Luis Garcia Shows Precocious Feel For Hitting
Whether shortstop prospect Luis Garcia is playing in the Futures Game or simply surviving the grind of Class A ball, the 18-year-old Dominican has the same routine.
"I talk to my dad every day three times a day—when I wake up, before the game and after the game,” Garcia said in Spanish. "He keeps my head on straight when I’m going good, and he helps me with the process when I’m not going good, because he’s been through it.”
Garcia’s father, also a middle infielder named Luis Garcia, reached the major leagues with the 1999 Tigers. The younger Luis is still three levels below the majors, but he had a chance to play at Nationals Park this summer at the Futures Game.
As the youngest player in the game, Garcia walked in his lone plate appearance. In the field, he made a diving stop as a second baseman but threw the ball wide of first for an error.
"It was a great experience,” Garcia said. "Watching those guys going about things and kind of being a big leaguer for a day, you know that you’ve got to keep working hard in the minors.”
The 6-foot, 190-pound Garcia, who signed for $1.3 million out of the Dominican Republic in 2016, began this season at low Class A Hagerstown. He hit .297/.335/.402 in 78 games to earn a promotion to high Class A Potomac, where he hit .284/.315/.412 through his first 24 games.
"His approach at the plate is advanced, and he’s an 18-year-old kid in an advanced league,” Potomac manager Tripp Keister said of the lefthanded hitter. "I’ve been impressed with his ability to stay within the strike zone, which is something this organization has preached, and he’s using the whole field.”
Keister added that Garcia has been reliable in the field, showing solid shortstop actions with his hands and feet. He saw lots of action at second base and third base, too.
Farm director Mark Scialabba praised Garcia’s ability to make adjustments from "at-bat to at-bat, game to game and then week to week.”
"Luis has the ability to barrel up the ball on a consistent basis,” Scialabba said. "He has a balanced approach, great eye-hand coordination and quick, strong hands that generate plus bat speed. His confidence continues to grow as he matures both on and off the field.”
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** Double-A Harrisburg shortstop Carter Kieboom was the Nationals’ other Futures Game representative. The 20-year-old hit .275/.325/.396 through 37 Eastern League games. "He’s shown me a lot of maturity for his age,” said Senators manager Matthew LeCroy, who served as the bench coach for the U.S. Team in the Futures Game.