In the Rule V draft, teams tend to pursue potential platoon players and relievers who are at least dominant in AA or AAA. Rarely does a starting pitcher from low-A full season get selected in the Major League phase but then again, Jason Garcia is not most people.
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Coming off Tommy John surgery last year, Garcia, who touches 98 MPH with his fastball, was on rehab for most of the season and posted adequate result, but nothing special. He went 3-2 with a 3.67 ERA in 14 appearances (seven starts) for the short-season Lowell Spinners and low-A Greenville Drive, so it was kind of a surprise when he got picked. In the Red Sox organization, he likely would have started this season in high-A Salem, but now he has a shot at making a big league club.
Picked by the Houston Astros first overall in the Rule V draft this December, he was almost immediately traded to the Baltimore Orioles who wanted him all along. In a fall instructional league game, Garcia fanned 14 of the 18 Orioles hitters he faced, catching their attention with such a performance.
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So far this Spring, Garcia has taken the Orioles by storm, leaving the team with a tough choice to make at the end of Spring Training. In nine and a third innings, he has let up just one run while striking out 11—making a strong case for a spot in the bullpen.
As much as the Orioles would love to keep Garcia, they also have another Rule V draft pick they would like to keep in Logan Verrett. It would be tough for the team to keep both guys without a trade, so they might be forced to return one of the two. Verrett owns a 1.50 in 12 frames with 11 strikeouts this spring, so it really comes down to the team’s preference.
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Garcia can bring the heat and Verrett can go multiple frames, so whoever helps the team win more will stay.
It’s your move Baltimore, Boston is waiting.