Over the past few years, the Yankees have quietly become one of the league’s better teams when it comes to developing starting pitching, with Luis Severino, Domingo German, and Jordan Montgomery taking major steps in their development that have culminated in, at minimum, flashes of an ability to excel at the Major League level.
The latest of these looks to be the 19-year-old phenom Deivi Garcia, the subject of a recent prospect profile posted in the New York Post. He’s drawn comparisons to Pedro Martinez due to his diminutive stature — he’s only 5’9” — and electric stuff. Recently promoted to Double-A Trenton after lighting the Florida State League on fire with the Tampa Tarpons, he has his sights set on the Bronx as early as this year, and it seems like the Yankees may agree; at the very least, his manager, Pat Osborn, agrees.
It remains to be seen whether or not the Yankees are actually fast-tracking Garcia, or if he simply showed that he had nothing left to prove at Tampa after ten starts there, posting a 1.96 ERA and striking out over 13 batters per nine. But if they are, that could give us a little bit of insight into the Yankees’ plans for the prospect, both for this year and for the future.
Back in 2015, the Yankees promoted Luis Severino in early August in lieu of adding a starting pitcher at the deadline; he provided a shot in the arm to the rotation down the stretch, posting a 2.89 ERA (4.37 FIP) in 11 starts, finishing with a 5-3 record. The Yankees could look for a similar boost from Garcia, particularly if they find the mid-season free agent and trade markets uninspiring. While I’m not going to debate the merits of relying on an unproven commodity in the middle of a tight divisional race — there are many other opportunities for that — there is a clear precedent in recent years that the Yankees can draw on, should Garcia force the Yankees’ hand through his performance.
Beyond this year, the Yankees clearly need to begin looking towards the rotation of the future, for as of now, the 2021 rotation consists of Luis Severino, Domingo German, Jonathan Loaisiga, and Chance Adams (Masahiro Tanaka and James Paxton will be free agents, while J.A. Happ has a vesting option for 2021). While we cannot speak definitively of where these players will be in three years — if I had that kind of foresight, I’d be in the business, or play lotto — it is easy to dream of a future rotation topped by a Cerberus of Severino, German, and Garcia.
It remains to be seen whether or not Garcia can continue his rapid rise through the farm system, or if the 19-year-old will finally slow down while playing against competition that is, on average, more than four years older than him. The fact that he can, however, gives us a bit of an insight into where the Yankees are looking for the future, both this year and in upcoming years.