It may have only been the middle of June, but 20-year-old Yankees pitching prospect Deivi Garcia showed Tuesday night that he knows how to win big games in style.
Garcia struck out 15 batters over six one-hit innings for the Double-A Trenton Thunder -- clinching a playoff spot with the win. The Thunder are the first-half division champions in the Eastern League, which automatically guarantees them a playoff spot at season's end.
Of the 18 batters Garcia got out Tuesday night, he struck out 15 of them -- a ridiculous 83.3 percent.
His K/9 this year is an incredible 15.1, and has never dipped below 11.4 over his four minor league seasons. Garcia is listed as the team's fourth-best prospect on MLB Pipeline, but that is likely to change after the midseason rankings come out.
Here's what scouts and coaches are saying about Garcia, who is rapidly rising through the Yankees' system...
MLB Pipeline: "Garcia's best pitch is a high-spin curveball with so much depth that he'll have to prove he can land it for strikes when more advanced hitters don't chase it out of the zone as often. He also gets good spin on his fastball, which plays better than its 91-96 MPH velocity with deceptive riding life. He made strides with his fading changeup in 2018, creating optimism that it can become at least a solid third offering."
Paul Martin, Prospects1500: "Overall the delivery is consistent and low energy, yet nearly reaching max efficiency. If he improves the internal rotation of his shoulder to ultimately achieve more power in the release, I believe he can get to a point where 95 MPH becomes the norm on an already dynamite, high-spin fastball. These improvements will be simpler to make due to his advanced lower half."
Keith Law, ESPN: "What comes out of his arm is pretty special, and the Yankees are a very sort of trackman-focused team when it comes to all players. But they love their high-spin guys throughout their system. He's a guy who has that and has command and has control. Which says to me, at least, they're not going to hesitate to trust him with some kind of major league job by the end of the year."
Danny Borrell, Yankees minor league pitching co-coordinator: "No, it would not surprise me whatsoever [if he made it to the MLB this year]. He's actually like [Jonathan] Loaisiga. This kid can pitch, he's got three quality pitches, and I wouldn't put it past him to just push it. He may make that decision for us, if he just pitches well, he could be a valuable asset to us. He moved four levels last year and there's only two left."
Pat Osborn, Trenton Thunder manager: "His size, the way the balls come out, the only name that comes to mind is Pedro Martinez."