Marlins to get closer look at Garcia at camp

Left-handed pitching prospect could see big league action in 2016

Marlins to get closer look at Garcia at camp

MIAMI -- One of the quieter offseason moves for the Marlins came on Nov. 20, when Jarlin Garcia was added to the 40-man roster after having his contract selected from Double-A Jacksonville.

In the short term, the under-the-radar transaction won't likely impact the big league roster. But down the road there is significance, because it means the organization's top left-handed pitching prospect is getting closer to being MLB ready.

Spring Training for Miami gets underway on Feb. 19, with the first pitchers and catchers workouts at the Roger Dean Stadium complex in Jupiter, Fla.

For Garcia, it will be his first taste of big league experience. The 23-year-old lefty, ranked as Miami's No. 2 prospect by MLBPipeline.com, will get a close look from the entire organization, but particularly pitching coach Juan Nieves and vice president of pitching development Jim Benedict.

"We're just looking forward to Jarlin getting acclimated to the big league environment," Marlins president of baseball operations Michael Hill said. "This will be his first big league camp. So he will probably be a little overwhelmed and excited.

"He's an exciting young left-handed pitcher who throws a low-to-mid-90s fastball, and has a power curveball. He's a good athlete."

Homegrown, Garcia was an international signing out of the Dominican Republic in 2010. He opened '15 with Class A Advanced Jupiter and finished up the season making seven starts at Jacksonville. The lefty also represented the Marlins at the Futures Game in Cincinnati.

Garcia projects as a starter, but he could fit as a bullpen option -- perhaps later this year -- at the big league level. In 2015, he combined for a 3.57 ERA in 25 starts and struck out 104 in 133 2/3 innings.

Most likely he will open the year at Jacksonville, and from there, how far and how fast he progresses is up to him. If he meets expectations, he could get the call to Triple-A New Orleans, or even perhaps the big leagues, depending on need.

"He's one of our top pitching prospects," Hill said. "We look forward to getting him into camp and working with Juan [Nieves] and Benny [Benedict], and allow him to continue to take those steps to become a productive Major Leaguer."

How big league battles turn out will determine the Marlins' layers of pitching depth at the upper Minor League levels. If lefties Justin Nicolino and Adam Conley and right-hander Jose Urena don't make Miami's Opening Day roster, they will start off at New Orleans. All three have big league experience.

Garcia is at the top of the next wave of candidates progressing toward the big leagues.

"That was part of the desire to add depth so we don't have to rush these guys," Hill said.

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. He writes a blog, called The Fish Pond. Follow him on Twitter @JoeFrisaro and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.