Selected 2010 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)
Dustin Mattison (42): Our Gulf Coast Cardinals Player of the Year turned a position change into a breakout offensive performance in 2010. As an 18-year-old, Garcia posted an OPS of .862 and finished two home runs short of the GCL high of seven.
Garcia was drafted as a catcher out of Puerto Rico and did appear in 11 games last season behind the plate. I am not sure if the organization has abandoned the idea of him catching but I do know his prospect status would improve substantially if he can handle the rigors of catching.
Message board community (24): Anthony Garcia was the community's 24th prospect, acquiring his first vote for the 20th spot. This was his debut on our list. How many 18 year olds walk more often than they strike out, yet also slug five home runs in 119 at-bats? While playing catcher? Whatever the number, Garcia was one of them.
Now, this was Garcia's second trip to the GCL, but he only had 57 plate appearances in his draft year of 2009, so he was not banking a great deal of experience. And he caught five of the eight guys who tried to run on him, with nary an error. A .405 OBP and .462 SLG in the GCL would have been good for third in the league in OPS if he'd had enough plate appearances to qualify this year. Only seven qualifiers exceeded .800. The five home runs tied for eighth in the league. Can Garcia make it to the New York-Penn League next year? - Gagliano
Brian Walton (20): OK, I admit that in this case I may be a bit prematurely enthused about a teenager who reached Johnson City for the first time in the final week of the season. Yet for the reasons mentioned above, Garcia's 2010 season was eye-catching.
The reason Garcia spent so much time in the outfield this past summer says a lot about him as a player and individual. It also explains that what appeared on the surface to be a very early position change is not.
Cardinals minor league catching coordinator Dann Bilardello recalls.
"In the Gulf Coast League, we were short of outfielders," he explained. "Anthony is such a great kid and wanted to play everyday, so he ended up going to the outfield. In turn, what it did was help him as he got at-bats and had a real good year offensively."
The organization still sees Garcia's future behind the plate, but recognize that he is a work in progress.
"Anthony is a catcher," Bilardello confirmed. "He did a nice job filling in there in the outfield. He plays hard. As a manager, you just love kids like that. He's got a lot of room to grow as a catcher. He is just a young kid and that process is going to take some time… He will come to camp as a catcher and we hope to get him more time behind the plate this year."
Our 2011 top 40 countdown continues: To see our entire list of 40 Cardinals prospects, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.
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