TCN 2013 Cardinals Prospect #16: Greg Garcia

The middle infielder had a solid season with the bat at Double-A Springfield. Today's report is FREE!

The Cardinal Nation/ Player Profile
(including links to full 2012 and career stats)

School: University of Hawaii

2012 rank Pos. DOB Ht. Wt. Bat Thw Signed Round
NR 2B 8/8/1989 6-0 175 L R 2010 39th

Selected 2012 stats

SPR 0.284 0.333 412 81 117 20 10 51 80 83 10 0.379 0.408 0.420 0.828

Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)

CariocaCardinal (14): Garcia was one of the top risers in this year's prospect countdown. What I like about Garcia is the improvements he has shown in strike zone judgment that have raised his walk rate each year as a professional. To go along with that, he upped his power this season as well.

Additional icing on the cake with Garcia is that he was only 22 years old at Double-A (well below league average) and during the second half of the 2012 season, he was able to up his OPS to .848. Garcia's overall OPS was near the top of all middle infielders in the Texas League in 2012 and his OBP was first among middle infielders.

Garcia would possibly be ranked higher if there was certainty about his ability to stick at short, a debate that divides many observers. In the worst case, he can be a solid second baseman who can fill in at shortstop.

Garcia would seem ready for Triple-A Memphis in 2013 and will most likely commence there this upcoming season. There is some possibility that the Cards might want him to get more reps than he would get at Memphis (due to being blocked by other players) and could leave him at Double-A Springfield until there is an opening. I also expect Garcia to get a look in big league spring training either as a formal non-roster invitee or informally as a fill in during some of the big club's games.

Message board community (11): The 7th-round draftee from 2010 appears to have made some strides with his power, as he popped 10 homers in 2012 after hitting just six in 2010/2011 combined.

But even more than the (perhaps) developing power, what excites about Garcia is his plate discipline improvement curve. In rookie ball, he walked in seven percent of his plate appearances; then in low-A, it was 10%, in high-A 12%, and finally in Double-A, a terrific 16%.

Garcia's OPS+ has ranged from 106 to 132, with his best season being his most recent. Couple that with generally positive reports on his glovework, and Greg may be one of the most underrated prospects in baseball's best farm crop.

Will he be the primary shortstop for Memphis in 2013? Time will tell... but I for one really hope so. - BobReed

Brian Walton (26): In Garcia's fourth year of eligibility to appear on the top 40, he finally makes his debut after a sharp showing at Double-A Springfield. While Garcia deserves the increased attention he is getting, I am less sure about his future than some others predict. After all, Jermaine Curtis had a higher OPS at the same level in 2011.

Several Cardinals staffers just love Garcia, with one actually having uttered the well-worn line, "He is like a coach on the field." He has been called "a winning player" and "a gamer" - pretty much all the standard lines to describe an overachiever.

There may be reason for the optimism, though. In looking at comparative numbers, Garcia's offensive stats are as good or better than those of the more-celebrated Kolten Wong. He has shown an especially impressive ability to get on base.

One problem, however, is that the two are really best at the same position – second base. Even one of Garcia's strongest internal supporters readily acknowledges that his defense at shortstop is not of everyday MLB quality.

Where Garcia seems to carry an advantage at the plate over Wong is against left-handed pitching. That may hold a key to his future.

Our 2013 top 40 countdown continues: To see the list of top Cardinals prospects announced to date and remaining article schedule, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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