Prior to the 2013 season, Anthony Garcia was The Cardinal Nation’s ninth-ranked prospect in the entire St. Louis Cardinals system. We based that aggressive placement on a solid 2012 in the Midwest League, where the outfielder was a post-season All-Star.
Following an injury-plagued 2013 with A-Advanced Palm Beach, Garcia fell completely off The Cardinal Nation's top 40 prospect rankings heading into 2014. Still, he was busy that winter, playing for Gigantes be Carolina in the Puerto Rico Winter League, where he was named the Comeback Player of the Year. (The official league name is Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente.)
Another disabled list-interrupted summer back at Palm Beach in 2014 was again answered by strong winter campaign, even better than the last. Back with Carolina, the now 23-year-old was unanimously named the Puerto Rico League’s Most Valuable Player this winter. Garcia is also the right fielder on the league’s All-Star Team.
Garcia’s 2014 winter performance was dominating.
He is the league’s RBI champion two years running, with his 2014 total at 34 (in 39 games), up from 26 last season. The right-handed hitter’s 10 home runs were also best in the five-team circuit. His .328 average was third, on-base mark of .422 tied for second behind Twins prospect Kennys Vargas and his .635 slugging was 98 points higher than the next closest player. It only stands to reason that Garcia’s 1.057 OPS topped the number two hitter by a whopping 102 points.
It will be interesting to see if Garcia can bridge his winter performance into a comeback season on US soil this summer. Despite stalling at Palm Beach the last two seasons, he still just turned 23 years of age less than two weeks ago. So, Garcia has time.
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