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Rico Garcia was fast-tracked to the majors, it didn’t go well

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Garcia pitched lights out in Hartford, but struggled in Albuquerque and was promoted anyway due to injuries

Welcome to the 2019 edition of Ranking the Rockies, where we take a look back every player to log playing time for the Rockies in 2019. The purpose of this list is to provide a snapshot of the player in context. The “Ranking” is an organizing principle that’s drawn from Baseball Reference’s WAR (rWAR). It’s not something the staff debated. We’ll begin with the player with the lowest rWAR and end up with the player with the highest.

★ ★ ★

No. 33, Rico Garcia (-0.2 rWAR)

Rico Garcia started the year with the Double-A Hartford Yard Goats and pitched outstanding — posting a 1.85 ERA and a 0.94 WHIP in 13 starts with the Yard Goats. That led to his promotion to Albuquerque at the end of June, where he hit some major roadblocks. Yes it’s the PCL vs. a more pitcher friendly Eastern League, but his stats absolutely ballooned — 6.90 ERA and 1.71 WHIP in the same number of starts. Yikes.

However, despite his struggles, Garcia caught the eye of the major league brass and made his major league debut against the Red Sox at Coors Field on August 27.

It did not go well — 5.0 IP, 7 H, 6 ER, 3 HR, 5 BB, 2 K. That was his only start in the majors. He did make an appearance out of the bullpen on September 17 against the Mets that was better, but not that much better — 1.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER. That was the only other time Rico took the mound for the Rockies.

The promotion was mostly due to injuries to the entire starting rotation, but it was still a surprisingly fast-track, particularly with his struggles in Albuquerque. However, it was a good learning opportunity and hopefully Rico will be able to take the lessons he learned at the upper levels and pitch his way back in 2020.