Dodgers: Don’t count out Yimi Garcia in 2019

Even with a handful of relievers likely ahead of him on the depth chart right now, Dodger fans should not forget about Yimi Garcia.

Garcia, a 28-year-old right-handed relief pitcher, was one of the Dodgers best relievers in 2015. He posted a 3.34 ERA that season while striking out almost 11 batters per nine and walking less than 2 per 9. He looked like the setup man of the future for the team.

That is, until the injury bug got him. In 2016, he was limited to 15.2 total innings with 8.1 of them at the major league level. He ended up having Tommy John surgery on Oct. 25, 2016. Garcia missed all of 2017 recovering from that surgery.

In 2018, Garcia came back and pitched 40 total innings. 22.1 of those innings were for the major league club and it wasn’t pretty. He had a 5.64 ERA, 6.34 FIP, 7.66 K/9, 1.61 BB/9, and -0.4 WAR. It looked like he was done, but now there is reason for hope.

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To start with, Garcia didn’t walk many batters in 2015 and he continued to limit walks in 2018. That’s a good sign that he still has his control, even while he’s regaining a feel for his pitches.

He also saw his average fastball velocity rise to 94.5 MPH from 93.4 in 2015 and his slider gained nearly 2 mph. Garcia still has an incredibly high spin rate on all his pitches and it even rose slightly from his 2015 season.

The combo of a high-spin fastball with good velocity is an incredibly effective one to strike hitters out. Limiting walks and striking out batters is a recipe for success for any pitcher.

Now over 2 years removed from his injury, Garcia should be fully healed with no lingering effects. He showed even more hope with an immaculate inning against the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday, Feb. 26.

If the Dodgers get Garcia back to where he was in 2015, he should be a huge part of their bullpen this season.

Blake Williams

I graduated with an Associate's Degree in Journalism from Los Angeles Pierce College and now I'm working towards my Bachelor's at Cal State University, Northridge. I'm currently the managing editor for the Roundup News and a writer for Dodgers Nation. Around the age of 12, I fell in love with baseball and in high school, I realized my best path to working in baseball was as a writer, so that's the path I followed. I also like to bring an analytics viewpoint to my work and I'm always willing to help someone understand them since so many people have done the same for me. Thanks for reading!


  1. I thought I read somewhere that Yimi Garcia is Out of options so if he doesn’t make the opening day roster for the Dodgers, he will be cut/”designated for assignment.” Please correct me if I am in error. Before Yimi got hurt, I was thinking he could of helped the Dodgers pen most notably in the 2017 WS against the Astros.

      1. Roster Resource also lists Brock Stewart as being out of options. So we could soon be saying goodbye to him as well.

        1. Ken , while I won’t necessarily count Yimi out completely, I will for the most part not be too anxious to witness his generosity for allowing HR’s, same with Stewart. I know other staff members are guilty in that area as well but wss. I certainly am not expecting a whole lot out of either pitcher.

  2. I’ve always loved his stuff… but like Jeff Smarszda for the Giants he’s in the strike zone way too much. That’s why I don’t think either will ever turn the corner. If Yimi can learn how to get his slider outside the strike zone instead of leaving it in the zone he’ll succeed. He needs do get with Romo. When Romo dominated he got people out because although his pitches appeared to be strikes on or near the corner, his slider broke out of the zone and many missed it for years.

  3. Since the harper deal didn’t go through honestly kimbrel and keuchel are still out there in the market adding those players to the puzzle can really change bullpen no offense baez should of been cut 2 seasons ago not a consistent reliever,

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