Rookie Review: Christian Garcia, RHP, Washington Nationals
Washington Nationals rookie right-hander Christian Garcia had a impressive outing against the New York Mets yesterday, striking out the first three men he faced. He's thrown five innings since being promoted to the majors, allowing one run on four hits, fanning seven while walking no one. Garcia was one of the most dominant relievers in the minors this year, posting an 0.86 ERA in 52 innings between Double-A and Triple-A, allowing only 31 hits, saving 21 ,with a superb 66/17 K/BB ratio.
Oh, yeah, don't forget his 2.72 GO/AO mark to go with all the Ks.
Let's see what the Nationals have here.
Christian Garcia was drafted by the New York Yankees in the third round in 2004, from high school in Coral Gables, Florida. He performed well in 2005, posting a 3.91 ERA with 103 strikeouts in 106 innings for Charleston in the Low-A South Atlantic League. However, he was limited to 52 innings by injury in 2006, then missed all of 2007 recovering from Tommy John surgery. He returned to make 10 effective starts for High-A Tampa in 2008 (2.90 ERA, 60/17 K/BB in 50 innings), but got hurt again in 2009, missing almost all of that season and almost all of 2010, requiring a second Tommy John surgery and another elbow procedure.
The Yankees released him and he was signed by the Washington Nationals for 2011, pitching 18 innings for Auburn in the New York-Penn League, posting a 2.95 ERA with an outstanding 28/2 K/BB ratio. Garcia was finally completely healthy in 2012 and as you know he's had a terrific season.
In 369 minor league innings, Garcia has a 3.22 ERA with a 414/154 K/BB ratio and 317 hits allowed. His K/IP and H/IP ratios are excellent and there are no real flaws in his statistics.
When healthy, Garcia throws very hard, 93-98 MPH with his fastball, averaging 96. He also has a very good breaking ball, described variously as a hard curve or a slider. Garcia has good control for a power pitcher, and is effective against both left-handed and right-handed hitters. He also has a strong ground ball tendency, combining that with a high strikeout rate, which is a statistical profile that is usually highly successful.
I really like Garcia. He's always been effective when healthy, and he's taken well to bullpen use. He should have a fine career in relief and I wouldn't be afraid to give him a shot as a closer.