39 IP, 5.77 ERA (6.57 FIP), 26.2 K%, 15.1 BB%, 2.54 HR/9, -0.6 fWAR
While those numbers don’t exactly show it, there were a few things that Garcia did well this year.
Let’s start with that slider. If you dig deep enough, you can see it was actually a positive pitch for him. Among rookie relievers that threw 30+ innings this year, his slider was actually ranked in the top half in terms of pitch value (I told you you had to dig deep). It did, from time to time, get some swings and misses.
When the pitch is on, it’s a weapon. Hitters only hit .231 against his slider all year and swung and missed over 42% of the time. It’s often said that be a reliever, a pitcher must have an out pitch. To be any kind of pitcher, you must have an out pitch. Garcia has the beginnings of that, but the control still needs work.
Oh, Edgar. Buddy, throw some strikes.
As you look at that walk percentage at the top, that’s the main story of Garcia’s season - he just couldn’t, or wouldn’t, throw strikes. Among 249 relievers that threw at least 30 innings this year, Garcia’s walk percentage was the 11th worst. That’s bad and will not allow him to stick in a major league bullpen for very long. It led to perhaps his biggest issue, which was that he could not get ahead of hitters.
According to Inside Edge, Garcia was well below league average when it came to getting ahead of hitters.
- 1 out of his first 2 pitches went for a strike 74% of the time (84% MLB avg.)
- 2 out of his first 3 pitches went for a strike 47% of the time (62% MLB avg.)
Constantly being behind in the count allows major league hitters to have a pretty fair assumption what comes next. There aren’t many pitchers that when they are behind will come with something that has some break to it. Garcia was a victim of this. He would throw that fastball behind in the count more than 50% of the time. Since he had developed a pattern and batters knew this, they could tee off on Garcia’s fastball, which they did to the tune of a .327 batting average and a .653 slugging. Batters only swung and missed at the pitch 15% of the time, a number that portends doom more often than not. It’s just not that good of a fastball.
Being on the 40-man roster is a pretty sweet gig, isn’t it? Thanks to having that lively arm, Garcia will still factor in the team’s bullpen discussion come the spring time. It is imperative, though, if he wants to have a future in this bullpen that he either figure out a way to get some movement on his fastball (adding a cutter perhaps?) and throw it for strikes or that he be able to have the confidence enough to throw his slider in any count, not just to put a hitter away. He’ll be given a fairly long leash since he still has options left and it wouldn’t surprise me if he began 2020 as a permanent member of the bullpen. If he wants stick there for longer than a month, he needs to do some work this offseason.