Wherever Deivi Garcia has been on the mound this season, he's proven to be dominant with a penchant for strikeouts. He checked off the boxes again last week.
The fourth-ranked Yankees prospect was named Eastern League Pitcher of the Week after tying the Minor League season high with 15 strikeouts in while allowing just a hit and a walk over six scoreless frames for Double-A Trenton in his lone start for the week of June 17-23. It's the second time he's taken home such an honor in his career -- he also won a Florida State League weekly award last August.
• View the Offensive Players of the Week winners »
Starting the season with Class A Advanced Tampa again, the right-hander excelled on the circuit with a 3.06 ERA and 1.25 WHIP with 33 strikeouts in 17 2/3 innings. At the end of April, he was elevated to the Eastern League and has only gotten better with stronger competition.
Across 42 innings since the promotion, Garcia holds a 3.00 ERA, .188 average against with 67 strikeouts, which still ranks 16th on the circuit despite not starting the season with Trenton. In three starts in June, the Dominican Republic native has been at his best with a 2.25 ERA and 1.19 WHIP.
"Of course, it is his stuff, but it's also his attitude out there," Trenton pitching coach Tim Norton told MiLB.com last week. "He feels like he is better than everyone else and that goes a long way, especially when you have elite stuff. ... I see the mound presence he has and he's not scared one bit."
In his last outing on Tuesday against Richmond, though, Garcia put it all together for one special night. The 5-foot-9, 163-pound hurler already had seven career double-digit strikeout performances in his career, but he topped them all when he set a new personal best with 15. He pounded the zone from the outset, firing 63 of his 98 total pitches for strikes.
Video: Thunder's Garcia strikes out 15th batter of game
He whiffed the first eight batters he faced on the night, eventually striking out at least two hitters in each of the six innings he took the hill in Trenton. In the fourth and fifth innings he faced a runner in scoring position, but Garcia worked out of both jams unscathed.
Back out for the sixth inning, he fanned the first two of the frame before getting a groundout to close out his night. The 15 strikeouts tied him for the most in Thunder history with Adam Warren, who accomplished the feat in 2010. Garcia now shares the Minor League high this year with Lake Elsinore's Elliot Ashbeck. Not only did the start give him a third scoreless outing on the year, but it also helped the Thunder clinch the Eastern Division first-half title.
"What he did in such a big game for this team -- you win, you make the playoffs; you lose you don't," Norton said. "For a 20-year-old kid to do that is pretty impressive."
In 74 innings last year, Garcia recorded 105 total strikeouts. But this season, in just 59 2/3 frames, Garcia has totaled 100 punchouts, which is tied for fifth in the Minors. Despite his small stature, Garcia's 60-grade fastball and curveball have been a potent combo. Overall this year, Garcia has fanned 40.3 percent of the hitters he's faced, ranking fourth in the Minors among pitchers who have faced at least 150 hitters.
"This kid could be a monster," Norton said. "The sky's the limit. He's really turned it on. This is not an easy level for a 20-year-old kid and he's more than holding his own, striking out a lot of people and doing a great job."
Below is the complete list of Minor League Pitchers of the Week for June 17-23. (The Southern League did not name Players of the Week on the account of its short week.)
||1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 HBP, 2 BB, 12 K
||1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 7 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB, 4 K
||1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 15 K
||0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 14 IP, 9 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 19 K
||1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 6 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K
||1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 1 SHO, 9 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 11 K
||1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 9 K
||0-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 6 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 10 K
||1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K
||0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 8 2/3 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 HBP, 2 BB, 12 K
||1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 5 IP, 1 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 0 BB, 6 K
||1-0, 0.00 ERA, 1 G, 1 GS, 5 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 5 K
||0-0, 0.00 ERA, 2 G, 2 GS, 9 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 HBP, 6 BB, 10 K