Phillies prospect Elinery Garcia off to strong start in Arizona Fall League

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CLEARWATER, FL - MARCH 12: The Phillie Phanatic rides a young fan around on a 4 wheeler before a spring training game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Boston Red Sox at Spectrum Field on March 12, 2017 in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)
CLEARWATER, FL - MARCH 12: The Phillie Phanatic rides a young fan around on a 4 wheeler before a spring training game between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Boston Red Sox at Spectrum Field on March 12, 2017 in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Justin K. Aller/Getty Images) /
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After missing most of this season due to a suspension, Phillies prospect Elniery Garcia is off to a strong start in the Arizona Fall League.

2017 was a year to forget for Phillies prospect Elniery Garcia. After being added to the 40-man roster during the offseason, the lefty was suspended for 80 games due to PEDs, missing almost the entire regular minor-league season. A year that could’ve been his breakout went for naught.

Since Garcia logged just 30.2 innings of in-game action this year, he was assigned to the Arizona Fall League to get some extra time on the mound.

So far, Garcia has been pitching quite well in the AFL. Through two starts, he has thrown seven innings, giving up just five hits and one walk while striking out eight batters. In his last start against the Mesa Solar Sox, he gave up just one hit in four innings with five strikeouts to boot.

Three of Garcia’s five strikeouts came on his curveball while he recorded one each with his fastball and changeup. His curveball is easily his best secondary pitch, so it makes sense that he recorded so many strikeouts with it.

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Garcia told Jim Callis of MLB.com that he really liked how his curve was working:

"“I was working on my breaking ball to strike out guys,” Garcia said via translator Argenis Angulo, an Indians right-hander. “It was working really, really good to get guys out.”"

After making just five starts in Double-A this year, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him start next year in Reading.

However, a strong showing in Arizona may prompt the team to be aggressive with him and promote him to Triple-A Lehigh Valley.

Next: Phillies: How did 2017 compare to 2016?

Meanwhile, Philadelphia’s 2015 first-round pick, Cornelius Randolph, is struggling heavily in the AFL. He has just one hit through his first 17 at-bats, good for a .059 batting average. This year in the Florida State League Randolph hit just .250. He is facing a higher level of pitching, but the lack of production is concerning.

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