Marlins manager Don Mattingly said Garcia, who is competing for a spot in the Miami rotation, would work exclusively as a starting pitcher in 2018 with either the big club or at Triple-A New Orleans, Joe Frisaro of MLB.com reports.
Though Garcia distinguished himself as a key part of the bridge to the ninth-inning as a rookie in 2017, collecting 15 holds over 53.1 innings, the Marlins believe the 25-year-old lefty is capable of handling a more meaningful role. Garcia had been developed as a starter in the minors as recently as 2016, so building up the stamina to cover multiple innings shouldn't prove to be much of an issue. Instead, the question is whether Garcia can perform well enough in the spring to seize one of three openings in the Marlins rotation, as only Jose Urena and Dan Straily are guaranteed spots coming out of camp with Wei-Yin Chen (shoulder) set to open the season on the disabled list. As a reliever, Garcia's velocity sat in the low-to-mid 90s, but he may lose a few ticks while transitioning back to starting duty, making it likely that the meager 7.1 K/9 rate he posted out of the bullpen last season will tumble further. For that reason -- along with his rather unremarkable track record as a starter throughout his stops in the minors -- Garcia doesn't look like a particularly high-upside fantasy option even if he's able to secure a rotation spot.
Based on the comments from the team's brass during Saturday's Marlins Fanfest, it seems only Dan Straily and Jose Urena are guaranteed starting roles heading into 2018. A healthy Wei-Yin Chen would also seem to have an edge on a rotation spot, with the Marlins planning to give a number of younger, less established arms the opportunity to round out the starting ranks. Though he proved to be one of the more dependable setup men for the Marlins as a rookie in 2017, Garcia only managed a 7.1 K/9 rate, which limits his long-term upside in the bullpen compared to some of the other power relievers the team has in the fold. Prior to being converted to relief duty last season, Garcia had been developed as a starter, but his meager minor-league numbers and lack of starting experience above the Double-A level make him a long shot to win a rotation spot with the Marlins.
Garcia gave up a hit and walked two in one-third of an inning Friday against the Braves. He struck out one.
It's noteworthy that the southpaw was given the chance to enter the contest in the ninth inning of a one-run contest, but he managed to load the bases prior to exiting with just one batter retired. Garcia has been up and down out of the Marlins' bullpen this season, but this usage could mean that he's in the mix for save opportunities heading into 2018. He'll need to improve his middling strikeout rate and show more consistency if he wants to have a shot at the closer's job, however.
Garcia struck out two in a perfect seventh inning Thursday to get credit for the win in a 9-8 victory over the Phillies.
It was his first MLB win, but the 24-year-old lefty has been effective in middle relief most of the season, posting a 3.27 ERA, 0.97 WHIP and 33:10 K:BB in 41.1 innings over 53 appearances. Garcia could get a chance to move into a starting role in 2018, but his lack of strikeout stuff likely makes him better suited for the bullpen in the long run.
Though he missed the minimum amount of time with the right biceps strain, Garcia may find himself lower on the bullpen totem pole upon returning with rookie Drew Steckenrider stepping up to provide quality work in high-leverage spots and hard-throwing setup man Kyle Barraclough having since been reinstated from the DL. With a 3.43 ERA and 0.99 WHIP over 39.1 innings, Garcia has been a pleasant surprise this season while making the jump from the Double-A level, but a weak 6.6 K/9 rate and .234 BABIP suggest that some regression could be in store.
|10/1/2017 vs Atlanta|
|Last 7 Games|
|Complete Game Log|
| 11 || 12 || 13 || 14 || 15 || 16 || 17
| 18 || 19 || 20 || 21 || 22 || 23 || 24
|More Pitching Stats|
|Minor League Pitching Stats|