Scouting Yankees Prospect #8:Christian Garcia

The New York Yankees selected Christian Garcia in the third round of the 2004 MLB Draft out of Gulliver Prep High School. One of the most talented pitchers in the farm system, he has been plagued by the injury bug over the last two years, including rehabbing his way back from Tommy John surgery before then requiring knee surgery and he is now looking to fight his way back.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Christian Garcia
Position: Starting Pitcher
DOB: August 24, 1985
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 205
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Dealing with an abdominal strain limited him to just twelve games back in 2006 before the Yankees sent him out to the Hawaiian Winter League that offseason to get his innings up, and that's when he went down with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery in November of that same year.

He was rehabbing his way back from Tommy John surgery when he then dislocated his knee cap running suicides [shuttle runs] on the outfield grass, an injury that required knee surgery and put him further behind in his eventual return to the mound.

"The grass was a little wet," Garcia recounted. "It wasn't raining or anything but just when the grass is a little wet from the dew. When I was running we were running from first to second [in the outfield grass] and we were trying to do it under 50 seconds and we were doing it ten times.

"Going there would be one, going back would be two. I did the first set under 50 and when I went to do the second set, when I went to do the eighth one - your legs are getting heavy by then - I go to touch and my back foot slips.

"My body is going one way and I'm pushing off another way and my knee just caved into the ground. My kneecap dislocated, it just popped out and it stood out for a while. It felt long a long time but it wasn't really a long time, maybe ten seconds. I just extended my leg and I just guided it back in with my hand."

Returning back to his third-floor apartment later that same afternoon to rest the leg, he says when he awoke from his nap his knee had swollen to the size of his head and he quickly realized the severity of the injury meant more surgery.

"It couldn't have been anymore disappointing," said the former high school catcher. "I was on the verge - it happened on a Saturday and on Monday was my first bullpen coming back from Tommy John surgery.

"You work so hard to get somewhere and you finally see some light at the end of the tunnel, and then all of the sudden bam, right back down to the floor. It's like you're climbing your way out and then all of the sudden somebody pushes you all the way down to the floor."

Despite having his third relatively serious injury in less than two years, he says he never gave quitting a moment's thought and merely took his latest setback as yet another obstacle in achieving his goal of pitching in the big leagues.

Now twelve bullpen sessions in into his latest bid to return to the hill - throwing just fastballs and changeups at the current time and possibly on track to return in time for the start of minor league Spring Training - Garcia still remains very encouraged.

"What it shows me is they're actually giving the minor league guys a chance, everybody has a shot, and it doesn't matter where you start, it matters where you finish," he said of the Yankees. "Look at Joba [Chamberlain] last year. He started out in Extended Spring Training and ends up finishing in the major leagues and dominated the major leagues.

"And you've got Ian [Kennedy] starting out in high-A and finishing in the major leagues. That shows me the Yankees are willing to move people. It makes me want to get back quicker because the more time I'm wasting the more people are getting up and jumping over me."

Insisting he has become very mentally strong dealing with his string of injuries over the last two years, Garcia - who just began throwing curveballs from flat surfaces on Monday - believes he has what it takes to move just as quickly through the minor leagues upon his return.

"If I didn't feel that way I wouldn't be playing but I think it's better if I don't talk about it and show more action than talk," said the 22-year old. "I can say it, that I'll be able to do it this year, but it's better to not talk about it and just show it. I've done enough talking, now it's time to show more action."

Despite possessing immense potential on the mound, the brutal fact remains that the third round pick in 2004 still hasn't thrown one pitch above the low-A level yet and his doubters have lined up in record numbers.

"I don't blame people because I haven't shown people a reason to be on my side," he coldly admitted. "I don't expect them to be there right now but it does disappoint you when you don't get the same attention as you did before. I don't expect them to be giving me attention when I haven't done anything to deserve it."

A player who has had his work ethic and maturity questioned over the years, he simply wants to walk the proverbial walk and prove his worth on the field after learning so much from his two surgeries.

"I've learned that things fly by," said the right-hander. "One minute I'm 18 and then next minute I'm 22. Four years just passed by and I'll sit back sometimes and look back and realize this is my job, if I don't have this where am I going to go.

"It makes me really, really think I've got to get my s**t together. If I don't, what I'm going to be doing ten years from now? I want to be in the big leagues winning World Series titles and Cy Youngs, that's what I want to be doing."

Year

Team

W-L

IP

H

BB

SO

ERA

2006

Charleston

2-3

41.2

37

12

45

3.46

2006

GCL

0-1

11.1

15

4

15

9.53

2005

Charleston

5-6

106.0

102

53

103

3.91

2004

Gulf Coast

3-4

38.0

26

17

47

2.84



Repertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.

Fastball. Garcia is a true power arm, one who sits comfortably 92-95 MPH with his fastball and tops out at 97 MPH. A bit wild with his fastball command in his younger days, one of the benefits of spending so much time rehabbing has been refining his mechanics and the results have shown in the vastly improved command of his heater. Not really deceptive in his delivery, the looseness in which he throws his fastball does allow it to sneak up batters as it doesn't look like he is throwing nearly as hard.

Other Pitches. Garcia's calling card is his power knuckle-curveball that he'll go to in any count and in any situation - even in a 3-2 count with the bases loaded. Averaging 81-84 MPH with his breaking ball, he can drop it off the table for a called strike or bury it in the dirt for a swinging strike. The somewhat recent development of a power changeup gives him three plus pitches. A focal point in his development for many years, his changeup - once a very inconsistent pitch for him - has become a true strikeout pitch for him.

Pitching. Few pitchers can rival Garcia's stuff or confidence. Armed with three plus pitches gives him the confidence to throw any pitch at any time and he enjoys the chess-like nature of pitch selection. His game is predicated on true power and he can pile up strikeouts in a hurry. He goes right after batters and, naturally strong, he has the ability to maintain his velocity deep into games. Some question his work ethic but it should be pointed out it does take a hard worker to continually work his way back from multiple injuries and sometimes his carefree and fun-loving attitude can be misconstrued. He is beloved by his teammates and he is willing to protect his batters by pitching inside should the need arise.

Projection. Seldom do pitchers with Garcia's upside - which his quite considerable - have the luxury of flying under the radar and being an underdog of sorts, but it appears that will be the case once he returns from his latest injury as nearly all outsiders have written him off. Possessing Joba-like stuff and potential, a player with his immense talent should never be discounted. And like Chamberlain, Garcia has the pure ability to make his way to the big leagues in one short year if he can remain healthy. He has the potential to be an ace of big league pitching staff if everything clicks, but with his checkered injury history and with questions surrounding his intangibles, he compares favorably to Toronto Blue Jays hurler A.J. Burnett.

ETA. 2009. Garcia's knee surgery affected more of his offseason rest than his originally scheduled return from Tommy John surgery. On track to possibly be ready for the start of Spring Training, he will most likely begin the 2008 season in Extended Spring Training for a short period of time before breaking with the Tampa Yankees and seeing some time in Double-A is not out of the question later in the year. If all goes well he should find his way to the Bronx at some point in the following year.

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Pinstripes Plus Top Stories

\r\n \r\n\r\nVital Statistics:
\r\nName: Christian Garcia
\r\nPosition: Starting Pitcher
\r\nDOB: August 24, 1985
\r\nHeight: 6'5\"
\r\nWeight: 205
\r\nBats: Right
\r\nThrows: Right
\r\n
\r\nDealing with an abdominal strain limited him to just twelve games back in 2006 before the Yankees sent him out to the Hawaiian Winter League that offseason to get his innings up, and that's when he went down with an elbow injury that required Tommy John surgery in November of that same year.
\r\n
\r\nHe was rehabbing his way back from Tommy John surgery when he then dislocated his knee cap running suicides [shuttle runs] on the outfield grass, an injury that required knee surgery and put him further behind in his eventual return to the mound.
\r\n
\r\n\"The grass was a little wet,\" Garcia recounted. \"It wasn't raining or anything but just when the grass is a little wet from the dew. When I was running we were running from first to second [in the outfield grass] and we were trying to do it under 50 seconds and we were doing it ten times.
\r\n
\r\n\"Going there would be one, going back would be two. I did the first set under 50 and when I went to do the second set, when I went to do the eighth one - your legs are getting heavy by then - I go to touch and my back foot slips.
\r\n
\r\n\"My body is going one way and I'm pushing off another way and my knee just caved into the ground. My kneecap dislocated, it just popped out and it stood out for a while. It felt long a long time but it wasn't really a long time, maybe ten seconds. I just extended my leg and I just guided it back in with my hand.\"\r\n
\r\n
\r\nReturning back to his third-floor apartment later that same afternoon to rest the leg, he says when he awoke from his nap his knee had swollen to the size of his head and he quickly realized the severity of the injury meant more surgery.
\r\n
\r\n\"It couldn't have been anymore disappointing,\" said the former high school catcher. \"I was on the verge - it happened on a Saturday and on Monday was my first bullpen coming back from Tommy John surgery.
\r\n
\r\n\"You work so hard to get somewhere and you finally see some light at the end of the tunnel, and then all of the sudden bam, right back down to the floor. It's like you're climbing your way out and then all of the sudden somebody pushes you all the way down to the floor.\"
\r\n
\r\nDespite having his third relatively serious injury in less than two years, he says he never gave quitting a moment's thought and merely took his latest setback as yet another obstacle in achieving his goal of pitching in the big leagues.
\r\n
\r\nNow twelve bullpen sessions in into his latest bid to return to the hill - throwing just fastballs and changeups at the current time and possibly on track to return in time for the start of minor league Spring Training - Garcia still remains very encouraged.
\r\n
\r\n\"What it shows me is they're actually giving the minor league guys a chance, everybody has a shot, and it doesn't matter where you start, it matters where you finish,\" he said of the Yankees. \"Look at Joba [Chamberlain] last year. He started out in Extended Spring Training and ends up finishing in the major leagues and dominated the major leagues.
\r\n
\r\n\"And you've got Ian [Kennedy] starting out in high-A and finishing in the major leagues. That shows me the Yankees are willing to move people. It makes me want to get back quicker because the more time I'm wasting the more people are getting up and jumping over me.\"
\r\n
\r\nInsisting he has become very mentally strong dealing with his string of injuries over the last two years, Garcia - who just began throwing curveballs from flat surfaces on Monday - believes he has what it takes to move just as quickly through the minor leagues upon his return.
\r\n
\r\n\"If I didn't feel that way I wouldn't be playing but I think it's better if I don't talk about it and show more action than talk,\" said the 22-year old. \"I can say it, that I'll be able to do it this year, but it's better to not talk about it and just show it. I've done enough talking, now it's time to show more action.\"
\r\n
\r\nDespite possessing immense potential on the mound, the brutal fact remains that the third round pick in 2004 still hasn't thrown one pitch above the low-A level yet and his doubters have lined up in record numbers.
\r\n
\r\n\"I don't blame people because I haven't shown people a reason to be on my side,\" he coldly admitted. \"I don't expect them to be there right now but it does disappoint you when you don't get the same attention as you did before. I don't expect them to be giving me attention when I haven't done anything to deserve it.\"
\r\n
\r\nA player who has had his work ethic and maturity questioned over the years, he simply wants to walk the proverbial walk and prove his worth on the field after learning so much from his two surgeries.
\r\n
\r\n\"I've learned that things fly by,\" said the right-hander. \"One minute I'm 18 and then next minute I'm 22. Four years just passed by and I'll sit back sometimes and look back and realize this is my job, if I don't have this where am I going to go.
\r\n
\r\n\"It makes me really, really think I've got to get my s**t together. If I don't, what I'm going to be doing ten years from now? I want to be in the big leagues winning World Series titles and Cy Youngs, that's what I want to be doing.\"
\r\n
\r\n\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n
\r\n

\r\n Year

\r\n

\r\n Team

\r\n

\r\n W-L

\r\n

\r\n IP

\r\n

\r\n H

\r\n

\r\n BB

\r\n

\r\n SO

\r\n

\r\n ERA

\r\n

\r\n 2006

\r\n

\r\n Charleston

\r\n

\r\n 2-3

\r\n

\r\n 41.2

\r\n

\r\n 37

\r\n

\r\n 12

\r\n

\r\n 45

\r\n

\r\n 3.46

\r\n

\r\n 2006

\r\n

\r\n GCL

\r\n

\r\n 0-1

\r\n

\r\n 11.1

\r\n

\r\n 15

\r\n

4

\r\n

\r\n 15

\r\n

\r\n 9.53

\r\n

\r\n 2005

\r\n

\r\n Charleston

\r\n

\r\n 5-6

\r\n

\r\n 106.0

\r\n

\r\n 102

\r\n

\r\n 53

\r\n

\r\n 103

\r\n

\r\n 3.91

\r\n

\r\n 2004

\r\n

\r\n Gulf Coast

\r\n

\r\n 3-4

\r\n

\r\n 38.0

\r\n

\r\n 26

\r\n

\r\n 17

\r\n

\r\n 47

\r\n

\r\n 2.84


\r\n
\r\nRepertoire. Fastball, Curveball, Changeup.
\r\n
\r\nFastball. Garcia is a true power arm, one who sits comfortably 92-95 MPH with his fastball and tops out at 97 MPH. A bit wild with his fastball command in his younger days, one of the benefits of spending so much time rehabbing has been refining his mechanics and the results have shown in the vastly improved command of his heater. Not really deceptive in his delivery, the looseness in which he throws his fastball does allow it to sneak up batters as it doesn't look like he is throwing nearly as hard.
\r\n
\r\nOther Pitches. Garcia's calling card is his power knuckle-curveball that he'll go to in any count and in any situation - even in a 3-2 count with the bases loaded. Averaging 81-84 MPH with his breaking ball, he can drop it off the table for a called strike or bury it in the dirt for a swinging strike. The somewhat recent development of a power changeup gives him three plus pitches. A focal point in his development for many years, his changeup - once a very inconsistent pitch for him - has become a true strikeout pitch for him.
\r\n
\r\nPitching. Few pitchers can rival Garcia's stuff or confidence. Armed with three plus pitches gives him the confidence to throw any pitch at any time and he enjoys the chess-like nature of pitch selection. His game is predicated on true power and he can pile up strikeouts in a hurry. He goes right after batters and, naturally strong, he has the ability to maintain his velocity deep into games. Some question his work ethic but it should be pointed out it does take a hard worker to continually work his way back from multiple injuries and sometimes his carefree and fun-loving attitude can be misconstrued. He is beloved by his teammates and he is willing to protect his batters by pitching inside should the need arise.
\r\n
\r\nProjection. Seldom do pitchers with Garcia's upside - which his quite considerable - have the luxury of flying under the radar and being an underdog of sorts, but it appears that will be the case once he returns from his latest injury as nearly all outsiders have written him off. Possessing Joba-like stuff and potential, a player with his immense talent should never be discounted. And like Chamberlain, Garcia has the pure ability to make his way to the big leagues in one short year if he can remain healthy. He has the potential to be an ace of big league pitching staff if everything clicks, but with his checkered injury history and with questions surrounding his intangibles, he compares favorably to Toronto Blue Jays hurler A.J. Burnett.
\r\n
\r\nETA. 2009. Garcia's knee surgery affected more of his offseason rest than his originally scheduled return from Tommy John surgery. On track to possibly be ready for the start of Spring Training, he will most likely begin the 2008 season in Extended Spring Training for a short period of time before breaking with the Tampa Yankees and seeing some time in Double-A is not out of the question later in the year. If all goes well he should find his way to the Bronx at some point in the following year.
\r\n
\r\n

\r\n \r\n \r\n \r\n\r\n
\r\n

Are you a monthly or 3-month subscriber to PinstripesPlus.com? Why not get two months free AND get 4 issues of our PinstripesPlus Magazine, including our special Yankees Prospects Guide, included by becoming an annual subscriber? Upgrade today to get the most out of your subscription.

\r\n

\r\n

Become an annual subscriber today!

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