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|Luis Garcia, image- Jay Floyd|
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 led the league 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.
In 2019 Garcia played 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.
The cancelled 2020 season resulted in Garcia missing a year of development, though he did participate in the Fall Instructional League. He's also stayed busy working out in his native DR and appears to have added some upper body muscle tone during his down time.
Defensively, Garcia possesses an accurate, plus arm, solid range and quick feet. A smooth fielder, he was tasked with playing both middle infield spots 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 in 2019 at full-season Class A ball. 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.
On the bases, Garcia is quick and could become a steady stolen base threat. However, thus far in his affiliated pro 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 would be expected to improve.
Phils developmental coaches have noticed that Garcia, even at a young age, stands out as a leader, primarily among his fellow Latin players.
Headed into 2019, 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 in Class A.
With the BlueClaws being reassigned as a Class A Advanced level team for the coming season, it's likely that Garcia could return to Lakewood, now referred to as Jersey Shore, to open the 2021 campaign.
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 Phillies prospects countdown by clicking on this link.