Down on the Farm: Garcia Pitching his Way Onto Big League Radar

© Allan Henry-USA TODAY Sports

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Rico Garcia could be easily overlooked.

He, however, won't let it happen.

He's 5-foot-11, a height for a right-handed pitcher that can create concern about arm action. He was a college draft -- in the 30th round of 2016 -- out of Hawaii Pacific, a school of slightly less than 5,000 enrolled students that plays at a Division II level.

He spent the bulk of his first two seasons in pro ball at short-season Class A Boise, other than making eight appearances, four starts, and pitching 28 innings at Low-A Asheville in the final weeks of the 2017 season.

He, however, is no longer just a player filling out a roster.

After opening 2018 at High-A Lancaster, and finishing it at Double A Hartford, he was selected a post-season Cal League All-Star. He was a combined 13-9 with a 2.96 ERA and 162 strikeouts in 167 innings at the two levels.

For an encore? He's back at Hartford to start this season, but is pushing for a move to Triple-A. Garcia is 4-0 with a 1.69 ERA for Hartford. In seven starts, he has allowed three runs once, one run four times, and no runs twice. He has allowed 35 baserunners (21 hits and 14 walks) while striking out 50 in 37 1/3 innings.

Baseball America ranked him the 22nd best prospect in the Rockies organization during the off-season, and in discussing his future, wrote:

"Garcia is coming in a hurry, but only after he got the chance. In two full seasons he already put togehter an impressive effort at Double-A. Area scout Matt Hattabaugh deserves credit for staying with Garcia, even though he was at a smaller school in Hawaii."

OFFICIAL WORD is No. 1 ranked prospect Brendan Rodgers is fine after being hit in the helmet by a pitch in his second plate appearance on Saturday night in El Paso. Rodgers, who is with Triple-A Albuquerque, was held out of the lineup on Sunday, however, at Fresno.

IN SUNDAY'S GAMES

AAA Albuquerque (20-18) lost 3-0 at Fresno. The Isotopes struck out 16 times, two shy of the franchise's record for a nine-inning game. Brian Mundell (.351) was 2-for-4. Elliott Soto (.329) and Dom Nunez (.290) were both 1-for-3 with a double. Chi Chi Gonzalez (2-3, 7.71) allowed three runs, two earned, on three hits and three walks, striking out two in five innings.

AA Hartford (19-17) was rained out of its game against Harrisburg (Nationals).

High-A Lancaster (21-16) lost 6-4 at Modesto (Mariners), snapping a five-game winning streak. Will Gaddis (1-4, 8.22) allowed six runs on nine hits and struck out four in six innings. Sean Bouchard (.268) delivered a sacrifice fly in the second inning, and his fourth home run of the season in the fourth. Carlos Herrera (.274) was 1-for-4 with an RBI, extending his hitting streak to 13 games.

Low-A Asheville (13-22) won 4-2 against Greenville (Braves). Ryan Feltner (2-3, 4.46) allowed one run on five hits and a walk, striking out six in six innings. Alexander Martinez (2.51) allowed one hit in 1 1/3 innings, striking out three. Luke Morgan (.320) was 2-for-3 with a run scored and RBI. Riley Pint (16.20) pitched a 1-2-3 seventh inning, throwing eight pitches, six for strikes.

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