For the most part, those on the Baseball America top 10 Nationals prospects list have played at least one season in the organization. However, No. 7 prospect Luis Garcia is starting his first season with the Nationals after signing as an international free agent in July.
This Garcia is a 16-year-old shortstop out of the Dominican Republic, and not the pitcher of the same name in the Phillies organization. The Nationals signed him for $1.3 million.
No. 7: SS Luis Garcia
“He was ranked our No. 3 ranked prospect in the international class,” said Baseball America’s Teddy Cahill. “He isn’t the biggest bonus from the Nationals’ signing class this year. (Dominican shortstop) Yasel Antuna got more money than he did. But we had Garcia ranked ahead of him and ahead of Jose Sanchez. He’s a guy that’s really advanced for his age.
“Obviously, we are talking about 16-year-olds, so he’s very far away. He has a good feel at the plate. He understands hitting at an advanced level and he’s just really athletic and he is a plus runner. He’s got the arm strength. He needs some work defensively, but again he’s 16. But you are looking at a guy with the skill set to play shortstop.”
Cahill noted that Garcia is so athletic that he could slot into several positions defensively because the Nats might want to get his bat in the lineup, similar to the Trea Turner’s move to center field last season after being a shortstop for his entire career.
“Some people think he could maybe move off of shortstop, maybe going to center field or second base, with an up-the-middle profile,” Cahill continued. “He has the advanced feel for hitting that should be able to carry him. His father was a big leaguer (one season with the Tigers), which is probably why he is a little more advanced. But when you look at him, he’s got a lot of exciting tools for the Nats to help develop over the next few years.”
Alongside Antuna, it’s easy to see how the Nationals are looking to bulk up their middle infield talent level.