Jarlin Garcia was not in the pitching rotation of the Miami Marlins coming into 2018.
Garcia actually started the year in the bullpen. After some poor starts and assorted injuries, Garcia was added to the rotation. Through two fantastic starts, it appears that Garcia should have been in the rotation all along. In fact, Garcia is the Marlins best pitcher.
Through his first two starts Garcia has only allowed one hit in 11 innings. In his very first start, Garcia pitched six innings of no-hit baseball before being lifted due to his pitch count. Marlins manager Don Mattingly put the game in the hands of his bullpen. The miscalculation proved costly, ultimately costing Garcia a well-deserved victory. It is an absolute shame to see a pitcher in his first start pitch so well only to come away with a no-decision. Garcia pitched extremely well against a New York Mets team which can score runs in bunches from time to time. Garcia struck out three and walked two in his MLB debut.
For Garcia’s second start he took on the vaunted New York Yankees in The Bronx. Garcia rose to the occasion, shutting down the current seventh-highest scoring team in baseball. He allowed one hit over five innings and earned the win in his second career start. Before this performance it was possible that Garcia’s first start was a fluke. After back-to-back shut down performances, it has become obvious that Garcia is here to stay.
An early issue with Garcia is walks. Through his first two starts he has given seven batters a free pass. Five of these came against the Yankees. Often times, young pitchers struggle with walking batters, and after two starts it seems to apply to Garcia. In time, Garcia’s walk numbers may come down. The recently returned J.T. Realmuto should help calm Garcia own. More time with the experienced backstop should allow Garcia to tighten up his command and experience a decrease in his walk numbers.
What has changed from 2017 to 2018?
In 2017 Garcia was a run of the mill reliever. A 4.73 ERA and 1.200 WHIP over 68 games was not all that impressive. However there is a difference in Garcia’s pitch selection this season. Just under 50 percent of Garcia’s pitches last season were fastballs. That number has since increased to 58.9 this season. Garcia’s slider usage in 2017 was also rather high, 31.6 percent. In 2018 that number has dropped down to 18.4. An increase of changeups thrown by Garcia is also helping his cause. This number has increased to 22.7 percent from 18.6 percent. While not a large shift, it works well with his increase in fastball usage while decreasing his use of the slider.
Will Jarlin Garcia continue to pitch well for the Marlins?
Through two starts the only issue has been walks. Strikeouts will not come in high volume often since that is not the type of pitcher he is. There should be a correction of sorts since he is a ground ball pitcher. However as long as he does not leave too many pitches over the heart of the plate any correction should not be all that drastic. At this point in time Garcia is the Marlins best pitcher by far and any sort of dip in performance should not change that fact.
Garcia’s next start is scheduled for Monday, April 23rd against the Dodgers in Los Angeles. This could prove to be a tough start for Garcia. The Dodgers have a lot of talent offensively, but they have struggled to open the season. It is entirely possible that Garcia pitches well in Los Angeles and continues his hot start to 2018. Garcia has grown as a pitcher and shown he can shut down explosive offenses. The Dodgers may just be the next team that is shut down by Garcia.