There’s no sugarcoating how bad the Los Angeles Dodgers bullpen was in 2014. Their 3.80 ERA ranked 23rd out of 30 teams and their 206 walks was the third most in the league.
One guy who could have possibly helped, but wasn’t called up until September is Yimi Garcia. After being called up, Garcia threw 10 innings, giving up two runs and striking out nine while walking just one.
He followed that up this year by giving up just one run in 11.2 innings in Spring Training, which earned the 24-year-old a spot on the Major League roster to start the 2015 season.
According to Ken Gurnick and Greg Johns of MLB.com, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly believes they may have overlooked Garcia when putting their bullpen together in recent years:
I think we missed the boat a little bit. The guy had success all the way through [the Minor Leagues]. You think maybe it’s not as good as it looks. He comes up [last year] and maybe they haven’t seen him yet. Ten years later, hey, he’s pretty good. That [radar] gun doesn’t always tell the story.” — Mattingly on how rookie reliever Yimi Garcia was overlooked
Garcia, who is from the Dominican Republic, has continued to build on his impressive spring by giving up one run in six innings so far this season, while striking out 10 and walking one.
While his fastball doesn’t reach upper-90s the way some other relievers do, he locates his fastball well at 92-94 miles per hour, with a devastating slider that he uses to strike people out.
The Dodgers bullpen has been a lot better so far in 2015. Through the first nine games they have posted a 2.79 ERA while striking out 41 batters in 29 combined innings pitched.
Missing bats is what president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman emphasized when putting his bullpen together in 2015, and Garcia seems to be a perfect fit in that philosophy.
Dodgers 2015 Spring Training – Yasmani Grandal