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2020 Marlins Season Review: Yimi García

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After signing as a free agent with the Marlins, García thrived as a late-inning weapon for Don Mattingly out of the bullpen.

Miami Marlins v Atlanta Braves Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Veteran right-hander Yimi García was arguably the best reliever for the Marlins in 2020 after they signed him at a bargain price as a free agent from the Dodgers. Keep reading below to get a full glimpse of his campaign.

García’s MLB career stats | Baseball-Reference

García was one of the veteran relievers added by the Marlins before and during the regular season. After being non-tendered by the Dodgers, he reunited with Don Mattingly—who managed him in 2014-2015—and was exceptional for the Fish out of the bullpen. He was unhittable, he struck out more opponents than ever before, and fixed his problems with the long ball.

The 30-year-old Dominican made 14 appearances working mostly in the late innings. He threw 15 innings of nine-hit, one-run ball, didn’t allow any home run, gave up only five base on balls, and fired 19 strikeouts. Plus, he won three games, didn’t lose, saved one, accumulated four holds, and recorded a 0.60 ERA.

García, who only made $407,407 (adjusted salary) in 2020, led all Marlins relievers (15 innings minimum) in K/9 (11.40), HR/9 (0.00), ERA, FIP (1.66), WAR (0.6), batting average against (.164), and WHIP (0.93). After allowing his lone earned run of the season, on September 11, he cruised through the next 5 13 scoreless frames.

In the postseason, Yimi got into trouble in only one of his four appearances. In Game 1 of the NLDS against the Braves, he was brought in from the ‘pen and couldn’t hold Atlanta’s hitters. But besides that performance, he had three other appearances where he didn’t allow a run.

Additional Stats

  • García got 15 of his 19 strikeouts thanks to his fastball. Opponents only registered four hits off that pitch and averaged for a poor .125.
  • One of the reasons García didn’t serve up any home runs is that his ground ball rate, 47.2%, increased dramatically from 2019’s 30.4%.
  • The righty was an impossible matchup for right-handed hitters: .125/.200/.125 across 35 plate appearances.
  • He was lights out in high-leverage situations, as he only allowed one single in 16 at-bats with seven strikeouts (.063/.118/.063).

2021 Outlook

García is owed a slight raise for 2021 as an arbitration eligible player, but it is unthinkable that the Marlins would non-tender such an important piece. Expect him back for a second season in Miami (unless the front office gets overwhelmed with a great trade offer).

Despite having only two career saves (with one of those coming in 2020), I wouldn’t be shocked if the Marlins consider García for the closer’s slot next year. There is still a question of whether they will exercise Brandon Kintzler’s club option for 2021 ($4M salary with a $250k buyout).

It’ll be interesting to see if Yimi can prove his homer problems are gone during a 162-game season. That would make him an ideal late-inning option for the Fish on their mission to return to the MLB postseason.