International Scout's View: Jose Ricardo Garcia




The international free agent market opens in July, when teams can sign players over the age of 16.

In the past, we at Baseball America would hear news of a signing and then get a breakdown on each player. This season, we hope to get ahead of that curve somewhat, bringing you scouting reports on international players prior to the July 1 opening date.

We started the international free-agent frenzy with Julio Teheran, a 16-year-old righthander from Colombia who is being courted by both the Braves and Yankees, according to several sources.

We then moved on to 6-foot-5, 210-pound Dominican outfielder Itaniel Arias Guzman, who has garnered interest from several teams.

Next, we took a look at Dominican outfielder Kelvin Deleon, and then broke down shortstop Michael Almanzar.

This week, we again stay in the D.R., focusing on 16-year-old Jose Ricardo Garcia, who has drawn looks from the Blue Jays, Giants, Mets and Rangers.

We caught up with an international scout to give us an assessment of Garcia’s tools:

“His body is pretty much what it’s going to be right now,” the scout said of the 6-foot-2, 190-pound outfielder. “But I’ll take it. There is some rigidness in his approach, but he’s got real raw power--there is no doubt about the power.

“He moves the bat through the zone well with good leverage to his swing. You could put him in the big leagues right now--he’s strong enough. I mean, this kid is really strong.

“He could be a linebacker in the NFL--this kid is cut. Really good, athletic body. He’s a slightly below-average runner, but when he gets going he’s OK. He will be limited to a corner. The arm strength isn’t great, so he’ll have to play left field, probably.

“His bat is going to have to carry him. I like the power, but there are some questions in his approach that I’m just not sold on. But I could see clubs falling in love just with the way he looks. He’s an athlete, and one of the better ones I’ve seen down here this year.

“He’s raw, but all these kids are raw. How he handles pitches in on his hands and quality breaking balls are going to be keys for him when he moves on to the States.”