Name: Rony Garcia
DOB: December 19, 1997
Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.
Fastball. What makes Garcia so special so early in his career is his extremely loose arm action and already plus power. He sits in the 92-96 mph range and because he does it so free and easy with a lot of late-life explosion it appears the fastball isn't coming in nearly as hard as the radar gun notes so he is quite deceptive in that regard. Standing 6-foot-3 and already 200 pounds, conventional wisdom suggests there isn't a whole lot more power to be tapped considering he is already filled out but the looseness in his arm action could wind up kicking conventional wisdom in the teeth. A plus pitch right now, a bit more power could land him a plus-plus offering should he add a tick or two in the coming years.
Other Pitches. Garcia, signed as an older pass-over player in 2015 [he could have signed a year prior but didn't], actually entered professional baseball with the ability to spin the baseball extremely well, which makes his later signing all the more odd. It's a power curveball with some slider shape, showing great action and tightness, and he can throw it for strikes seemingly at will. Everything about the pitch screams plus potential with the exception that he uses it more as a contact out-pitch than a strikeout one, even though it should be a great strikeout weapon. Garcia didn't have much of an in-game changeup in his debut season last year and instead worked hard on it behind the scenes in bullpens and broke out it more during Instructional League. The one he showed there had fade, it had depth, and it had deceptive arm action and speed. In fact, the one he had at Instructs showed long-term above average or better potential but it's so new to him that it really can't be considered as such until he proves it more in games.
Pitching. The meat of Garcia's game is going right after batters with strike after strike in ultra-aggressive fashion. He hates walking batters more than most pitchers and it's very evident. While that innate strike-throwing ability is a huge weapon in itself, especially for somebody so new to pitching, it can be a double-edged sword too. He hasn't yet learned to expand a hitter's strike zone for fear of getting behind in counts and walking batters, and as a result the strikeouts have been pedestrian at best even though the stuff on paper suggests he should be a strikeout per inning pitched guy or better. The strike-throwing and current stuff makes him a pitch-ability guy too but he also needs to learn to throw earlier count purpose pitches to set up batters later in at-bats and trust the philosophy that not everything has to be a strike. He is very athletic though, the delivery is very repeatable, and he shows a competitive fire that is masked extremely well by a professional demeanor and poise on the mound.
Projection. Garcia has the foundation in place to potentially be a special pitcher someday; advanced strike-throwing, plus fastball, loose delivery, unflappable demeanor, and physically has all the earmarks of a high-stamina hurler. In fact, on those qualities alone he isn't far off from comparing favorably to current Yankee hurler Luis Severino, especially with the late-life explosive fastball. Throw in a changeup that also shows some special long-term potential and Garcia projects very well very early in his career as an eventual big league starting pitcher someday. He'll need that changeup to continue developing to fulfill his starting potential, however, as well as showing a bit more willingness to pitch with a purpose outside of the strike zone. Missing some more bats and having a bit more of a killer instinct would serve him well long-term. Should he do that he has real front-half of the rotation potential. It's because of the all the aforementioned reasons though that Garcia more aptly compares to Ivan Nova as somebody who may take some time to become the strikeout pitcher he can be.
ETA. N/A. Garcia's high-end talent could send him a number of different ways early on his career. He has the kind of advanced stuff and strike-throwing that could push him all the way to low-A Charleston right out of Spring Training in his first full season in 2017, especially if the changeup he had with him at Instructs shows up in camp. Even if he doesn't break camp there, however, he does seem poised enough to at least pitch in advanced short-A Staten Island as a fallback option.