2008 Cardinals Prospect #3 – Jaime Garcia

Was the top Cardinals lefty's 2007 season-ending elbow injury an isolated incident or a signal of potentially more serious problems to come?

Scout.com Player Profile (including links to 2007 and career stats)

2007 Ranking: 3

Position: SP

DOB: 7/8/1986

Height: 6-foot-2

Weight: 200

Bats: L

Throws: L

School: Sharyland High School (TX)

Became a Cardinal: Selected in the 22nd round (680th overall) of the June, 2005 First-Year Player draft.

2007 stats































Staff Comments (individual rankings in parens)

Leonda Markee (3): Garcia's rank within the Top 40 remains the same as last season. Now, depending on how one looks at that, it is either a testament to Garcia's talent or an indictment of the quality of the Cardinals' other pitching prospects. I say that because Garcia missed the last six plus weeks of the 2007 season after being shut down with a ligament strain in his left elbow. Although he was out for that amount of time, no other Cardinals' pitcher grabbed the spotlight away as the best pitching prospect in the system.

Many Texas League observers thought Garcia had the best pure stuff on the Springfield staff with two plus pitches: a low-90s moving fastball and a curveball that is a legitimate out pitch. The 21-year-old will probably begin 2008 back at Double-A Springfield. However, Cardinals management was aggressive in their promotions in 2007 so there is an outside chance that Garcia starts at Memphis instead.

Dustin Mattison (3): Cardinals prospect watchers will have their eyes on Garcia this February. The Cardinals shut him down due to what turned out to be a sprained elbow ligament and they believe he will be ready for spring training. Garcia's numbers were not nearly as impressive at Double-A in 2007 but it should be noted that he pitched most of the season as a 20-year-old and he did only allow 93 hits in 103 innings. What hurt his numbers was his command; he allowed 45 bases on balls to go along with 13 wild pitches. The sinkerballer also allowed 14 home runs. Compare that to 2006 in which he allowed only three long balls and 30 walks in 137 innings. To be fair, the control issues could be related to his elbow.

Garcia possesses a low-90s fastball with good sink. The former 22nd round pick has the best curveball in the system, a 12-to-6 spike that is a big-league out pitch. He will most likely start at Double-A Springfield but could make his way to Memphis with a fast start.

Ray Mileur (3): Garcia was 5-9 with a 3.75 ERA and 97:45 K:BB ratio (103.1 innings) for Double-A Springfield before being sidelined with a strained elbow ligament that ended his season in July. Clearly one of the Cardinals top prospects, Garcia has above average stuff major league stuff (fastball, curve and changeup) already.

His injury last year didn't require surgery but it could slow down his progress and cause him to get a late start next season. The 21-year-old left-hander is probably a year away from the majors if he's healthy.

Brian Walton (2): For the second consecutive year, I am the only one among our group of raters who places the now 21-year-old Garcia in the number two prospect position. My optimism remains high despite the season-ending elbow ailment suffered by the lefty curveball specialist in mid-July.

Some have pointed at the ligament strain and his slight build and worry about his stamina and staying power, but I see a very efficient and effective pitcher on the mound when Garcia takes his turn. All things equal, I forecast Garcia having a better potential career runway than either Bryan Anderson or Chris Perez.

Key: NR = not ranked, NA = not applicable

To see our entire list of 40 prospects as they are unveiled daily, click here. You can also read each of the voters' philosophies in making their selections.

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