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Deivi Garcia (Photo by Matt Bufano)


The Downward Spiral of Another Former Top Prospect: Deivi García

The Yankees activation of relief pitcher Jonathan Loáisiga from the injured list meant that a 40-man roster spot needed to be opened. It was announced that RHP Deivi García was the most recent designation for assignment by the Yankees. As is the case with some other former top prospects, García’s fall from grace has been stark. Let’s recap his timeline in the pinstripes so far:

June 25, 2019 – Trenton, New Jersey, U.S – DEIVI GARCIA of the Trenton Thunder participates in pitchers’ fielding practice before a game at ARM & HAMMER Park vs. the Reading Fightin Phils. (Credit Image: © Staton Rabin/ZUMA Wire) (Cal Sport Media via AP Images)

Signing and Minor League Debut

Deivi García was signed by the Yankees in 2015 out of the Dominican Republic as a 16 year old pitcher. His signing bonus was $200,000, second most by a Yankees pitcher behind fellow Dominican, Luis Medina. Garcia then pitched in the Dominican Summer League the following summer of 2016. His overall numbers were very impressive, posting a 2.61 ERA with an opponent’s average of .149 in 12 starts.

After making three more starts in the DSL in 2017, Deivi made his professional debut in the United States. He finished the 2017 season in Pulaski, then the Yankees rookie league affiliate. In just two seasons, Garcia had reached Triple A Scranton, making 11 starts at the end of the 2019 season. This quick rise in the system shot García up ranking boards all over the sport, as he was now the Yankee’s #3 overall prospect entering the 2020 season. Baseball Prospectus slotted him at #24, Baseball America had him at #65, and MLB.com at #92 in  their respective rankings.

2020 Season

Coming into the 2020 season, there was hope that García could use a good Spring Training performance to launch himself into the Yankees rotation. While a long shot, there was a lot of buzz surrounding Deivi in his first major league spring. Many in the organization had raved about his “make-up” and intangibles, what many people do not see on the field. While a good make-up is important, Garcia had shown that his skill on the mound was impressive as well. With a great breaking-ball, he was able to disrupt timing for batters in the box, then surprise them with his occasional fastball usage.

Though García impressed early in Spring Training, the COVID-19 pandemic caused some wrinkles in everyone’s plans. When the Major League season started back up, the Yankees made sure to use Garcia where they could. He made his Major League debut against the Mets on August 30th, going 6 IP with 4 H and 6 K. Unfortunately, that would wind up being Garcia’s best start in the big leagues so far. Since then, he has failed to carve out a steady role with the Yankees.

2021 and 2022 Seasons

Many in the sport still rode high on García’s potential coming into the 2021 season. In a pandemic shortened season, some believed that there were external factors that held García back from showing his true abilities. The Yankees broke an abbreviated Spring Training in 2021 with Garcia at the Alternate Training Site. He would be called up for only two starts in the MLB in 2021. He was credited with the loss in both decisions, giving up 2 ER and 4 ER, respectively.

In Triple A, he struggled mightily as well. With 90.2 IP, Garcia posted a 1.875 WHIP with a 6.85 ERA.

Coming back in 2022, the Yankees started experimenting him in a bullpen role occasionally. Still, his numbers were brutal. With Double-A Somerset, he posted a 5.40 ERA in 26.2 IP. His stats in Scranton were much worse, with a 7.96 ERA in 37.1 IP. Clearly, something was not working with García and the Yankees as an organization were losing faith in him.

2023 Season

Yankees pitching prospect Deivi Garcia throws a pitch in a Spring Training game (John Brophy/Pinstriped Prospects)

2023 Spring Training saw García working mostly as a reliever. After being assigned to Scranton, Garcia assumed an almost exclusive bullpen role. As of this writing, García has 5.67 ERA in 46 IP. While he has made two appearances with the Yankees, he has only pitched 5.2 IP and has not been relied on for any type of leverage appearance. Both of his showings with the Yankees this season have been when the leading team is up by more than four runs.

It was announced on August 7th that Deivi García would be designated for assignment. García’s potential unceremonious end of his Yankee tenure has shed light on yet another “failed” top-prospect. Many link him to the likes of Clint Frazier, Miguel Andujar, Estevan Florial, and Jesus Montero among others. For a former top 3 prospect in the system, it surely is a disappointing trajectory that he has experienced. The good news for García is that he is still only 24 years old and there is a chance that he can revitalize his career elsewhere.

If he is able to find the control that he enjoyed as a teenager, there could be a spot for him in a major league bullpen. For now, García will be placed on waivers and offered to every other team in the league as his future fate remains to be seen.

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