Jose Garcia Looks Like Shortstop Of The Future
The Reds were involved in several rumors over the course of the offseason involving big name shortstops. At various points they were rumored to be looking into acquiring stars like Francisco Lindor or Corey Seager.
Despite all of the talk, the Reds will enter the season with Freddy Galvis at shortstop, and he’s in the final year of his contract after being claimed on waivers from the Blue Jays in August.
When looking at Cincinnati’s farm system, the only notable shortstop prospect with full-season experience is 22-year-old Cuban Jose Garcia.
When the Reds signed Garcia in June 2017 for $5 million, the organization envisioned an everyday shortstop with upside. That upside took time to materialize.
Garcia struggled at the plate during his pro debut at low Class A Dayton in 2018. He hit .245/.290/.344 in 125 games with a troubling strikeout-to-walk ratio of 112-to-19. In the field he showed good range and plus arm strength that stood out at shortstop.
Things turned around at the plate in 2019, when Garcia advanced to the high Class A Florida State League. After missing most of April, he joined Daytona in the final week of the month and began hitting immediately.
"The progress he’s making on both sides of the ball is evident,” farm director Eric Lee said. "To be able to do the damage he did in a difficult hitting environment last year was special.”
In 104 FSL games, Garcia hit .280/.343/.436 with a league best 37 doubles as he began to tap into his above-average raw power.
The strikeout-to-walk ratio that was a concern in 2018 also improved.
"After getting to Daytona, he cut his strikeouts and increased his walk rate," general manager Nick Krall said. "He’s gotten stronger, too, and I think that will continue to help him."
Expected to begin at Double-A Chattanooga, Garcia could be in line to take over shortstop in Cincinnati in 2021. The timing would be perfect.