Right in their backyard at local Missouri Baptist University, the St. Louis Cardinals scouted outfielder Orlando Olivera, their 38th-round selection in this June’s draft. On October 16th, the Cards returned to the NAIA school to sign another player in free agent catcher Erik Garcia.
Garcia, listed at 5-foot-11 and 215 pounds, began his collegiate career with two seasons at a Texas junior college, Weatherford College, before joining Missouri Baptist for his junior year in 2013-14. It appears that the Mission, Texas native did not play for the Spartans this past spring, however.
In 2014, Garcia started 41 of 45 games for Missouri Baptist, with a batting line of .260/.338/.420/.758. The 22-year-old hit five home runs and drove in 31 in 131 at-bats and was named to the all-American Midwest Conference team. In 43 games played with Weatherford in the 2012-13 season, Garcia posted a line of .248/.368/.372/.740 with three home runs and 20 runs batted in in 129 at-bats.
In summer ball in 2015, Garcia competed in the Valley League with the Charles Town (Va.) Cannons, where he batted .200 in eight games. At the end of June, he was traded to the Harrisonburg (Va.) Turks. There, the right-handed batter hit .220 with a home run and seven RBI in 18 games.
At Sharyland (TX) High School, Garcia played for former coach Barton Bickerton, who also tutored another future Cardinal named Garcia - Jaime - as a prep player.
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