For Toronto Blue Jays’ reliever Yimi García, the 2023 season began as a nightmare for the nine-year MLB veteran. After becoming the long-awaited ideal setup man for Jordan Romano last year in 2022, García was hoping to continue his success in the role this year with the Jays as well.
However, García was anything but reliable in his first two months of the season. In fact, he was almost a complete disaster as he was one of the worst performing bullpen arms for the Jays during that stretch. In doing so, he drew the ire of the fanbase, with many fearing the moment whenever he entered a ballgame, something horrible was going to happen. It had gotten so bad that we had even speculated his days with the ballclub may be numbered.
But García has proven once again that patience is the key, similar to the turnaround that happened for Trevor Richards this year as well. Since the beginning of June, believe or not, García has been the Blue Jays best reliever not named Tim Mayza, as he has outperformed even bullpen stalwarts Erik Swanson and Jordan Romano.
Prior to June 1st
After June 1st
If we take a look even more recently for the month of July, García has literally been unhittable, putting up a zero ERA, 0.75 WHIP, .174 opponents batting average, with eight strikeouts in 6.2 innings pitched.
Going into more advanced stats metrics according to Baseball Savant, García is now back in the 85th percentile for average exit velocity and 76th percentile for hard hit % and 76th percentile in barrel %, which has been drastic huge improvements from when he was hit hard earlier in the year, so he is definitely rounding into form now.
For all the harsh criticism he received earlier in the year, he definitely deserves some more credit now in helping the Jays in their recent winning ways. In addition, with his reversion to the 2022 version of Yimi, the Jays may not need to look for as much bullpen help at the trade deadline than needed, as García, together with Romano, Swanson, Richards, Mayza, Nate Pearson have formed one of the league’s best bullpen in terms of durability and reliability, as they look to propel the Jays to a postseason berth by the end of the season.
So seeing both Richards and now García having such drastic turnarounds in-season, it certainly gives us much more hope in that the same can happen to other struggling Jays pitchers this year in Adam Cimber, Zach Pop, and Alek Manoah, as patience is a virtue, along with being the key to success.