|Luis Garcia, image- Jay Floyd|
Despite a down season in 2019, Phillies infield prospect Luis Garcia is still one of the organization's most promising prospects.
After the team signed Garcia for a reported $2.5 million (second highest international signing in Phils history) in July of 2017, Garcia participated in the Florida Instructional League as a 16-year-old later that year.
The Dominican Republic native would make his official professional debut in 2018. In the short-season Rookie level Gulf Coast League, Garcia was tops in batting average with a .369 mark. Additionally, he posted a .433 on-base percentage with an impressive .921 OPS.
The five-foot-11 170-pounder was named to the GCL’s post-season All-Star roster and was rated by Baseball America as the best prospect in the GCL at the time he played there.
Last year Garcia would play the entire season with Class A Lakewood at the age of 18. There, he would struggle considerably at the plate. In 127 games he tallied a .186 batting average with 14 doubles, three triples, four home runs and 36 RBI.
Defensively, Garcia possesses an accurate, plus arm and quick feet. A smooth fielder, he was tasked with playing both middle infield spots last season with the BlueClaws. His fielding percentages at the positions (.948 at shortstop and .944 at second base) were similarly strong.
At the plate, the switch-hitter can display a mature approach with quick hands, but he was over-matched at Lakewood. Offensive struggles aside, Garcia's hitting coach with the 'Claws, Christian Marrero asserted that he saw improvements with the player's at bats throughout the long season last year.
On the bases, Garcia is quick and could become a stolen base threat as a professional. However, thus far in his career, he has been successful in just 21 of 37 stolen base attempts. A 56.7% success rate is definitely not outstanding, but as Garcia moves up in the minor leagues, he will have more tools at his disposal to improve on that ratio and should improve.
Phils developmental coaches have noticed that Garcia, even at a young age, stands out as a leader, mainly among his fellow Latin players.
Headed into last season, many prospect reviewers pointed toward Garcia as a young talent that could become a blue chipper for the Phillies. The buzz surrounding him seems to have quieted a bit following his lackluster production last year.
Placing Garcia back in Lakewood to open the 2020 season may be the most beneficial next step. The Phillies could go a more aggressive route with the infielder and promote him up one level to start the year, but he simply has not mastered the "low" Class A level and has not proven to be ready for that move based on last season's efforts.
The ceiling for the man known as "El Flow" is unclear, but he remains a bright, exciting youngster that Phillies fans should keep their eyes on.
You can keep tabs on this year's top 25 Phillies prospect countdown by clicking this link.