As the old rules were coming to a close on the international free agent market the Cincinnati Reds made one last big splash. They signed Cuban shortstop Jose Garcia to a deal for $5M, and paid another $5M in penalty to Major League Baseball for going over their “allowed” limit. That was the summer of 2017. Garcia wouldn’t play that year, but spent time in the Dominican academy with the Reds. He was in Goodyear for spring training and he looked very good in March and got the nod to head to Dayton to begin his professional career.

After nearly two seasons away from playing in games, Jose Garcia took the field for the Dayton Dragons on his 20th birthday to start his 2018 season. He went 1-4 in the game against Bowling Green. It was quite the struggle that first week, as the shortstop went just 4-27 without a walk or an extra-base hit, posting a .148 average. It would be nearly a week before he would play again due to five consecutive weather-related postponements in Michigan. Things got worse that week for Garcia as he went 1-23 with a walk. He would close out the month strong, going 8-23 (.348) with two doubles, a walk, and just two strikeouts in six games. It was a rough start to his professional career, posting a .178/.211/.205 line with two walks and 14 strikeouts in 76 plate appearances for the Dragons in April.

May started out with a bang. On the first of the month (cue Bone Thugs n Harmony) he connected for his first professional homer against Burlington, going 2-6 on the day with two runs and two runs batted in. Things didn’t go well for the next two weeks after that, though. In the next 13 games he went just 4-48 (.083) without a walk and with 17 strikeouts. For as rough as that stretch was, he turned things around in the final 14 games of the month. In 46 plate appearances he hit .341 with as many walks as strikeouts – five. The rough first half of the month dragged down his overall line. In 28 games during May he hit .211/.265/.295 with five walks and 22 strikeouts. It was an improvement over April, but still a month in which overall he really struggled to produce.

Much like May, June’s first two weeks were very tough for Jose Garcia. In 11 games played he hit just .182, walked once, and had 10 strikeouts. He did show a little bit of pop, though, as four of his six hits were doubles. The second half of the month did show some improvements. The shortstop had 12 hits, including four more extra-base hits, in 44 at-bats, but he only had one walk and another nine strikeouts. In his 23 games during June he hit .234/.277/.351 with just two walks and 19 total strikeouts. His eight extra-base hits during the month more than doubled his season total.

July got out to a solid start for Jose Garcia. In the first week he hit .269 and walked four times – twice as many as he had walked in all of June. He followed that up with another solid week, hitting .280 with two more walks for the Dragons. The third week of the month wasn’t going well until the series finale in Wisconsin when he had five hits in six at-bats. He would carry that forward into the final eight games of the month, going 10-33 (.303) and adding a home run – his second of the year. July was like the previous two, an improvement on the one prior. He would hit .286/.350/.339 with nine walks and 26 strikeouts in 123 plate appearances. The nine walks matched his season total entering the month.

The first game in August saw Jose Garcia go 3-5 with two doubles against Fort Wayne. But he would follow that up by going 2-19 with one walk the rest of the week. One of those hits, though, happened to be his 3rd home run of the year. The second week of August saw him hit just .222, but he slugged .519 thanks to a triple and two more home runs. Garcia would go on a bit of a year from August 15th through the 23rd. Over that eight game stretch he would hit .432 with another home run. It also extended his hitting streak to nine games. While he would slow down over the final eight games of the year, he would rack up a hit in each game to end the season riding a 17-game hitting streak. Between August and the final two games of the year in September, Jose Garcia hit .280/.308/.464. The power began to show up in this stretch. But his plate discipline disappeared as he walked just one time and had 30 strikeouts in 130 plate appearances.

For all 2018 Season Reviews and Scouting Reports – click here (these will come out during the week throughout the offseason).

Jose Garcia Spray Chart

Jose Garcia Scouting Report

Hitting | The raw grade on his hit tool is average. He’s got a quick bat but his plate discipline doesn’t allow the raw ability to play right now.

Power | He’s got fringe-average power potential, where 15 home runs isn’t out of the question in the future.

Speed | He’s an average runner, but he’s got a quick first step.

Defense | Garcia projects as an above-average defender at shortstop. He shows good range to both sides and athleticism at the position.

Arm | The best tool he’s got, his arm is a plus one that sticks out on the field.

When you watch Jose Garcia play, he looks like a guy who would have had better offensive numbers than he showed in 2018. He improved his OPS with each month of the season, but he never really had a month where he was good until August. There were scouts throughout the season who expressed that they weren’t concerned about the offensive output. They noted that he had all of the right things going for him. With that said, I’m a little more concerned than some of them seemed to be. The swing is good, the bat speed is there, the power could be there. But he struggles to identify pitches that aren’t the fastball and it doesn’t let those aspects play right now. He’s going to need to improve here in order to get more out of his bat.

Defensively is where Jose Garcia shines right now. His arm is a plus in the field. The arm action is short, but the ball explodes out of his hand and carries very well. He also shows good footwork at shortstop and has a good glove. There’s no concerns that he’s going to need to move to another spot on the field.

There’s some upside with Jose Garcia. If he can improve his ability to identify pitches and his hitting tools play up to their raw grades, he’s a quality big league shortstop that could be above-average overall. Right now, though, there’s a lot of work to be done to get there. The defense is well ahead of the offense, and it probably always will be. The key will be how much the bat continues to develop over the next few years as to what his ultimate role will be.

Longest Home Run of the Year

363 Feet on August 10th.

Interesting Stat on Jose Garcia

He showed significantly more power on the road than he did at home. In 265 plate appearances at home he hat 11 extra-base hits, including just one home run. In 252 plate appearances on the road he had 21 extra-base hits and that included five home runs.

Joey For Prime Minister T-Shirt

7 Responses

  1. kevinz

    I forget atm but the Reds did get a different intl scouting director right? I sure hope they did with signings like this. Gave five million for below ave everywhere except his arm for Defense? I hope his tools play better this coming season.

    • Norwood Nate

      Way better than the 9M they paid for Alf-Rod. At least Garcia has a chance to be average with the bat while having an excellent glove. Alf-Rod makes Hamilton look like Griffey Jr on offense.

      I like what I saw out of Garcia considering he hadn’t played competitive baseball for almost two years. He improved as the year went on, which is what you want to see. It gives reason to believe he can continue to make adjustments and improvements the more he plays.

  2. MK

    Awaiting me the beat position player prospect on 2018 Dragons. Anything he did in April can be chocked up to a learning experience. He had never seen snow let alone play in it. Meter Downs was to be the big shortstop prospect and it took just a couple of weeks to turn him into a second baseman. Jose has the body type to add muscle with good nutrition and weight training. He will end up the best position player of this class of Dragons.

  3. Oldtimer

    I doubt we see another Davey Concepcion anytime soon but he would have earned similar grades in the late 1960s. Big Klu made him into a good hitter in MLB.

    Garcia should be a Red by 2021 or 2022 latest.

    SS don’t grow on trees.

  4. AirborneJayJay

    The Reds paid $10M for this guy?? What a waste of resources. No wonder Jeff Graupe and Chris Buckley were re-assigned somewhere deep into the bowels of GABP. Dickie Williams said Garcia was the equivalent to a top-12 overall draft pick that year. Just another weak stick, good glove SS in the Reds system.
    Boy, I hope the Yankees non-tender SS Didi Gregorius today and the Reds can sign him quickly instead. Gregorius won’t be able to play until July at the earliest, but he could be the SS for the next 3-4-5 years, as the Reds system is barren of any good hitting/good fielding SS.

    • Randy in Chatt

      Chris Buckley had NOTHING to do with the Garcia signing. He headed up the amatuer draft, not the international free agent side of things. Barking up the wrong tree. Check into who ran the IFM and blame them.

  5. AirborneJayJay

    “The arm action is short, but the ball explodes out of his hand and carries very well. ”
    Could the Reds have another Trevor Hoffman on hand???

    “There’s no concerns that he’s going to need to move to another spot on the field.”
    That covers the 8 positional player spots. How about a move to the bullpen???