Right-handed pitcher Nick Garcia who led Chapman University to a D-III National Championship in 2018, was selected in the third round of the 2020 MLB draft by the Pittsburg Pirates.
In the 2019 season the San Carlos, Calif. native was 9-0 with 12 saves and an eye-popping 0.64 earned run average. In 56 innings over 30 relief appearances, he struck out 82 whiled allowing only four earned runs. He was elected an American Baseball Coaches Association first-team All-American and the Division III National Championship All-Tournament team as well as the D-III College World Series’ most outstanding player.
Just two years ago, the 21-year-old wasn’t even a pitcher. Recruited by Chapman as a third baseman, he played in the field for most of his high school career at Junipero Serra High School. During his freshman year with the Panthers, in 2018, he played mostly third base, hitting .268 with six RBIs in 24 games. Unable to hit college curveballs, Chapman coach Scott Laverty decided to try him out o the mound. Without cany coaching and limited experience, Garcia’s fastball sat around 88-90 mph. After a few sessions with Chapman’s highly regarded pitching coach Dave Edwards, he improved to around 94-95 mph.
Armed with a three-pitch mix and a moving fastball, he shot up draft boards before COVID-19 caused an untimely season end.
Garcia played for the Orleans Firebirds of the Cape Cod Baseball League in 2019 and was a New York Collegiate Baseball League All-Star in 2018 playing for the league champion Onondaga Flames.