Luis Garcia could have a bright future for the Houston Astros.
Coming into the ALDS, the Astros organization only made one change from the Wild Card roster. That move was switching out Jack Mayfield for Luis Garcia. With the series expanding to a best of five, it makes sense to expand your arms, and the value of Mayfield is worth a lot less than another relief pitcher for this series.
Mayfield would be a late game substitute for the middle and left side of the infield, but he is not defensively better than Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa or Alex Bregman. So he was sent to the alternate training site, and Garcia was brought back up.
First off, this rookie bullpen will have some names that fans might not know yet, and here is a great example of one. Garcia only pitched in five games this past season, and he was producing outs very easily. So if he was producing outs so well, why was he optioned?
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The reason is the season ended. The right hander was brought up for the month of September and showed what he could do. Injuries hit the bullpen in the back end of the season, so it was time for the Astros to test out other pitchers. Garcia was brought up for a test run, but as the Astros were tailgated by the Angels and Mariners, they decided to hunker down and finish the season.
For Garcia, he is naturally a starting pitcher. Over the last three years in the minors, he racked in a 2.50 ERA over 205 innings pitched. Also over that stretch, his strikeout rate increased, opponent BA dropped from .310 to .172, and his WHIP dropped below 1.00.
He was awarded Minor League Pitcher of the Week for Class-A Quad Cities in June of 2019 after striking out 13 batters in only six frames. He is not the replacement for a ground ball pitcher like Zack Greinke, but he is going to be arm scary arm to face.
So, where do we see him fitting in the future? As of right now, he is a long reliever and holds a lot of unknown value in the Astros bullpen. We may not see him next season as long as the Astros stay healthy, but with Justin Verlander out for some time, the Venezuelan native could be an up and down replacement next season. With Verlander and Greinke edging closer to their 40s, Garcia could be a future starter for Houston.