School: Sharyland High School, Mission Texas
Selected 2009 stats
Staff comments (individual rankings in parentheses)
Dustin Mattison (2): One of the top prospects in the system since being found in the 20th round of the 2005 MLB First Year Player draft, Garcia returned from Tommy John surgery seemingly even stronger than before. The southpaw has put himself in a position to compete for the big league club's fifth starter job in spring training.
Garcia projects as a solid middle of the rotation starter who possesses a heavy fastball and spike curveball. He showed much better feel for his secondary pitches than most players coming back from TJ surgery, putting him ahead of the curve in his rehab. If he proves durable of a big league workload, Garcia could see more innings in the big leagues than in the minors during 2010.
Message board community (1): Jaime Garcia! We finally come to the end of this long road, or perhaps the beginning. Garcia was seventh last year, but rose to first in the community rankings this year. He was the 22nd round pick in 2005, making his debut in 2006. Garcia made it to Double-A at 20 (beginning his second pro season there) and made his major league debut just three days after turning 22.
But then there was the Tommy John surgery. In 2009, including the playoffs, he threw 34 innings in Triple-A, fanning 35 and allowing just 21 hits. He had roughly a 2-1 grounder/fly ball ratio. He has a terrific curveball, an average fastball, and throws lefty. He threw some clutch innings in the postseason for Memphis. The main question is durability, as his largest number of innings pitched is 137 and he's already had TJ surgery.
It will be interesting to see how he is used next year. It is possible he'll take the number five starter spot, though there's good competition for that role and they might want to go easy on his arm. Perhaps he could be the long man/third lefty and break into the big leagues that way. Or maybe they'll leave him in Memphis to get some low pressure innings to work back up his arm strength. (That would be his third option…) Writing this makes me eager for spring, and glad that pitchers and catchers will report barely a month from now. - Gagliano
Brian Walton (1): Garcia is the great hope of the system in the current timeframe as the only left-handed pitcher close to the majors who is actually ready. I made the swing vote here to place Garcia number one over Shelby Miller and am just fine with it. I don't expect to have the dilemma next year since Garcia should no longer qualify as a minor leaguer.
Dave Duncan and Tony La Russa are cautious about throwing Garcia into the water too deeply as a starter coming off his late-season 2008 surgery. That is prudent, as the Cardinals will have a lot of options in camp. I am especially looking forward to seeing Garcia's new cutter/slider in spring training. Given his talent, I expect him to rise to the top and make it impossible to keep him out of the rotation.
Our 2010 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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