Garcia was on the fast track to Detroit shortly after his selection in the sixth round of the 2016 Draft. The former University of Miami closer rose from Class A West Michigan to Triple-A Toledo in 2017, but had to pause when a torn elbow ligament required Tommy John surgery the following spring. He returned to action in May 2019 and found the fast track again, making it back to the Mud Hens' bullpen by the end of May and making his Major League debut as a September callup.
When healthy, Garcia pounds the zone with the combination of a mid-90s fastball and upper-80s slider. The fastball has some sinking action to it, but he’ll throw it up and down in the zone, setting up a sharp slider as an out pitch. He continues to work on a changeup, but it was mainly a chase pitch while ahead in the count during his Detroit debut down the stretch.
The Tigers see Garcia as next in line to make the progression as a late-inning reliever, kind of like Joe Jimenez when he debuted a few years ago. He doesn’t have the power fastball of other relief prospects in the system (though that could improve in his second year out from surgery), and he could have competition if the Tigers move some of their starting prospects into relief roles, but he has the aggressiveness and savvy to find a role as a setup man or more in Detroit.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 55 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45
The Tigers took Garcia in the fifth round of the 2016 Draft after he set a University of Miami record with 43 career saves. The hope was that he'd move through the Minors quickly en route to the big leagues, and he nearly did just that in his first full season, pitching across four levels and finishing in Triple-A. However, Garcia's fast track was derailed in early 2018 when he needed Tommy John surgery right at the start of Spring Training. He made a healthy return to the mound in May 2019 and was back in Triple-A Toledo's bullpen by the end of the month.
When healthy, Garcia has a fastball-slider combination that is good enough to compete with at the Major League level. He throws his fastball up to 95-96 mph regularly and his breaking ball will flash plus, missing bats to the tune of a 12.8 K/9 rate in 2017. The Tigers have encouraged him to work on his changeup more, a serviceable pitch now that could be average and give him a legitimate third weapon. With the exception of his time in Triple-A, he was generally around the strike zone with enough command to succeed in late relief.
Garcia's bulldog mentality is well-suited for relief work and he likes getting the ball late in games. Provided he can stay healthy, Garcia should be able to carve out a role as a setup man at the highest level.
In a perfect world, when a team drafts a college closer, especially one from a top-notch program, he moves quickly and gets to the big leagues in a hurry. Garcia, the Tigers' fifth round pick in 2016 who set a University of Miami record with 43 career saves, looked like he was ready to oblige by pitching across four levels and finishing his first full season of pro ball in Triple-A. He was derailed from the fast track, however, when he needed Tommy John surgery right at the start of Spring Training, forcing him out for all of 2018.
Garcia's bulldog mentality is well-suited for relief work and he likes getting the ball late in games. Once he returns from the elbow surgery, he can go back to working his way into Detroit's bullpen, at least as a valuable setup man.
Scouting grades: Fastball: 60 | Slider: 50 | Changeup: 45 | Control: 45 | Overall: 45
In three years at Miami, Garcia saved 43 games, a school record. He added a half-dozen more during his pro debut last summer in the short-season New York-Penn League after the Tigers took him in the sixth round of the 2016 Draft, before helping out West Michigan for its playoff run in the Midwest League.
Garcia showed his stuff was too much for lower-level hitters and has moved quickly through the system, reaching Double-A in his first full season. He'll throw his fastball up into the mid-90s at times and combines it with a slider that will flash plus on occasion and should be at least a Major League average breaking ball. He'll even mix in a serviceable changeup. He gets high marks for his makeup, showing the bulldog mentality teams like to see in guys who finish games.
Garcia struggled at times with his control while at Miami, but filled up the strike zone during his pro debut. He might not be a closer at the highest level, but if he continues to attack hitters like has thus far, he could be a valuable setup man in the future.