RiverDogs' Garcia ties pro best with 10 K's

Yankees No. 14 prospect allows two runs, four hits in five frames

Deivi Garcia went 6-2 with a 3.30 ERA across three leagues at the Rookie level last season. (Pulaski Yankees)

By Chris Bumbaca / MiLB.com | June 12, 2018 12:43 AM

Deivi Garcia has made only two starts in 2018, but he's still got the ability to pile up some punchouts.

The Yankees No. 14 prospect matched his career high by striking out 10 over five innings Monday while allowing two runs on four hits over five innings in Class A Charleston's 6-3 win over Asheville at Joseph P. Riley, Jr. Park.

"He had a bunch of swing-and-misses on his fastball. Same thing with his curveball," RiverDogs pitching coach Justin Pope said. "He was able to throw his changeup for strikes. He had three good pitches going, was aggressive, threw his pitches in the zone, threw them for strikes, had good tempo."

Gameday box score

Garcia allowed a leadoff single to Tourists third baseman Bret Boswell in the first inning, but the 19-year-old right-hander retired the next nine hitters he faced, racking up six strikeouts in that span. In the third, Garcia struck out the side.

"That's when you kind of saw him get into a rhythm and get going," Pope said. 

Ryan Vilade put Asheville on the board by starting the fourth with a solo homer to left-center field when Garcia hung a 1-0 curveball over the plate.

"You got to tip your hat to the hitter because in Charleston, it's not easy to get the ball out," the pitching coach said. "He just made one bad pitch tonight. Everything else, he did what he wanted to with all his pitches." 

Garcia settled in once again and sat down the following six hitters, with four whiffs along the way.

Already sitting on 10 strikeouts and with his maximum pitch count set at 85, the native of the Dominican Republic took the mound for the sixth and gave up a bunt single to Tyler Bugner and a ground ball that found a hole to Boswell to start the inning.

"He was cruising up to that point," Pope said. "He looked strong. He was getting better as the game went on." 

Righty Greg Weissert replaced Garcia and Sean Bouchard's double to left with one out left Garcia on the hook for another run.

The 5-foot-10, 163-pound right-hander threw 60 of his 79 pitches for strikes. He did not issue any walks after giving up three in his first start of the year with Class A Advanced Tampa on June 5. Garcia allowed two runs -- one earned -- on two hits while striking out seven over 4 2/3 innings.

Garcia previously reached the double-digit strikeout plateau nearly two years ago in the Rookie-level Dominican Summer League when he was 17. Pope envisions the strikeout being a big part of his game in the future. 

"No question," the pitching coach said. "Look what he did tonight against a team that is second in the league in hitting. They got some good guys on their team that could swing the bat." 

The righty possesses late life on his fastball and a sharp curveball at a young age, according to Pope. Being able to mix in the changeup consistently makes him even an even more dangerous pitcher.

"Anytime you got three pitches going, it's tough to hit," the coach said.  

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And despite his smaller stature, the ball pops from Garcia's arm. 

"He's just got something special that comes out of his arm," Pope said. "He repeats his delivery really well. Every pitch -- fastball, curveball, changeup -- you can't tell what he's throwing. Everything comes out of the same slot, looks the same when it comes out of his hand. [He] keeps the same demeanor on the mound. ... No matter what his size is, he's a bulldog out there. He competes. With that being said, he's got good stuff. He knows how to pitch." 

The plan, Pope said, is to keep Garcia with Charleston for the time being. The coach is looking forward to building a relationship with his new student and creating unique pitch packages to play into his strengths. Garcia spent the first two months of the season at extended spring training before participating in games. 

Anderson Severino (2-1) allowed a run on a hit and struck out one over an inning of relief for the win and Kyle Zurak tossed a perfect ninth, striking out one, to earn his sixth save for the RiverDogs.

Carlos Vidal slapped a pair of triples and drove in four runs for Charleston while Leonardo Molina finished 3-for-4 with two runs scored. 

Chris Bumbaca is a contributor for MiLB.com based in New York. Follow him on Twitter @BOOMbaca. This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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