Luis Garcia, SS, WAS

How did you spend your summer last year? Luis Garcia (the Nationals one, not the Astros one or the Phillies one or the Indians one or the Cardinals one) spent his summer in Double-A as a 19-year-old. How’d it go?
Video courtesy of FanGraphs
  • Born: May 16, 2000
  • B/T: Left/Right
  • 6’2″, 190lb
  • Signed by the Washington Nationals in 2016 out of the Dominican Republic.

The Numbers

Those are his raw numbers, but let’s aggregate by level and focus on the important numbers for minor leaguers:

Scouts tell us he can be expected to show a good on-base number and play good defense (though he might end up at 2B), along with decent power and speed.

On the one hand, the speed is there (though not recently), and that K% rate is fantastic. This kid clearly knows how to get the bat on the ball.

On the other hand, that walk rate is bad, and it really contributed to a poor OBP last year. And oh, that ISO…

On the other other hand, he was only 19 years old and playing in a league full of 24-year-olds, so to say he was young for the league is like saying 2020 has been a slightly odd year for illness.

He actually did well against both righties and lefties, slightly better against righties.
He sprays singles and doubles all over the place! His triples and home runs are to the pull side, and as we saw above his power is not yet in place.

He’s 19 and 6’2″ and 190, so he will put on more weight before all is said and done.

This is a chart that cries out, “start me back in AA and let me do better as a 20-year-old with experience!”

After a nifty 2018 where he climbed to an .800 OPS and stayed there, he just cratered in 2019, fought back in June and July, before calling it a year and waving the white flag.

To his credit, he then went to the Arizona Fall League and put up a .345 OBP and .726 OPS in 20 games. And then this spring he put up a .462 OBP and 1.003 (!) OPS in 15 games. So yeah. There’s that.

The Scouts

Warnings

You’re talented, dude, and you can clearly keep the strikeouts low. But can you draw more walks?

Hint: more power will lead to more walks. Have a cheeseburger, put on a bit more weight.

His first taste of AA was iffy. Everyone says it’s just because he’s 19 and growing. Fine, but let’s see it on the field at that level before we get too far ahead of ourselves. Not everyone gets to be Juan Soto at 19.

Conclusion

In all fairness, to do what he did at 19 in Double-A is fairly impressive. He fought all summer to excel and at times did. He looked great this spring. He’s clearly a top prospect, so the best thing for him, whenever baseball starts up again, is for him to repeat AA, get a great OBP there, and then move to AAA. He can still make the majors by 21 or so, and that’s terrific.

Although he’s probably going to be a 2B, and probably won’t have a lot of speed in the majors. But a 2B with a bit of pop and good contact skills? That’s fine. If the power develops, all the better.

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