Morning Report: The Improbable Season From Yeudy Garcia

I was thinking last night abut how improbable it is that Yeudy Garcia, a pitcher that was in the DSL last year, is now leading the South Atlantic League in ERA, and he’s second in WHIP for good measure. We knew he had a great fastball last year, you can read plenty of tidbits on him from last year, either in the game-by-game recaps, or here as a featured player in an article, or here in our DSL season recap, or here in our top ten prospects list. He wasn’t an unknown coming into the year, but there usually is a certain procedure players follow.

When DSL players get invited to the Fall Instructional League, they almost always show up back in Bradenton in March when the minor league players show up. They then almost always go to a short season team in June. Early in Spring Training, Garcia wasn’t on the two short-season rosters(they’re called Black & Gold), he was with West Virginia. The initial thought was, when pitchers start getting sent down from Major League camp, it will trickle down to him getting pushed back to the short-season rosters. That obviously didn’t happen.

When West Virginia opened the season with Garcia in the bullpen, even though he looked impressive in Spring Training, it pointed to him being a roster filler. The reason was, relievers that get pushed ahead, usually don’t amount to much, which holds true for most Low-A relievers. If you’re a prospect, they want you getting innings, it’s as simple as that.

Garcia went two innings his first time out, which again, usually isn’t a good sign. Basically, from years of following players through the minors, all the signs, including him starting his career at age 21, pointed to him being a filler still, even though he just threw two shutout innings in his debut and even though we had plenty of scouting reports on him from people who saw him pitch.

It’s funny how that thinking goes. Here is a player making a jump over three levels in his second year as a pro, but past experiences immediately made it feel like a bad thing. I talked to Garcia last year, I talked to him this year, here he is getting a promotion you almost never see and I felt bad for him.

Cut to now and he is leading the South Atlantic League in ERA, less than a year after he last pitched in the DSL. He had the 36th best ERA in that league last year. Initially, I was going to see how all the players ahead of him for the ERA title last year, are doing this year, but I didn’t realize that his 2.41 ERA ranked him that far back. So here are the current results from the top ten ERA leaders from the DSL last year. Even as I type this, I have no idea of the results, but they should be interesting.

1. Gerson Bautista, 1.03 ERA last year, 3.76 in the GCL this year

2. Jose Taveras, 1.05 last year, 2.62 in NYPL this year. I’ll point out that he is with the Phillies and they promote aggressive.

3. Juan Pena, 1.16 last year, 10.55 in Pioneer League(Bristol equivalent)

4. Deiyerbert Bolivar, 1.27 last year, 2.25 in AZL(GCL level for those out west)

5. Marcos Diplan, 1.54 last year, 3.56 in Pioneer League this year.

6. Miguel Urena, 1.60 last year,  2.38 in AZL last year.

7. Miguel Bautista, 1.61 last year as a fourth year player, 6.28 in GCL this year.

8. Jhonathan Diaz, 1.63 last year, assigned to GCL this year, but on DL

9. Samuel Zazueta, 1.63 last year, still in the DSL.

10. Merkis Montero, 1.66 last year, 3.86 in AZL this year.

Those are the top ten players and one made the jump over two levels. As mentioned, the Phillies make aggressive promotions and he is 21 years old, so it makes sense that they have him there. It shows you how unlikely Garcia’s season has been so far, and why he has jumped from a possible sleeper prospect, to the #19 prospect in the system, moving up from #20 after JaCoby Jones’ departure. I had him pegged for Bristol this year, and figured he would dominate that level, but he’s two levels higher and right now, he’s the best pitcher in the league.

Pirates Game Graph


Source: FanGraphs

Playoff Push

The Pirates trail by 5.5 games in the division to the Cardinals. They have a three game lead for the top wild card spot.

Indianapolis is 4-6 in their last ten games. They have a one game lead in the division.

Altoona is 6-4 in their last ten games and they are in second place, three games back of Bowie.

Bradenton is 6-4 in their last ten games. They trail Palm Beach by three games in the standings.

West Virginia is 7-3 in their last ten games and they have a four game lead in the division.

Morgantown is 7-3 in their last ten games. They trail by five games in the division.

GCL Pirates are 5-5 in their last ten games. They trail two teams by a 1/2 game in the division.

Today’s Schedule

Today’s Starter and Notes: The Pirates lost 15-5 to the Reds on Thursday night, dropping them to 2-8 this season against Cincinnati. In game two of the series, the Pirates will send Jeff Locke to the mound. He has faced the Reds twice this season and given up eight runs over 11 innings. His opponent on the mound will be Michael Lorenzen, who has a 4.58 ERA in 78.2 innings. He gave up one run over six innings to the Pirates last time they met.

In the minors, there are currently a lot of TBD’s pitching, so check back later for updates(Matt Benedict has been added for Altoona already). As for the ones we know that are going today, the aforementioned Yeudy Garcia stands out because he leads the South Atlantic League with a 2.12 ERA. His 1.12 WHIP is second in the league and he is tied for 12th in the league in strikeouts, though he’s only 14 behind the leader. The start by Billy Roth in Bristol will be covered live by Tim Williams. Bradenton and the GCL Pirates both have doubleheaders today. You can view last night’s prospect watch here.

MLB: Pittsburgh (59-42) @ Reds (46-54) 7:10 PM
Probable starter: Jeff Locke (4.15 ERA, 41:83 BB/SO, 108.1 IP)

AAA: Indianapolis (60-46) vs Charlotte (59-48) 7:15 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Chris Volstad (3.28 ERA, 33:64 BB/SO, 104.1 IP)

AA: Altoona (57-49) vs Akron (54-52) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Matt Benedict (4.88 ERA, 12:24 BB/SO, 62.2 IP)

High-A: Bradenton (52-49, 20-11 second half) @ Tampa (50-53) 5:00 PM DH (season preview)
Probable starter:  TBD

Low-A: West Virginia (60-42, 23-10 second half) vs Lakewood (52-49) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable starter: Yeudy Garcia (2.12 ERA, 26:76 BB/SO, 85.0 IP)

Short-Season A: Morgantown (20-19) @ Connecticut (18-19) 7:05 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: TBD

Rookie: Bristol (15-19) vs Danville (17-18) 7:00 PM (season preview)
Probable Starter: Billy Roth (5.84 ERA, 12:21 BB/SO, 24.2 IP)

GCL: Pirates (17-11) vs Yankees2 (12-18) 10:00 AM DH (season preview)

DSL: Pirates (20-32) vs Marlins (18-34) 10:30 AM (season preview)

Highlights

Here is an RBI single from Keon Broxton, who has been on fire recently. He has a 23-game on base streak and three hits in each of his last two games.

Recent Transactions

7/30: Pirates trade JaCoby Jones to Detroit Tigers for Joakim Soria

7/30: Vance Worley designated for assignment.

7/30: Justin Seller traded to Chicago White Sox for a player to be named later, or cash.

7/30: Pirates sent Gorkys Hernandez outright to Indianapolis

7/30: Logan Ratledge promoted to Morgantown.

7/30: Pirates acquire Joe Blanton for cash considerations.

7/29: Pirates trade Jayson Aquino to Indians for cash considerations.

7/28: Gift Ngoepe placed on disabled list.

7/28: Pirates release Ulises Montilla.

7/28: Brent Morel refuses outright assignment to Indianapolis.

7/28: Miguel Ferreras retires. Mervin Del Rosario promoted to Bristol.

7/27: JaCoby Jones promoted to Altoona. Josh Smith placed on disabled list.

7/27: Steve Lombardozzi sent outright to Indianapolis. Andy Vasquez placed on disabled list.

7/27: Jordan Steranka activated from Bradenton disabled list. Isaac Sanchez placed on disabled list.

7/27: Junior Sosa added to Bradenton roster.

7/27: John Holdzkom activated from Indianapolis disabled list.

7/26: Jonathan Schwind assigned to Bristol on rehab.

7/25: Pirates designate Brent Morel for assignment.

7/25: Justin Sellers sent outright to Indianapolis

7/25: Adam Miller assigned to GCL on rehab

7/24: Robert Stock activated from disabled list.

7/23: Pirates traded Yhonathan Barrios to Milwaukee Brewers for Aramis Ramirez and cash.

7/23: Steve Lombardozzi designated for assignment.

7/23: John Holdzkom assigned to Morgantown on rehab.

7/23: Hunter Morris activated from Indianapolis disabled list.

7/23: Wes Freeman released. Andy Otamendi assigned to Bradenton.

7/23: Mervin Del Rosario assigned to GCL Pirates.

7/22: Pirates purchase contract of Pedro Florimon. Wilfredo Boscan optioned to Indianapolis. Jayson Aquino designated for assignment.

7/22: Barrett Barnes promoted to Altoona. Andy Vasquez promoted to Indianapolis.

7/22:  Gorkys Hernandez assigned to Indianapolis on rehab.

7/21: Jonathan Schwind and Andrew Lambo assigned to GCL Pirates on rehab.

7/21: Harold Ramirez activated from temporary inactive list. Robert Stock placed on disabled list.

7/20: Jordy Mercer placed on disabled list. Pirates recall Brent Morel. Corey Hart transferred to 60-day DL.

7/20: Tito Polo activated from temporary inactive list. Jeff Roy promoted to Bradenton.

7/20: Kelson Brown activated from Indianapolis disabled list.

7/19: Junior Lopez assigned to Bradenton. Oderman Rocha assigned to GCL Pirates.

7/19: Pirates place Gorkys Hernandez on DL. Wilfredo Boscan recalled.

7/19: Jose Tabata activated from temporary inactive list.

7/17: Pirates sign Jake Thompson. Assigned to Indianapolis.

7/17: Pirates recall Jaff Decker.

7/17: Oderman Rocha assigned to Bradenton. Junior Lopez assigned to GCL Pirates.

This Date in Pirates History

Seven former Pittsburgh Pirates players born on this date, plus 17 trades of note between 1987 and 2011. Also an impressive debut during a season the Pirates won the NL East. Because there are so many trades of note and they have all been covered before, I encourage you to check this link for the full rundown. I was going to copy and paste it, but it’s a long list. First the game, and Tim Wakefield made his Major League debut on this date in 1992 and defeated the Cardinals by a 3-2 score. He pitched a complete game, striking out ten batters. Wakefield threw 146 pitches, both runs were unearned and Barry Bonds hit a two-run homer. More on this game inside the link above, along with a boxscore.

The seven players born on this date include:

JJ Furmaniak, infielder for the 2005 club

Mike Bielecki, starting pitcher for the 1984-87 Pirates and the team’s first round pick in 1979.

Frank Brosseau, pitcher for the team in 1969 and 1971. Made one appearance during that World Series winning season.

Vic Davalillo, 1B/OF for the 1971-73 Pirates. Hit .285 in 99 games during the 1971 season.

Elmer Riddle, pitcher from 1948 until 1949. Won 12 games in 1948 and threw 191 innings, but a leg injury ruined his 1949 season

Erv Kantlehner, pitcher from 1914 until 1916. Threw a four-hit shutout in his pro debut, yet issued seven walks.

Joe Sugden, catcher from 1894 until 1897.  Went nine seasons in a row without hitting a homer. Played in famous 1912 Tigers game, in which the team protested Ty Cobb’s suspension, so they filled out the lineup with amateurs and coaches. That game happened seven years after his Major League career ended. Tigers lost 24-2.

  • The Blue Jays and Astros are gutting their farm systems this week. Good grief.

    • For the most part it seems the AL is raiding the NL. This is a good thing I think.

      • Cubs just got Dan Haren. Giants got Mike Leake. The Bucs need get a starting pitcher or a power bat (or both) if they want to catch the Cards and hold off those 2 teams. AJ is starting to make me real nervous.

  • Here’s hoping that come this evening Jay Bruce and Marlon Byrd are out of that lineup. The Bucs need a few easy ones against the Reds. They’ve owned us this year. It’s like a few years ago with the Brewers, it seemed like they’d destroy us every game.

  • Yeah he’s now our #19 ranked prospect but that still isn’t, really, that high for how well hes done this year. Is his upside limited? Do we not believe in the results?

    • It shows how deep the system is, but he is 22 in Low-A(23 in October), so that is old for the level. Usually you wait for players that are old for a level to prove it at higher levels

  • The flat line in the leverage index after the 5th speaks volumes. For anyone who doesn’t understand the chart, they probably do now.

  • At 22 he needed to step up and prove himself quickly, and he has. Doing so in his first season in the US, and leading the Sally League in pitching is good for his future projection.

    Based on his current numbers where would you project him in the Top 50? Why was he not signed before age 20? What is the proper pronunciation of his first name?

    • I think John said it is Yay Ooody.

      I always thought it was Yoody.

    • He is #19 now, he went to college and signed August 2013, just no games to play those first nine months except DSL Instructional League, yay-oody

    • Let’s just go with cherry garcia and hope he does not have a rocky road. : )

      • John Dreker
        July 31, 2015 1:05 pm

        That was the first negative I gave out for a comment, but that pun was bad. Half Baked is my flavor anyway

        • C’mon john it was not that bad and it all fits nicely together. Everything a pun needs to grow up nice and strong. I guess this is the thanks I get for trying to get you an all expenses paid trip to the carribean awhile back. Sheesh, : )

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