Yimi Garcia has had a rapid rise through the Dodgers farm system since he was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 2009. Even though a setback has derailed his spring training, he figures to make an impact on the Dodgers bullpen as early as 2014.
Garcia, 23, had his finest season yet last year in Double-A Chattanooga, against his toughest competition to date.
In 49 games with the Lookouts he struck out 85 against just 14 walks in 60⅓ innings and put up a 2.54 ERA to go along with 19 saves. Garcia set career bests in both strikeout rate and walk rate, with a strikeout-to-walk rate of 6.07. In the final two months of the season Garcia allowed just four runs in 23 innings (a 1.57 ERA) and struck out 37 of 80 batters (46.3%).
Chris O'Brien, who caught Garcia in 2012 at Class-A Rancho Cucamonga, was not surprised at his success.
"He's competitive. He knows what he wants to do. When a pitcher knows what they want to do, they're very successful," O'Brien said. "He knows how to get people out. He stays with his strengths no matter what. He throws a lot of strikes, and throws all his pitches for strikes, so he keeps hitters off balance."
That success earned Garcia a promotion to the 40-man roster in November, one step closer to the majors.
He suffered a bruised kneecap in camp and is sidelined by a week or two, but there is still time for Garcia to make an impact during spring training.
The Dodgers do have 12 pitchers already under guaranteed major league contract, and Garcia is behind Chris Withrow and Jose Dominguez, and maybe others, in the pecking order among right-handed relievers. But Garcia could still see time in the majors this season.
In the last two seasons combined, right-handed batters have hit just .166/.224/.263 against Garcia.
Garcia was just added to the 40-man roster so he has no major league service time and three option years remaining.
|2012 (Both A levels)
|2014 projections - Age 23 season|
At the very least I think Garcia could see time in September, and I'll guess he puts up a 4.09 ERA in 11 innings, with 10 strikeouts. What's your guess?