Julio Garcia, Shortstop
HT : 6'0
WT : 175
DOB : July 31, 1997 (18), Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Throws : Right
Bats : Switch
School : N/A
Acquired : Signed by Domingo Garcia and Alfedo Ulloa as International Free Agent, July 2, 2014
Last Year's Ranking : #56
The Los Angeles Angels spent some prime dollars on a 16-year-old project, with the name, Julio Garcia. Despite the youth, Garcia has plenty of desirable tools that projects him to be a future Major Leaguer with a nice career as a professional baseball player. The likes of teenage prospects with strong tools have been gone from the Angels system for some time, but Garcia is the beginning of new projects with Major League potential.
The highest mark for Garcia is that he's just a teenager with a small amount of time in professional games under his belt. These are also games against young and unpolished talent, so any reports are about his projectability as opposed to current state.
When signed, Garcia was considered a switch-hitter, but so far in his pro career has only seen time from the right-side. He's a bit of a free swinger with a clean and easy swing that can get long at times, leading to strikeout rates rising. As he progresses, coaches will look to shorten his swing and focus more on making contact.
In the power department, Garcia is incredibly limited. This is due to his small size, and he will eventually grow and mature physically, which could mean more power. He has shown some potential to hit to the gaps but for the time being, he'll be limited to hitting the ball to the warning track.
Garcia's fielding is far more advanced than his bat, and is his standout tool at the moment. He has a nice first step to both sides, and ranges well at shortstop which would lead many to believe he sticks at short. He has a strong arm as well, which will also add on as he grows physically.
He has clean mechanics in the field, beginning with setting himself up to throw with good footwork. He throws well like a professional shortstop should, and could become a nice defensive asset when he begins to think less and just play with the focus of getting an out. All his defensive inequalities will thin out as he gets more time in the field.
On the base paths, Garcia is incredibly quick and aggressive. In nearly half of his times reaching first base safely, he attempted to steal and succeeded the high majority of time. As he grows as a player, he should become a constant threat to steal and be a strong base runner.
Scouting Report from Taylor Blake Ward - Senior Publisher for Scout.com
Garcia was held to just 18 games in his professional debut as a 16-year-old, but showed some stints of success. In his first 38 plate appearances, he collected three hits and four walks, leading to just a .280 OPS. In his next 41 plate appearances, Garcia picked up hitting .229/.275/.257 with a double and four RBI, while reaching base in all of his final 10 games.
This past season, Garcia split time between the DSL and AZL affiliates, hitting .217/.245/.257 with three doubles, two triples, 12 RBI and 19 runs scored in 46 games. In his first 22 games, he hit .250 with a .562 OPS and seven stolen bases. He finished the season strong again, having four of his final nine games going for multiple hits and holding a .317/.333/.366 slash.
Despite a high strikeout rate, Garcia did put the ball in the field with some consistency last season but his lack of power held the ball to the infield in most scenarios. There's a lot of work to be done but the tools are beginning to show more and more, and he should be coached in Rookie Ball next year stateside, likely in Tempe.
The future is hard to project due to Garcia's youthful nature, but the tools would recommend he can be a strong defensive shortstop with speed, and some potential for enough power to hit to the gaps. Development and progress will be the key to figuring out just who Garcia is, but the Angels have plenty of time to work him out and turn him into the player they desire.
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This article was published by Taylor Blake Ward, who serves as a Senior Publisher for Scout.com, and can be found on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.