Could RHP Yimi García be the Miami Marlins Closer?

WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 25: Yimi Garcia #93 of the Miami Marlins delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros in the third inning of a Grapefruit League spring training game at FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches on February 25, 2020 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)
WEST PALM BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 25: Yimi Garcia #93 of the Miami Marlins delivers a pitch against the Houston Astros in the third inning of a Grapefruit League spring training game at FITTEAM Ballpark of The Palm Beaches on February 25, 2020 in West Palm Beach, Florida. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images) /
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Yimi García is one of the 40 lucky ones in Miami Marlins Spring Training camp on the “protected” roster.

Along with 25 non-roster invitees, and a few minor leaguers here and there, Yimi García is doing his best to get into game-shape for the Miami Marlins regular season.

García is a six-foot, 225. lb. right-hander from Moca in the DR, the 29-year-old reliever signed a one-year, $1.1 million contract with the Marlins on December 20th. It’s a deal sprinkled with minor incentives, namely, bonuses of $50,000 each for 40, 50, 60, and 70 games pitched.

García signed with the Los Angeles Dodgers and reported to their Dominican rookie-complex in 2009, gradually working his way up their system before making his major league debut with them in 2014. Prior to last season, he was 4-7 with a 3.70 ERA and 100 whiffs in 97 1/3 innings, along with a 1.068 WHIP, a 4.00 FIP, and a slightly better-than average 103 ERA+.

Miami Marlins
JUPITER, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 19: Yimi Garcia #93 of the Miami Marlins. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /

García’s stats took a sharp north-turn in 2019, despite a 1-4 record. He struck out 66 in 62 1/3 innings and lowered his WHIP to a somewhat remarkable 0.866 WHIP, by surrendering only 5.8 hits per nine innings.

Baseball reference pegs García to post a 1.190 WHIP in 2020 for some reason, with 59 K’s in 58 innings of work. In neither of his two full seasons, however, has he posted a WHIP nearly as high. Baseball Savant had García’s 2019 as a good one. His XWOBA of .257 and XWOBACON of .313 ranked him in the top five percent of baseball, while his .183 XBA and a hard hit percentage of 27.3 ranked him in the top two percent.

García is reliant mostly on a three pitch mix, comprised of a four-seam fastball that sits around 94 MPH that he throws about 44 percent of the time; A curveball with a 2,766 RPM spin rate he throws about 31 percent of the time; and a slider with a 25.8 percent put-away percentage he throws around 18 percent. He fills out his reportoire with a change (six percent) and an infrequent sinker (two percent).

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In three appearances so far this spring, García has thrown four perfect innings and struck out six batters. In fact, he’s faced one less than the minimum, erasing an inherited runner in relief on a double play.

Look for García to weigh in late in games in relief, as either a seventh- or eighth-inning specialist. He’s fully equipped to close games if called upon, and with Brandon Kintzler exhibiting control problems, anything is possible.

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