Prospect Profile: Jairo Garcia

Despite a rough season for the A's bullpen, A's fans have reason to be optimistic about the future of the Oakland bullpen, as the A's have a number of good relief prospects in their system. One of the brightest prospects in the A's system is Jairo Garcia. Adam Miller profiles the young flame-thrower.

Please note that an earlier version of this profile appeared on the website back in June. This version has been updated to cover Garcia's entire season.

Jairo Garcia, RHP, 6'0", 165.

Year

Team

Lg

Age

W/L

ERA

IP

H

R

ER

BB

K

HR

H/9

BB/9

K/9

HR/9

K/BB

2000

Dom.

Rookie

17

6-2

3.26

47.0

33

24

17

29

56

2

6.32

5.55

10.72

0.38

1.93

2001

AZ

Rookie

18

4-2

2.85

47.1

37

19

15

6

50

2

7.04

1.14

9.51

0.38

8.33

2002

AZ

Rookie

19

2-1

2.44

59.0

56

24

16

17

66

5

8.54

2.59

10.07

0.76

3.88

2002

VAN

NW

19

0-3

7.30

12.1

15

11

10

7

16

1

10.95

5.11

11.68

0.73

2.29

2003

KANE CTY

MID

20

0-1

2.55

42.1

40

14

12

19

28

0

8.50

4.04

5.95

0.00

1.47

2004

KANE CTY

MID

21

1-0

0.30

30.0

16

2

1

6

49

0

4.80

1.80

14.70

0.00

8.17

2004

MID

TX

21

2-0

1.50

18.0

10

3

3

15

32

0

5.00

7.50

16.00

0.00

2.13

2004

SAC

PCL

21

1-2

3.95

13.2

10

6

6

9

21

1

6.59

5.93

13.83

0.75

2.33

2004

OAK

AL

21

0-0

12.71

5.2

5

8

8

9

5

3

7.90

14.30

7.90

5.19

0.6


Garcia was first profiled here at OaklandClubhouse.com in our organizational overview. He's recently become a hot commodity in the A's farm system; Peter Gammons reported around the trade deadline that a number of teams inquired about Jairo's availability. As it turned out, the A's held onto the flame-throwing right-hander, promoting him through four levels of the organization (Kane County (A), Midland (AA), Sacramento (AAA), and eventually Oakland). While his major league appearances were a little rough, Garcia's future with Oakland is still very bright.

Since signing with the A's out of the Dominican Republic at age 17 in 2000, Jairo has been a flame-throwing strikeout pitcher, with 318 strikeouts in 268 career minor league innings, amounting to an outstanding K/9 rate of 10.68. He has struggled with his control off and on, issuing way too many free passes for the A's liking in 2000 and 2003. In 2003, Garcia spent a full season at low-A Kane County, where he saw his strikeout rate dip severely along with his K/BB ratio. Still coming into the 2004 season, the A's were not ready to give up on Garcia. After all, Garcia still threw in the upper 90s, had an excellent slider with good movement, and had experienced moderate success while being used primarily as a starter at the bottom of the A's system.

Back at Kane County to start the 2004 season, the Cougars decided to make Garcia their closer, and to say he has flourished in the role would be an understatement. As a reliever, Garcia's career has taken off. He went from being a bottom of the rotation minor league starter to one of the best minor league relievers in all of baseball. Garcia was also spared the wear and tear on his arm that he had experienced as a starter, which had caused him to miss parts of two seasons. In 2004, he had a completely healthy season, throwing close to 70 innings in both the major and minor leagues.

Garcia's minor league totals for this past season were astounding. In 61.2 minor league innings in 2004, Jairo allowed 10 earned runs, racked up 19 saves, and struck out more batters (102) then he has allowed hits, walks, and runs combined (76). Add in his career 10.68 K/9 rate, and it's easy to see why the A's are so excited about Garcia. In fact, the A's were so excited about Garcia that they probably rushed him, bringing him to Oakland before he was really ready. It showed in his four major league appearances, as he struggled with his control (9 walks in 5.2 innings pitched) and allowed three homeruns (which was two more then he allowed in his 61.2 minor league innings). The A's kept Garcia with the team in September but didn't use him, instead spending the time working with him on his mechanics.

If Garcia's mechanical flaws are fixed by the start of spring training, there is a chance that he could make the A's 25-man roster on Opening Day, most likely as a middle reliever or set-up man. However, it is more likely that he will begin 2005 in Sacramento to gain more experience against high level competition. Garcia, who will be 22 next March, could be given an opportunity to join the A's mid-season, even if he does start the 2005 campaign in AAA.

In the long term, Garcia will likely compete with A's 2004 draft pick Huston Street for the closer role in Oakland. The "loser" of that competition will probably take the 8th inning set-up role, which could give the A's an 8th inning/9th inning tandem similar to that of the Anaheim Angels (Francisco Rodriguez and Troy Percival) and the mid-1990s New York Yankees (Mariano Rivera/ John Wettland) a few years from now. If the A's tandem of Garcia/Street can be close to as effective as either of those other combination, A's fans will be relishing the end of games once again.

Questions or comments? Adam Miller can be reached at adamgmiller@gmail.com.


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