WASHINGTON, Pa. (March 27) – As the season draws closer, the Wild Things are continuing to shape the roster for the 2018 campaign, as today the team announced it has signed right-handed pitcher Danny Garmendia to a deal for 2018. Garmendia comes the Wild Things’ way after his release from the Kansas City Royals organization. His time with the Royals came after a successful season at NAIA-power Keiser University in 2017.
Tony Buccilli, assistant general manager of team operations for the Wild Things, said he recognized Garmendia as a target very quickly, and said he believes Garmendia has the ability to be very successful in Washington.
“He played at a very high level with the Royals last season after shouldering 100+ innings in college. A lot of teams were pursuing Danny to remain a reliever but we jointly discussed flipping him back to a starter and I believe that separated us as a landing spot,” said Buccilli. “I certainly appreciate Danny’s enthusiasm to join our organization and am encouraged by his demeanor. We know he plans to work hard to prove himself.”
Garmendia joins a Wild Things’ staff that now has 14 pitchers on it as it stands, all of which will compete for spots either in the rotation or in the bullpen in a few short weeks leading up to the opener May 11 in Evansville.
“I’m blessed for the team giving me the opportunity to keep playing this game, and am excited to be a part of a great team,” said Garmendia. “I hope I can benefit us on the field and give it all I got everyday.”
The South Miami High School grad pitched two seasons at Eastern Florida State College before heading to Keiser University for the 2017 season. Keiser plays in the NAIA Sun Conference, and made the NAIA World Series last season. Garmendia was a big reason for the success, as he was awarded Pitcher of the Year laurels in the Sun Conference, and was named an NAIA All-American.
Garmendia was 10-3 with a 2.48 earned run average as a starter for the Seahawks. He made 17 appearances (16 starts) and tossed five complete games. In 108.2 innings of work, the right hander allowed just 77 hits and walked 30, while striking out 96 opposing batters, who only hit .196 against him in 2017.
“I have been known as a power pitcher. I like going right after hitters. [You] can’t show them any weaknesses or they won before they even get in the box,” said Garmendia. “I give it all I have every time I step out on the mound and I hope the ball club and fans like the way I pitched.”
After his junior season at Keiser, he signed with the Kansas City Royals organization, becoming the second Keiser player ever to sign with a pro team. Garmendia pitched for two rookie-ball teams in the Royals farm system and totaled 23.2 innings of work. He recorded 27 strikeouts, allowed 12 hits, walked seven and had a 3.04 ERA. The role was an adjustment for the Miami Lakes, Florida, native, but an experience he said is thankful for.
“I had a great experience with the Royals. [I also] made a lot of friends with my teammates and the coaching staffs. I was blessed [they] gave me the opportunity to play and wear their uniform on the field,” said Garmendia. “I was a starter in college and when I signed with the Royals they moved me into the bullpen [which] was really the only adjustment I had to make. I had to learn the bullpen role and plan out my days, ready to be called in at any moment.”
He expects to return to the starting role in 2018 with the Wild Things, and said he knows the process will require him to work hard and compete to succeed. In the end, he said he wants to have a great year, but also help the ball club win.
“My main focus is to help our team win a championship,” he added.