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Yesterday, the Pittsburgh Pirates chose not to protect their # 19 prospect, P Yeudy Garcia, from the rule 5 draft despite having ample room to do so.
Though there were a few other surprises among the club’s choices, Garcia’s absence was eye-opening in some prospect circles.
Garcia made the jump up to Double-A Altoona in 2017 but did not fare well. In 29 games with 11 starts, Garcia struggled in posting a 5.25 ERA, a 1.69 WHIP and an inflated 5.75 BB/9. Though he showed some strikeout ability at 8.38 K/9, it was clear that the promotion might have been a tad premature.
And that right there is a problem, as Garcia is ancient in prospect years at 25. Though converted to a pitcher early in his development, Garcia still signed when he was 20 years old, and the learning curve has been steep. In hindsight, the Pittsburgh Pirates might have been better served by starting Garcia in Bradenton, where he spent all of 2016 and posted good numbers. Many have long thought that Garcia’s ultimate future would be as a reliever, and now there is some credence to that theory.
In 18 games a reliever with the Altoona Curve, Garcia fared better, albeit with a still-bloated 1.38 WHIP. He was 5-for-7 in save opportunities as well.
All of that is well and good for a pitcher working his way through a team’s minor league system. However, many felt that on talent alone Garcia should have been added to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft.
Even though they have space for him, the Pittsburgh Pirates clearly feel that Garcia is not quite close to major league ready, even in a depth role. And that alone is reason enough to save that space for another player who might be closer.
Baseball talk on the web
- Jon Morosi dips a toe into the evolving reliever market in his latest column.
- Evan Grant does the same, but looks at the lower-end of the starting pitcher market for the Texas Rangers to consider.
- David Laurila of Fangraphs talks to Washington Nationals GM Mike Rizzo about the team’s push into analytics.
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