The New York Yankees signed right-handed pitcher Rony Garcia on July 2, 2015 as an international free agent out of Santo Domingo Oeste, Dominican Republic.
Garcia made his professional debut on June 8, 2016 in a Dominican Summer League game against the DSL Angels. The right-hander threw 4 2/3 innings that game coming in with one-out in the first inning. He was touched for four runs, three earned, on nine hits that game but did not walk anyone and struck out six batters.
After that game, he would go on to make eight starts for the DSL Yankees, earning a 1.41 ERA in 38 1/3 innings and limiting opposing batters to a .178 ERA while walking nine batters and striking out 33. The success he attained earned him a promotion to the Gulf Coast League Yankees where he got his first taste of playing in the United States.
On August 3, 2016, Garcia made his debut in the Gulf Coast League playing against his fellow Yankees prospects playing on the GCL Yankees West team. He threw five 1/3 shutout innings allowing just three hits and striking out five batters that game and earning the win. His shutout streak continued in his second appearance for the GCL Yankees East when he threw five one-hit innings against the GCL Tigers where he struck out three batters.
On August 17, 2016, his shutout streak ended when he was touched for five runs, four earned in six 2/3 innings of work against the GCL Phillies. He took the loss the game and struck out just two, walked two and eight hits. Overall the right-hander pitched to a 2-2 record in the Gulf Coast League with a 2.89 ERA in five games, four starts, striking out 17 batters in 28 innings.
Combined Garcia had a 3-5 record in 2016 with a 2.28 ERA in 14 games, 12 starts and struck out 56 batters in 71 innings. Opposing batters hit just .219 against him.
Garcia opened up the 2017 campaign back in extended spring training, further working on his pitching before the short-season leagues began in June. Once June came he was assigned to the Pulaski Yankees of the Appalachian League. In the Appy League, he started just two games for Pulaski, allowing five earned runs in 11 1/3 innings. He struck out 11 batters while walking just two.
After being promoted to the South Atlantic League, Garcia would appear in another 11 games for the Charleston RiverDogs. With Charleston he was 2-3 with a 2.24 ERA and 45 strikeouts in 64 1/3 innings. Opposing batters in the SAL hit just .218 against him.
At 6-foot 3-inches tall and 200 pounds, Rony Garcia has the prototypical pitchers build and can be compared favorably to current Yankees starter Luis Severino. His repertoire consists of a plus fastball that can sit around 93 miles per hour and can top out at 96 MPH as well as an above-average curveball and changeup that is still developing. He goes right after hitters, not backing down and attacks the strike zone so he limits his walks.
We expect to see Rony Garcia returning to the Charleston RiverDogs to open the 2018 season. If he continues to develop as he has we would not rule out ending the season with the Tampa Yankees but that also depends on how the pitchers ahead of him develop.