It has been a difficult season for Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Yimi Garcia. In the beginning of the season he seemed to be the front runner for the open closer role, but he has since been sent to Triple-A Oklahoma City to work on more than a few things.
When asked why Garcia had been sent down, manager Don Mattingly made it clear that it wasn’t necessarily a demotion. “His usage was probably going to be overdone probably by about 15 games. We felt like it was a good time to give him a breather. Also his command, we’re kind of giving him some time to regulate his usage, being able to work on fastball command a little bit and a little bit of his secondary stuff. It just seemed like the timing for it was kind of the right time,” Mattingly said.
A WHIP of 1.10 is not ideal for a reliever, especially in the later innings. Since the Dodgers know Garcia has great potential, they have sent him down in order to prevent burnout.
Garcia first joined the Dodgers last season and showed the club what he could do, with a WHIP of 0.70 and a BABIP of .167. His problem stems from his lowered ability to induce ground balls. Last season, 38.5% of batted balls resulted in ground balls compared to 2015, where only 26.7% produce the same result. Pitchers with a higher amount of ground balls tend to have a lower ERA.
While this move is good for the Dodgers and Garcia, Mattingly also made a point to tell the 24-year-old that he has been sent down because he needed to “work on his stuff a little bit but also from the stand point of usage and taking care of him for the long haul.”
Although he has been inconsistent this season, Garcia can be a valuable asset to the bullpen if he can fix his issues.