There are a lot of well-known pitching prospects in the Pittsburgh Pirates’ minor league system. You’ve got some of the best prospects in baseball with Tyler Glasnow and Jameson Taillon. Then there are guys who could make the rotation in the majors in the next few years, like Adrian Sampson and Nick Kingham. Or there are the starters in Altoona, who are good enough to make the majors, even if their skill level doesn’t guarantee them a rotation spot in the future. One name who is way under the radar is Yeudy Garcia. He might not be under the radar much longer, especially after a strong month of May that made him the Pirates Prospects Pitcher of the Month.
Garcia was fantastic last month, putting up a 1.01 ERA in 26.2 innings, with a 25:9 K/BB ratio. He started off in a piggyback role, pitching long relief, but slowly getting his innings increased. I saw his outing on May 8th, when he threw four innings, with no earned runs, two walks, and four strikeouts. After that relief appearance, he moved to the rotation, and he hasn’t slowed down since, posting a 1.37 ERA in 19.2 innings, with a 17:7 K/BB ratio.
What makes Garcia such an interesting guy to watch is his fastball. He hits 95 MPH routinely with no effort in his delivery, and has gotten up to 97 this year. He has held that velocity throughout longer appearances, while showing some promise with his off-speed stuff. The back story is also interesting. Garcia is 22 years old, which is a bit on the old side for Low-A. However, he was signed late out of the international market, and was given a very aggressive promotion this year, going to West Virginia straight from the DSL after just one season in the foreign rookie league. The fact that he’s dominating the Low-A level after such a move is impressive. I wrote about Garcia a few weeks ago, noting that he’s one of the best pitching prospects in West Virginia.
Garcia has one of the best arms in the system, and looks to be handling the jump to the U.S. with ease. I wouldn’t be surprised if he stays in West Virginia all year, just to give him a chance to adjust to America with the same team all year. He knows very little English, but is aggressive in his attempts to learn the language, and has some good relationships on the West Virginia team. While the stats might suggest he could move up with this continued performance, it might be better for him to stay at a level he’s familiar with for social reasons. This would make it easier for the Pirates to aggressively promote him in future years. First he’s going to need to continue what he did in May, although with his stuff, I don’t think that task is going to be difficult.
Pitchers of the Month by Level
Indianapolis – Adrian Sampson, RHP (3.11 ERA, 29:8 K/BB, 37.2 IP)
Altoona – Jason Creasy, RHP (3.00 ERA, 18:14 K/BB, 36 IP)
Bradenton – Clario Perez, RHP (0.73 ERA, 16:5 K/BB, 24.2 IP)
West Virginia – Yeudy Garcia, RHP (1.01 ERA, 25:9 K/BB, 26.2 IP)