In fewer than two weeks, pitchers and catchers will be warming up in Sarasota, Fla.
Right-hander Jason Garcia will be one of them. He almost certainly won’t make the 25-man roster out of camp, like he did when he was a Rule 5 pick in 2015,
But Garcia’s a guy to keep an eye on for 2017 – because of his talent, experience and versatility.
And because of his youth.
Garcia, who turned 24 in November, is the second youngest pitcher on the Orioles’ 40-man roster, one day older than Jayson Aquino and about a week younger than Dylan Bundy.
Garcia spent most of the season as an Oriole in 2015, with manager Buck Showalter trying to pick his spots to get the rookie some experience. Garcia appeared in 21 games, all in relief, with a 4.25 ERA while walking 17 and striking out 22 in 29 2/3 innings.
In 2016, he was sent to Double-A Bowie with mixed results. He had some good games, especially toward the end of the season, when he posted a 2.64 ERA in six August starts. But he also struggled with his command at times, going 6-10 with a 4.73 ERA in 24 starts with the Baysox. He struck out 74 batters and walked 54 in 123 2/3 innings.
He was called up to the majors in 2016 as an emergency fill-in, but wasn’t needed and went back to Bowie.
Adam Pohl, the voice of the Baysox, saw all of Garcia’s starts last year. And, in this segment of our “Minor League Podcast,” Garcia tells Pohl what he thinks went right and why he believes he’ll build on those things in 2017, whether it’s in the minors or the majors, as a reliever or a starter.
In preparation for this season, Garcia has been working out with Orioles’ vice president Brady Anderson in California. Garcia gives a little glimpse into those workouts (which he’s been doing with another 24-year-old pitching prospect, Chris Lee).
It was also an exceptionally impactful offseason for Garcia, who became a father for the first time. He talks with Pohl about that – and about how he’s actually missing changing diapers.
Definitely some good stuff here from a pitcher who could see time in the majors in 2017. So, give it a listen.