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 last summer. After dominating Rookie-level competition in 2018 (.369/.433/.488 as a 17-year-old), Philadelphia challenged Garcia with an assignment straight to full-season ball to begin this year. Like many teenagers in the South Atlantic League, he’s struggling through his first April against much older competition. That said, Garcia showed all the tools that caught my eye last fall during Instructional League, and he seems more than capable of figuring it with continued reps at the level.
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 2018 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. The ball jumps off his barrel during BP with projectable carry to both gaps.
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 will only be 18-years-old for the entirety of the season. His athleticism, youth, and well-rounded toolset combine to form a dynamic prospect who we (somewhat aggressively) placed on our Top 125 going into this season, checking in at #117. 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.