The Reds spent a hefty $10 million after taxes on the 20-year old Cuban shortstop this offseason, a major investment as part of Cincinnati spending spree in the 2016-17 international signing period. Garcia emerged as prospect playing U17 and U18 international ball for Team Cuba and has opened his first professional campaign in Low-A Dayton, where I saw him May 18-20.
Garcia’s projectible, athletic frame stands out immediately. He’s tall and thin with the build to carry at least 10 more pounds without losing a step. His standout tools feature at shortstop where he made plays in the hole and up the middle with steady feet, a solid game clock, and hard, accurate throws. He grades as a FV 60 glove and 60 arm at SS (and I wouldn’t scoff if you put a 70 on the latter). Garcia is an above-average athlete but only an average runner, his best home to first time at 4.31. Garcia was overmatched at the plate, with little feel for spin and an urgency to swing at any fastball near the zone. He does fine laying off early count spin, but behind in the count, he both expands and swings through middling A-ball junk. At present he lacks strength and the contact he does produce is weak. He will get stronger, but I don’t see a game swing geared to power, grading out to future 50 raw but only 40 game power given the state of the hit tool and infrequency which I anticipate he’s in hitters counts.
The leap from international teenage amateur to full-season pro ball is massive. Garcia’s body and athleticism give him a high ceiling; there are ingredients here and he’s an easy 60 at the six. That said, I project Garcia for a 30 hit tool, the result of a long swing and poor contact ability. There is certainly upside in the body and floor on the defensive side, but realistically he projects to a glove-first utility infielder future role with below average offensive value.