Garcia continues to draw more attention from prospect mavens, though there remains a significant contingent that questions his ultimate ceiling because of his approach at the plate.
A 17-year old Garcia torched the Venezuelan Summer League to the tune of a .298/.342/.449 line in 63 games in 2008. He posted some of the best numbers on the team and earned a call to the states for the 2009 season.
After starting the season in extended spring training – and reportedly raking while there – Garcia was promoted straight to Low-A West Michigan as an 18-year old. Despite being pushed so aggressively, Garcia more than held his own with a .264/.289/.324 line in 81 games.
The Tigers sent Garcia back to West Michigan for the 2010 season and he improved across the board, finishing with a .281/.313/.356 line backed by 17 doubles, four triples and four home runs in a tough offensive environment.
The Tigers logically promoted Garcia to High-A Lakeland in 2011 and while he struggled at times, the tools were still on display almost every time out. Garcia popped a career high in home runs with eleven while also unfortunately setting a career high with 132 strikeouts in 129 games.
Garcia's raw scouting report is enough to make even the most seasoned scout drool at the raw potential before them.
Garcia is an imposing presence on the field. He looks the part of a big league player with his tall, muscular and athletic body that screams power and impact potential. he continues to tighten his body and add strength thanks to an intense work ethic.
Defensively, Garcia is among the best outfielders in the Tigers system. Currently a plus runner, Garcia has the speed to handle center field right now, but does not project to maintain that speed long term. At worst, he should be at least a fringe-average runner.
His speed plays up because he has outstanding instincts in the field. He reads the ball quickly off the bat and his initial movements are nearly flawless every time. He takes good routes to the ball is already a plus defender at all three outfield spots. Most scouts project him as an impact defender in right field.
On top of his defensive abilities, Garcia offers an electric right arm. He has easy 70-grade arm strength with good accuracy and a quick release.
Garcia has at least plus raw power with good bat speed and tons of natural strength in his swing. He already has some loft on the back side of his stroke and if you believe in his hitting ability, you can project 25-plus home runs annually.
The only tool that scouts seriously question is Garcia's natural hitting ability. He lacks pitch recognition skills and will routinely chase breaking balls out of the strike zone. He swings early in counts rather than waiting for pitches he can drive, and he is prone to getting out front and making weak contact.
The Tigers are hopeful that continued maturation will allow Garcia a more patient approach and the ability to make consistent hard contact, even if he doesn't walk a significant amount.
Garcia's makeup draws the highest praise of anything in his game, consistently earning kudos for his exceptional work ethic and "championship" mentality.
If the hit tool comes together, Garcia has the potential to be a force both at the plate and in the field. He has game-changing tools that could translate to a potential middle of the order threat.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% A+
Garcia has not had any major injuries in his career.
The Tigers have optioned Garcia to Double-A Erie to start the 2012 season. That assignment will be an extremely difficult test for the free-swinging Venezuelan.
The Tigers remain confident that his tools will fully translate to game action but it could still take time to complete the developmental process. The challenge of facing advanced competition for the first time will be significant, but will also be an incredible learning opportunity.
With success in 2012, Garcia could enter the picture as a potential big league option late in the 2013 season and certainly be the time 2014 begins.
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