One player that maybe a lot of Nationals fans may not be familiar with is a teenage second baseman from New York City named Luis Garcia. He can also play shortstop, and moves up from No. 7 on last year’s Baseball America list of top Nationals prospects.
No. 6 2B/SS Luis Garcia
This is a young prospect. Look at his date of birth and it’s 2000. Even still, Baseball America has been tracking Garcia for a couple of seasons and likes what it sees.
“I actually feel pretty young in this industry having just graduated from college last year, but I look at guys that are born in 2000 and, like you said, that’s pretty crazy and makes me feel old as well,” said Baseball America national writer Carlos Collazo.
Garcia played in 49 games for the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League Nationals, racking up 199 at-bats. In those plate appearances, Baseball America was able to see his wide-ranging abilities.
“He’s a guy that does a lot of things really well. He’s got a really advanced approach in the box for how young he is,” Collazo said. “He acquitted himself really well in rookie ball this year. He hit .302 with a .330 on-base percentage. He’s got an approach that goes to all fields. He’s not getting up there and just pulling the ball. He has very quick hands and that advanced approach played really, really well.”
In those 49 games, Garcia displayed top-notch speed with 11 stolen bases and only two caught stealings.
“He is also a double-plus runner with 70 grade speed. That will help his floor play a little bit, giving him so much more leeway if the bat isn’t as much of an impact like a guy like Yasel Antuna. I don’t anticipate it to be,” Collazo said. “But right now his hit tool is above Antuna’s in my mind, although down the line I think probably they are pretty safe to project similarly.”
In its discussions with scouts and coaches, Baseball America was also taken by his defense in the infield. They believe Garcia might move around because these tools are a strength. And with all these assets possible, Collazo believes Garcia could get into that all-around prospect territory.
“Defensively, he’s got above-average arm strength,” Collazo noted. “His release has smooth action and he has soft hands, so I’d say a much better to stick at shortstop than Antuna. Really, when you look at that tool package altogether, that’s a really solid player. The only knock on him is that it is hard to project much power.”
Even with that said, Collazo’s final note on Garcia will definitely make Nats fans smile.
“But when you are looking at a guy who has a chance to be an above-average shortstop who can hit and then really be a dynamic runner on the bases that will probably lead to advance range as well, that’s a really strong player,” Collazo said.