Eight days after announcing the acquisition of reliever Yimi Garcia, the Marlins finally made it official.
Yimi Garcia, who is a six-foot right-handed 29-year-old relief pitcher from Moca, DR, was signed by the Marlins through free agency. Garcia’s last time out was with the Los Angeles Dodgers system, an organization that he had been a part of since 2009. In parts of five seasons at the major league level, Garcia has accrued a 5-11 record and a 3.66 ERA, along with an elite-level 0.990 career WHIP.
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This past season was even better than the career-norm for Garcia. In a career-high 64 contests, he struck out 66 in 62 1/3 innings, issuing only 14 walks, posting a 0.866 WHIP, and finishing with a 115 ERA+. The only Achilles heel to Garcia’s game is his propensity to surrender the long-ball. He’s allowed 1.8 HR/9 through his career, “topping” that in 2019 with a 2.2 mark in the metric. Despite that, opponents managed just a .178 average versus Garcia last season.
To make room for Garcia, Miami designated six-foot-four right-handed reliever Kyle Keller, 26, for assignment. Chosen in the 18th round back in 2015, Keller has worked his way up through the Marlins system before making his major league debut with the parent club last season. In 10 appearances, he struck out 11 and worked out a 1.219 WHIP over 10 2/3 frames, along with a 3.38 ERA.
A strikeout specialist, Keller has mowed down the competition with over a whiff-per-inning at every level he’s appeared at. In 2018, between the New Orleans Baby Cakes, the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp, and the Jupiter Hammerheads, he collected 13.3 K/9.
Garcia is certainly capable of matching Keller’s strikeout rate, and offers a higher ceiling than the Metairie, LA native. Boasting a four-pitch mix, Garcia throws heat just under half the time, 4 percent according to the Baseball Savant. He also uses a curveball and a slider liberally, mixing in an occasional changeup. Garcia’s fastball, a four-seamer, averages 94.2 MPH.