Scouting Mets' Prospect #46: Anderson Garcia

Garcia Needs To Improve His Changeup

The New York Mets acquired the hard-throwing Anderson Garcia from the New York Yankees in the Armando Benitez trade by in July of 2003. Garcia, who can top off at 97 MPH with his fastball, has one of the more electric arms in the Mets' farm system. Ranking #46 among the Top 50 Mets' prospects, here's a scouting report on Anderson Garcia.

Vital Statistics:
Name: Anderson Garcia
Position: Relief Pitcher
DOB: March 23, 1981
Height: 6'2"
Weight: 170
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

The Mets added right-hander Anderson Garcia to their 40-man roster in mid-November, protecting the hurler from selection in the Rule V draft while simultaneously tipping their interest in him.

A hard-throwing reliever acquired from the Yankees in the July 2003 trade for Armando Benitez, Garcia split the 2005 campaign between the bullpens of Class-A St. Lucie and Double-A Binghamton, appearing in 46 games between the two levels and compiling a cumulative 4.18 ERA.

Though it was a solid follow-up to Garcia's 2004, when he went 9-2 for Class-A Capital City in the South Atlantic League, Garcia still showed some rough edges he'll need to hone if he's to move up the prospect rankings. His 40-man roster selection appeared to be more in line with his strong potential - at least one scout has commented Garcia owns a "major league arm" - and less to do with his so-so results to date.

Originally signed by the Yankees as a non-drafted free agent in May 2001, Garcia could someday wind up being a similar pitcher to Benitez, the man he was traded for, without the lumbering body frame. Garcia has been clocked as high as 97 MPH with his fastball and compliments his repertoire with a biting slider and, as of now, a mediocre change-up.

He started the 2005 season with a bang at St. Lucie, going 1-0 with an 0.84 ERA through his first seven appearances. Garcia was promoted to Double-A after a May 30 appearance despite owning a bulky 1.53 WHIP, allowing 21 hits and nine walks in 26.2 innings pitched.

At the Double-A level, Garcia enjoyed some success, but only enough to show that the young fireballer still has room to grow. He went 4-2 with a 4.97 ERA and five saves in 30 appearances for the B-Mets, with Eastern League batters rapping him for a .299 batting average and an ugly 1.55 WHIP and allowed opponents to hit .299 against him.

He did finish the year in strong fashion, recording a victory and two saves in his final four appearances of the season.

Year

Team

W-L

SV

IP

Hits

BB

K

ERA

2005

Binghamton

4-2

5

50.2

59

20

41

4.97

2005

St. Lucie

2-2

3

26.2

21

9

20

2.70

2004

Capital City

9-2

2

84.0

92

47

75

4.71

2003

Capital City

0-1

0

12.2

10

2

12

4.26

2003

Battle Creek

3-6

0

76.0

57

36

62

3.32

2002

GCL Yankees

4-1

0

58.2

43

22

41

2.30

2001

Staten Island

0-1

0

4.2

7

1

1

5.79



Repertoire. Fastball, Slider, Changeup.

Fastball. In a lot of ways, Garcia is an Armando Benitez clone, the man he was traded for. His fastball sits in the 90-97 MPH range, giving him a plus Major League fastball. But like Benitez, Garcia's command of his fastball fails him at times. In fact, despite moving from the starting role in the Yankees' organization to a reliever with the Mets, Garcia's control has gotten worse. Still, there aren't too many pitching prospects in the Mets' farm system that can bring the fastball as hard as Garcia consistently.

Other Pitches. Garcia compliments his hard fastball with a biting slider and a developing changeup. His slider is currently his second pitch, and depending on the day, it is his only other pitch. Garcia's main problem has been the slow development of his changeup, a pitch that he throws way too hard to be a true changeup. He throws his changeup in the 87-88 MPH range, giving it more of the look of a below average fastball than a true changeup. It is the reason he tends to get hit hard at times.

Pitching. Garcia, the main part of the Armando Benitez trade, was able to dominate the lower levels of the minor leagues with his plus fastball, but has fallen on harder times at the higher minor league levels because of the slow development of his secondary pitches. His high walk totals are not a product of nibbling corner spots or not challenging hitters. They come in bunches when he's unable to locate his fastball and has zero confidence in his changeup.

Projection. It is quite apparent that Anderson Garcia's days as a starting pitching prospect are over. He has made just eight starts since coming over to the Mets and just one of them came in 2005. Garcia, with his devastating fastball, projects to be a setup guy at the Major League level. If he could improve his command and make drastic changes to his changeup, he would have an outside shot of being a closer someday. But as it stands right now, Garcia's more of a sixth and seventh inning reliever type until he can improve his all around game. His plus fastball is going to give him every opportunity to become a Major League reliever.

ETA. 2007. Garcia finished the 2005 season with the AA-Binghamton Mets. Despite the lofty 4.97 ERA, Garcia's dreadful home numbers at NYSEG Stadium (6.18 ERA) have the Mets looking at his performance this past season with a curious eye. Garcia could find himself back with the B-Mets in 2006, but New York might be tempted to see if Garcia's lackluster performance at NYSEG was more of a product of the ballpark by challenging him in AAA-Norfolk. Either way, Garcia probably needs one more minor league year of seasoning before making his way to Shea Stadium in 2007.

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