MLB contenders can look beyond the trade market and find reinforcements from their own farm system as the playoff chase heats up.
Last week’s MLB trade deadline, billed as a potential historic day of swapping given how many teams are currently in the playoff picture, ended up passing relatively quietly. With the exception of the Houston Astros pulling off a blockbuster trade for Zack Greinke and the Cleveland Indians electing to cash in their Trevor Bauer chip now and not this winter, there were very few headline-grabbing deals. Most contenders elected to hold onto their best prospects instead of chasing big trades.
Remember, though, a trade isn’t the only way a contender can get better after the trade deadline. August is the time of the season where elite prospects will begin making their way up to the big leagues. David Price came on strong at the end of the 2008 season for Tampa Bay and helped the Rays reach the World Series. More recently, Gary Sanchez nearly single-handedly propelled the New York Yankees to the playoffs in 2016, while Corey Seager gave the Los Angeles Dodgers a shot in the arm for the entire month of September.
The Dodgers have already called up top pitching prospect Dustin May to breathe fire out of their bullpen. More youngsters will soon follow to make their MLB debuts. Keep an eye on these five prospects who could all have a big impact on the 2019 playoff race.
5. Deivi Garcia
The New York Yankees were all over the starting pitching market at the trade deadline, but came away empty handed in the end. With their farm system getting thin on elite talent at the top, the Yankees were reluctant to part ways with their best prospect, right-hander Deivi Garcia. The 20-year-old has climbed the Minor League ranks very quickly and is already pitching in Triple-A.
The Yankees balked at including Garcia in any trade for a starter at the deadline, but their staff has a 6.89 ERA in 25 games since the break while yielding a .300/.348/.596 slash line. They need help however they can get it, especially with Houston and their dominant rotation looming. Brian Cashman obviously thinks highly of Garcia. A call-up to the big leagues in the middle of a pennant race might be a big ask for a 20-year-old who started the year in High-A.
In four professional seasons, Garcia is 17-19 with a 3.32 ERA in 276.2 innings with 12.8 strikeouts per-nine. He has struggled upon making the leap to Triple-A this year, but still has a ton of potential. Garcia’s best pitch is his curveball, rating a 65 on the 20-80 scale, but he has had a harder time using it at the higher levels as hitters refuse to chase out of the zone. The best use for him this season — if it comes to that — could be as an “opener” with the Yankees elite bullpen backing him up.