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The Season That Was: Yimi García

A look at García’s 2023 season.

Toronto Blue Jays Vs Tampa Bay Rays Rick Madonik/Toronto Star via Getty Images

There are 6 or 7 more of these I want to do.

The Blue Jays signed Yimi García in November of 2021.

It was a rather complicated contract:

  • $1M signing bonus
  • In 2022 $4M
  • In 2023 $5M
  • For 2024, there is a vesting/club option. It vests at $6 million if he throws 110 total innings or 110 total games from the 2022 and 2023 seasons. Or 60 innings or games in 2023
  • If he didn’t make that mark, it’s a $5M club option, $1M buyout, and 250k bonuses for each of 50, 55, or 60 innings pitched.

Yimi cleared the vesting option easily, so he’ll be back next year, barring a trade.

But then we aren’t talking about next year. We are talking about this past season:

Standard Pitching
32 3 4 4.09 73 16 3 66.0 67 35 30 8 15 1 79 6 0 0 282 104 3.39
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 11/30/2023.

Baseball Reference has him at a -0.1 WAR (0.6 last year). Fangraphs 1.0 (0.9 last year), giving him a value of $8.2 million to the Jays.

Yimi had a .339 BABIP (up from .258 last year). 69.0% of baserunners were left on base (70.5% last year).

García’s FIP was 3.39, and xFIP 3.14, which is why his fWAR was so much better than his bWAR.

His line drive rate was 24.7% (way up from 14.2 last year). Ground ball 45.5% (up from 39.6 last year). Fly ball rate is 29.8% (way down from 46.2 last year). And 15.1% of his fly balls left the part (last year, it was 7.7).

Yimi’s strikeout rate was 28.0% (down from 23.5), and his walk rate was 5.3% (down from last year’s 6.5%).

His soft contact rate was 19.8% (down from 21.3), and hard contact was 29.7% (up from 24.3).

García was better vs. left-handed batters (.237/.321/.366) than right-handed batters (.274/.312/.427).

He was much better at home (2.65, batters hit .218/.285/.331) than on the road (5.63, .301/.345/.474).

And he was better in the second half (3.38, batters hit .232/.288/.389) than in the first half (4.66, .282/.335/.416).

García by month:

  • April: 1-0, 6 holds, 6.08 ERA in 13 games. Batters hit .235/.278/.471 with 3 home runs in 13.1 innings.
  • May: 0-2, 1 hold, 6.35 ERA in 13 games. Batters hit .340/.431/.440 with 1 home run in 11.1 innings.
  • June: 1-1, 1 hold, 2.16 ERA in 9 games. Batters hit .351/.351/.432 with 1 home run in 8.1 innings
  • July: 1-1, 3 saves, 2 holds, 2.25 ERA in 14 games. Batters hit .209/.244/.349 with 1 home run in 12 innings.
  • August 0-0, 4 holds 0.90 ERA in 11 games. Batters hit .152/.263/.182 with no home runs in 10 innings.
  • September: 0-0, 5 holds, 5.73 ERA in 13 games. Batters hit .256/.298/.488 with 2 home runs in 11 innings.

Relievers, because of the low number of innings they pitch, have huge swings in numbers over a season. April and May weren’t good. The rest of the season was good.

Yimi had one outing with more than 2 runs allowed. 8 outings with 2 runs allowed. 10 outings with 1 run allowed. And 54 outings with 0 runs allowed.

The Jays were 40-33 in games that he appeared in.

Days of rest:

  • 0 days: 7.20 ERA in 17 games.
  • 1 day: 3.00 ERA in 23 games.
  • 2 days: 3.18 ERA in 17 games.
  • 3 days: 2.84 ERA in 9 games.
  • 4 days: 0.00 ERA in 2 games.
  • 5 days: 2.45 ERA in 4 games.
  • 6+ days: 18.00 in 1 game.

García had 19 holds and 4 blown saves.

Yimi averaged 95.9 mph on his fastball, which was one mph faster than last year.

Relievers throw so few innings that there is a lot of volatility in their numbers. García had a blown save (and a win) in our first game of the season, and, of course, first impressions go a long way. But after the first month, he was pretty decent. Unfortunately, when you start off poorly, it takes fans a long time to notice when you are doing ok again.

Being better against LHB isn’t the usual for him. Career he has a .707 OPS vs. LHB and .650 vs. RHB. And last year, he was much better vs. RHB (.560 OPS) than LHB (.708).

He had a lot more line drives hit off him this year.

And, like most relievers, he didn’t do well in the second of back-to-back games.

García was third on the team in holds, behind Swanson and Mayza, which pretty much shows where he fit in the setup man ladder (at least until Jordan Hicks joined the team).

Before the season, we asked:

  • If the over/under on Garcia’s innings pitched is 65 I’d take the: 37% of us were right, picking the over. He was only over by one inning.
  • If the over/under on his ERA is 3.75, I’d take the: 15% were right saying over. 4.09 wasn’t a lot over.
  • If the over/under on holds is 20, I’d take the: 43% were right picking the under. He was under by just one.

We were close on the over/unders for Yimi, he had much the season we expected.