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2020 Marlins Season Preview: Yimi García

The Dominican had a solid 2019 season as a Dodger, though he needs to keep the ball in the park to shine as a late-inning weapon for the Fish.

MLB: Spring Training-Miami Marlins at Houston Astros Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

The annual tradition has returned. Leading up to Opening Day, Fish Stripes will be previewing the 2020 Marlins season, one player at a time. Find every article of the series here.


Where Did He Come From? The Marlins signed RHP Yimi García to a major league contract, on December 20. He is guaranteed $1.1MM in 2020.

2019 Performance

3.61 ERA | 5.19 FIP | 4.90 xFIP | 0.87 WHIP | -0.3 fWAR | 62.1 IP

You won’t hear the name Yimi García said in the same breath as dominant closers like Josh Hader or Aroldis Chapman, but believe me: García can get the job done. Even though advanced stats don’t show love for him, he had another good year for the Dodgers in 2019...depending on which side of the coin you look.

On one hand, the Dominican was good enough for a 0.86 WHIP, 5.8 H/9, 2.0 BB/9, and 9.5 K/9. Opponents posted a weak .178 batting average against him, the seventh-best mark among MLB pitchers with at least 60 innings:

Baseball-Reference

But on the other hand, he was very volatile. Last year, his high FIP (5.19) was due almost entirely to the bunch of homers Yimi allowed. In fact, among all MLB relievers with a minimum of 80 frames since 2018, he ranks second to last with a 2.34 HR/9 ratio:

Baseball-Reference

To understand how badly the long ball hurt the righty during the last campaign, consider that 64% of his earned runs allowed were scored via the home run (16 of his 25 earned runs). Across Major League Baseball overall, that rate is only around 50%.

García did end the season in fashion—he registered a 2.53 ERA across his last 10 23 frames, along with seven hits, two bases on balls, 14 strikeouts, and only one ball out of the park before becoming a free agent.

2020 Expectations

So far, so good for García with the Marlins in spring training. He’s been lights out. On Tuesday, he got the save against the Pirates, thanks to a perfect frame. In six games thus far, Yimi has one walk and eight punchouts without allowing any hits.

The nagging question is whether García can figure out how to limit homers, especially now that Marlins Park changed its dimensions for this season. The center field fence was brought in to 400 feet from home plate (it was 407 ft. before); right-center is now marked 387, instead of 392. Eleven of the 15 home runs allowed by García in his last season as a Dodger were hit to either center field or right field.

Based on what we’ve seen in spring training, he’s in midseason form. Yimi could end up being a great asset from the Marlins front office, a good late-inning guy at a very affordable price. Should he fix his long ball problems, those advanced stats like FIP or WAR will certainly go down.

Perhaps the Marlins will get overwhelmed by a trade offer during the summer and flip García to a contender, but there’s no urgency—he has one more year of arbitration eligibility remaining in 2021.

2020 Steamer projection

4.49 ERA | 4.54 FIP | 4.93 xFIP | 1.28 WHIP | 0.1 fWAR | 55.0 IP