wait another year until he can prove his worth.

However, it is possible the league extends the active roster and opens up a slot for Florial to be added. While this is just a rumor, expanding the active roster to mitigate injury risk could be a possibility.

Another prospect the Yankees will have to wait on is Deivi Garcia. In Grapefruit League play this past spring, García finished with a 7.36 ERA allowing seven runs over 7.1 innings. While eight strikeouts and a nasty curveball accompanied his statistically poor performance, he still has challenges to overcome in development to endure.

I would anticipate him making his debut in 2020, and the shortened season will undoubtedly hurt him as well. Luckily, both Florial and Garcia are young enough to withstand the storm and emerge on the other side unscathed.

Yankees will likely have to wait one more season for prized pitcher to reach majors

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

The Yankees continue to battle injuries, and one young player was in line to earn reps in 2020; however, he’s better of developing in the farm.

The New York Yankees‘ prospect list is headlined by pitcher Deivi Garcia, who climbed the farm-system in just three months last season. His skill-set and youth have brewed a sense of optimism regarding his potential for reaching the majors in 2020.

However, it seems as if he needs a bit more time to develop after struggling during Grapefruit League play. Deivi finished his spring before the MLB shut down operations with a 7.36 ERA, and seven runs allowed over 7.1 innings. His statistically poor performance was accompanied by eight strikeouts and a more prioritized curveball. His accuracy and consistency in that category remain his biggest weakness, as his speed and ball-movement continue to feature as his best attributes.

The New York Yankees might have needed him in 2020:

With James Paxton going down with a cyst in his lower back and expected to return in early-May, Garcia was in line for potential innings at the back-end of the rotation. Factor in the loss of Luis Severino and suddenly the starting rotation was being stripped clean of their best talents.

Garcia’s incredible curve-ball and fastball, which as touched 97 MPH keep him atop the Yankees’ prospect rankings, and rightfully so. He has replaced Estevan Florial as the Yankees’ most exciting youth play. MLB Pipeline ranks him as the No. 3 overall prospect for the Bombers, but Baseball America considers him the 2nd overall prospect.

What the Bombers saw in Garcia landed him a contract of just $200K, while Jasson Dominguez earned a $5.1 million international signing bonus at just 16-years-old. Garcia is nearly 21, and he landed just a fraction of that massive number, despite being one of the top options in the farm.

Factoring in his youth, I don’t believe Garcia will play for the top team this season, instead working his way up the minors and adapting to each level of play. Luckily, he has plenty of time to refine his skills.

New York Yankees: Let’s see Deivi Garcia solve Triple-A before putting huge expectations on his shoulders

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

We live in 2020, and it seems like the pace with which we do and want things done is accelerating by the day. The world, it seems, has run out of patience. The same happens with MLB teams, prospects, and overall expectations: we want our young studs to be major league stars from day one, but that’s not always the case. Player development is not linear, and it’s unrealistic to put high expectations in a hurler that was playing in Class A-Advanced just a few months ago. That’s the case of New York Yankees‘ prospect Deivi Garcia.

Yes, Garcia dominated Class A-Advanced (3.06 ERA and 0.93 FIP in 17.2 innings, with 16.81 K/9) and Double-A (3.86 ERA and 2.20 FIP in 53.2 frames, with 14.59 K/9) in 2019. And yet, everybody is expecting to be a force in 2020 for the big league team. Let’s step on the brakes a little, shall we?

Garcia is still 20 years old. He has a smallish build and needs to prove that he can shoulder a big workload in the major leagues. He has been injured before, and the Yankees sure don’t want to mess with his health.

The Yankees’ prospect only has 40 unsuccessful innings in Triple-A

But, more importantly, let’s see him dominate in Triple-A before putting unfair expectations in him. Last season, he pitched 40 innings there after his stellar run in the previously mentioned levels.

In those 40 frames, Garcia struggled with command (4.50 BB/9) and home runs (1.80 per each nine innings.) The latter can be attributed to the infamous “juiced ball” used in Triple-A, but that’s not the only reason. He needs to improve his command and he could refine all his arsenal before reaching the bigs for good. A 5.40 ERA in Triple-A, with a 5.77 FIP, ain’t gonna cut it.

Why rush him? After all, the New York Yankees will likely have James Paxton back before the season starts. They have Gerrit Cole, Masahiro Tanaka, Jordan Montgomery, J.A. Happ and other prospects that are indeed ready for the bigs, such as Mike King and Jonathan Loaisiga. They will have Domingo German back, eventually. The Yankees have depth, so they would be better off letting Garcia learn his trick in Triple-A for now. Let’s see him prove he belongs with the big boys.

New York Yankees: 7 inning games to be played in front of fans, find out more

There is be no empty stands during this season!

In the land of the unknown, the New York Yankees are slowly finding out certain things with some surety.  One thing we can rule out appears to be games without fans in the stands.  We are finding out more and more about the MLB Players Association that players signed with MLB.  One of the details is that games will be played in front of fans across the country.

What it says is that games will not be played until travel restrictions are lifted, and bans on mass gatherings are lifted.  This means there will be no reason to exclude fans from attending games.  Also emerging from the deal is that medical professionals will have to agree that it is medically safe to hold games that protect players, coaches, and fans alike.

What will the season and games look like?

Although everything remains fluid for the New York Yankees, MLB is hard at work trying to figure out how to get in as many games in this shortened season a possible.  There are several considerations being discussed.  One is to eliminate inter-league play, thus having a more robust competition within the divisions.  Of course, reducing the total games will be necessary which could cause teams to play teams outside their division only once during the shortened season.

One interesting concept is to have doubleheaders on weekends.  This is probably one of the most intriguing ideas because the discussion is to make doubleheaders seven-inning affairs.  This idea should appeal to the New York Yankees.  If you recall, Yankees starters last year had trouble going deep into games.  This caused added stress for the bullpen, which appeared to tire late in the season and postseason.  Seven inning games would put far less strain on bullpen pitchers.

A quick Yankee news recap:

Free Agents: DJ LeMahieu, Masahiro Tanaka, and James Paxton will all become free agents after this season, even if the season is canceled.  Part of the player/owner deal is that if the season is canceled, players will still receive credit for service time.

Yankees move players:  Thairo Estrada, Michael King, and Ben Heller were all optioned to Scranton Wilke/Barre.  But in a surprising move number one or number twp pitching prospect Deivi Garcia was sent to the double-A Trenton Thunder. What makes this move significant is that is a demotion for Garcia, who played with the Rail Riders last year.  Garcia pitched to a poor 5.40 last year and didn’t show much improvement during the shortened spring training while Michael King will start at AAA.

More injuries?  The Yankees had one of the worst injury seasons in recent memory during the last season.  30 players made 39 trips to the IL.  With offseason injuries and surgeries required and even more injuries during the short spring training, the New York Yankees appear to be headed for another injury-prone season until proven otherwise.  It is hoped by the Yankee organization that the new medical conditioning team will keep it from being as dangerous as it was last year.

 

 

 

New York Yankees: Could this stud youth pitcher get called up in 2020?

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

The New York Yankees have one of the best farm systems in Major League Baseball, and some under-the-radar players made an impact before spring training was abruptly cut short due to the coronavirus.

However, their big-name prospects also displayed their abilities and competed for spots on the active roster. With injuries plaguing the team, there were several opportunities for reserve players to make an impact and earn starting reps. The starting pitching unit lost Luis Severino for the entire 2020 season, and James Paxton will be out until early May. With the regular season delaying its start date at least eight weeks, injured players will likely be ready for the new Opening Day.

Throughout the course of the season, injuries will occur, giving more opportunities to younger players. One starting option is Deivi Garcia, who struggled with consistency during the Grapefruit League play this year.

Where do the New York Yankees need to help refine Garcia?

Garcia’s issues have primarily been his consistency, and those didn’t dissipate this off-season. In his final start this spring, Garcia pitched 3 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on three hits in a loss to the Marlins. He walked one batter and struck out three, marking 31 strikes over 48 total pitches. Garcia has shown impressive stuff, as he started the game with a one-two-three inning, but then gave up three runs in the next two innings.

Working on his command was the priority this spring, as harnessing the ability of his pitch types allows him to diversify his game plan and confuse hitters more efficiently. Last season, Garcia led the Yankees minor league with 165 strikeouts, and while he has posted impressive strikeout numbers the spring, he was 0-2 in Grapefruit League play and boasted a 7.36 ERA.

As for Garcia eyeing the 5th man in the rotation before operations shut down, manager Aaron Boon stated, according to MLB.com:

“We’ll see,” said Boone. “I have a little idea that is starting to form in my head. That said, I feel like there’s a lot of guys vying for opportunities that have pitched themselves into the mix. I’m still very much open to a lot of different things. That’s why we’re trying to build guys out in a certain way, to give us those options and try to make the best decision.

After Garcia’s tough spring, it’s clear that he needs more time in Scranton Wilkes-Barre to adapt to a higher level of play. The young DR native has all of the potential in the world, but climbing the minor league system in three months didn’t give him much time to adapt.

New York Yankees face Derek Jeter’s Marlins and lose their third in a row

New York Yankees, Deivi Garcia

Miami Marlins 3, Yankees 1 as Deivi Garcia suffers second loss!

The New York Yankees met Derek Jeter’s Miami Marlins at Roger Dean Chevrolet Stadium in Jupiter,  Florida.  Eighty degrees and partly sunny skies greeted the teams at game time.  Manager Don Mattingly started Sandy Alcantara the Marlins lone All-Star last year, although he has an 11.57 ERA this spring training.  Mike Tauchman led off, and he ground out, Gio Urshela struck out along with Mike Ford for a quick inning for Alcantara.  Deivi Garcia started for the Yankees; he had an ERA of 6.75 with one loss.  Luis Brinson flew out, next up was former Yankee Francisco Cervelli, he was called out on strikes Isan Diaz also struck out for a one-two-three inning for Garcia.

Miguel Andujar led off for the Yankees; he grounded out.  Click Frazier flew out, and Kyle Higashioka flew out for another quick half.  Garcia at the bottom, Garrett Cooper doubled, Matt Kemp singled, Eddy Alverez ground out, and the runners advanced. Harold Ramirez flew out.  Sean Rodriguez singled and two runs scored. Alcantara struck out, and Deivi Garcia had another poor start. Alcantara out again for the third faced Chris Iannetta who walked, Tyler Wade lined out, a wild pitch allowed Iannetta to go to second. Thairo Estrada struck out, and Mike Tauchman grounded out.  Garcia out for a third-inning he walked Brinson, Cervelli flew out, and Diaz lined out, and Cooper struck out.  Marlins 2, Yankees 0.

At the top of the fourth Urshela singled, Andujar doubled driving in Urshela.  Frazier flew out, Higgy singled moving Andujar to third.  Iannetta walked to load the bases with two outs.   Tyler Wade flew out and left the bases the bases loaded.  Marlins 2, Yankees 1.  Garcia, for his fourth inning, Cooper singled, Kemp stuck out, but Cooper stole second, and that was the end of Garcia’s day.  Luis Cessa was immediately hit by Alverez and a ground-rule double driving in Cooper.  Ramirez ground out, Rodriguez struck out swinging, but the Marlins picked up another run.  Marlins 3, Yankees 1.

At the fifth Estrada stuck out, Tauchman ground out, and Urshela flew out.  At the bottom, Cessa got Mahan to strike out, Brinson flew out, and Cervelli ground out to finish the quick inning.  At the sixth Ford ground out against Kintzler.  Andujar ground out, and Frazier doubled, Wade was hit by a pitch and with two on Iannetta gourd out leaving two on.  Cessa got Diaz, Cooper, and Kemp to all strikeout.

The seventh added to the strangeness as ex-Yankee Steven Tarpley took the mound.  Wade, Estrada, and Tauchman all ground out. Cessa got Lopes to fly out, Sierra flew out, and  Rodriguez struck out.  In the eighth, it was Northcraft grounding out Estrada; Ford singled, Granite hit into a double play.  At the bottom, Luis Avilan got Dunand to strike out, Harrison ground out, and Chevez ground out.

With last licks for the Yankees in the ninth, they faced Vesia.  Amburgey ground out, Milone ground out, and Kyle Holder struck out for the last out for the Yankees, and that was the game.  Final score Marlins 3, and the Yankees 1.

Take-a-ways:

As a Yankee fan, there was a strange feel to this game.  It was Derek Jeter’s team, and looking in the dugout sat Donny Baseball and Jorge Posada.  Looking back out to the field was Francisco Cervelli catching, and Steven Tarpley pitching,  it just made for a different feel to the game.  Deivi Garcia had another relatively poor start giving up two runs in three-innings that will not help his high ERA of 6.75.  Cessa pitched excellently in relief. During the game, we learned that Giancarlo Stanton took batting practice, and James Paxton threw the ball for noticeable progress on the injury front. The game was an economical 2 hours and 20 minutes.  The winning pitcher was Alcantara, and the loser was Deivi Garcia for his team-leading second loss of the season.

New York Yankees Opening Day Predictions: Pitching

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

As we inch our way closer and closer to the start of the regular season, speculations abound about who will cut the New York Yankees. With Severino, Paxton, and German all-seeing delays to their seasons (in Severino’s case, completely losing 2020), it’ll be interesting to see just how the team constructs their rotation between now and the end of German’s suspension.

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Don’t Go the Opener Route

The Yankees have been out in the open over their embrace of analytics. Which is why it was so confusing to see the Yankees (or any team) go the route of the opener. The opener runs completely against the notion of analytics in any professional sport. Throughout a 162 game season, you’re going to rest a reliever for throwing an inning of work on three consecutive nights. If this happens the night before an opener appearance, you set yourself back for the opener, as opener starts are all hands on deck, ever 4th or 5th day in 162 games. Their bullpen has been overused in 3 consecutive seasons, giving out during the playoffs when we need them the most. Treat the pen like a bullpen, and we’ll get back to the fall classic.

The Gimmies

Gerrit Cole is starting for the Yankees. He’s the best starting pitcher in baseball, and look at all the money the Yankees gave him?! Barring the start against the Tigers, he’s having an excellent Spring Training.

Masahiro Tanaka is also a gimme. The 7-year veteran loses his effectiveness around the All-Star break, and with the lack of depth in our rotation from last year makes the final year of his deal a necessity that he started.

JA Happ is having an excellent spring. So much so that people are forgetting entirely about how lackluster he was last season. If he can carry this into the regular season till, about, June, that’s all we need from him.

Jordan Montgomery is performing beyond expectations. I was surprised to see how much the Yankees are letting Monty cut loose, but it’s necessary for not only his development but the security of the rotation depends on it.

Can Garcia Make the Jump?

Deivi Garcia was spared the first round of cuts, putting him squarely in the fight between him, Loaisiga, and Cessa for the 5th spot in the rotation. Garcia ended 2019 in Scranton, but can he impress enough in the last few starts of the spring to leapfrog staples in the pen-like Loaisiga and Cessa? Or will this be Luis Cessa’s opportunity to show what he truly has as a starter? I think it will ultimately boil down to those two.

Let’s see what happens in the next 2.5 weeks.