Luis J. Garcia
Garcia was one of the top J2 prospects on the market in the 2017-2018 International Signing Period, coming to terms with Philadelphia for a robust $2.5M bonus. The Phillies skipped him over the DSL entirely, holding Garcia back in Extended Spring Training before making his pro debut in the GCL this summer. He showed the mix of polish and instincts that made him such a coveted amateur prospect, dominating the circuit with a .369/.433/.488 slash line as a 17-year-old. That performance left the Florida backfields buzzing, and I was impressed with what I saw during my first looks at Garcia during Instructional League.
At 5-foot-11 and 170 pounds, Garcia’s shorter frame is extremely athletic and twitchy. His actions on both sides of the ball are coordinated, showing great core flexibility and body control. The switch-hitter makes a ton of contact because of quick wrists and a very compact swing. Garcia is slightly more advanced from the left-hand side with better batspeed and hip torque, though he’s plenty good as a righty and projects to hit for average from both sides of the plate. His pitch ID and ability to control the strike zone are very polished for a teenage hitter, as evidenced by a solid eight-percent walk rate versus just 11-percent strikeouts in his professional debut. Garcia is a “hit over power” type—and likely always will be—but despite limited present raw power and lift in his swing, the batspeed is here to grow into more ability to drive the baseball as he gets older.
Defensively, he’s a no-doubt shortstop with the body type, range, and playmaking to remain at the position. He has soft hands and an incredibly quick transfer that still can rear back and fire bullets across the infield with plus strength and carry. A plus runner who projects to hold his speed even with strength gains, Garcia puts pressure on the defense up the line and will be a stolen base threat as he climbs the ladder.
Garcia just turned 18-years-old at the start of October but looks ready to tackle Class A to begin next season. His athleticism, youth, and well-rounded toolset combine to form a dynamic prospect who emerged as one of the best players at the complex level this summer. The ceiling is at least that of an above-average regular with a plus hit tool and defense at shortstop. He will be an all-star if there are any gains in the power department.