Like Soto, Garcia demonstrated hitting and fielding abilities as a teenager

Luis Garcia can defend at shortstop, second base and third base. The 18-year-old played 78 games for low Single-A Hagerstown and 49 games for high Single-A Potomac, and made a name for himself with his hitting ability, as the Nats No. 3 prospect.

Garcia made great strides with his work at high Single-A at such a young age, demonstrating batter’s box awareness and patience similar to what we have seen from Juan Soto in his introduction to the major leagues.

Carter Kieboom and Garcia have been named in the same sentence as rising stars in the Nationals’ infield talent base, especially since their dual invite to the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game last summer at Nats Park.

P-Nats manager Tripp Keister believes Garcia is not far away from being an impact player in the major leagues.

“He can play different positions and he can hit, too,” Keister said. “He can hit. He’s going to be offensive for this team. He comes to play. He’s off the charts (in) baseball IQ.”

The Nationals appear to have a clearer avenue to the majors at second base, even with the presence of veteran Brian Dozier and Kieboom. But Garcia said at Nationals Winterfest back in December that he is willing to play any spot on the infield if it means he gets a shot at playing in the big leagues.

Luis-Garcia-Futures-Game-sidebar.jpg“Yes, I do (feel comfortable at second base),” Garcia said via interpreter Melissa Strozza. “This is a business and you never know where they’re going to need you. So you go in there prepped to be ready to go wherever they’re going to put you.

“I feel really good at second base. Right after I signed, playing at the Rookie-level (Gulf Coast League), I was there a lot. So I really feel comfortable at that position. I think the one thing I really had to work on was my angles with my arm when I’m throwing. That’s where I felt the most difference between second and being at shortstop.”

Garcia said he was excited to see Soto make the huge splash he made with the Nats and is motivated to follow in his footsteps in the next few seasons.

“Of course, there are possibilities that run through your head and after it happened for Juan, I thought I’m going to be the next one,” Garcia said.

Back then, with February so far away, Garcia said he had two main goals he wanted to focus on when spring training arrived.

“My goals stay the same always,” Garcia said. “It’s really to be healthy and physically be there, to stay healthy is really key with this. I would like to maybe add a little bit more strength.”

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