Recently, the Cardinals front office signed Adolis Garcia, a Cuban prospect. With a resume consisting solely of international experience, Garcia is a question mark in the minds of most fans, if he has crossed their radar at all. Working with limited information, let’s attempt to dig a little deeper, searching for encouraging/discouraging points in Garcia’s makeup.
Given that their the amount of formal scouting on Garcia is minimal, this article will take a slightly unorthodox approach with regards to analyzing his signing. To preface my claims, I understand they will be grounded largely in assumption. In that vein, leave room for your opinions, as you may interpret the little information we have in several different fashions.
Moving forward, I want to look at the positive implications of this signing, as well as a couple negative aspects. Hopefully, in the process, you will gain a better understanding of Garcia and what he does and could eventually bring to the table.
Source: Cuban OF prospect Jose Adolis Garcia, 23, has agreed to a $2.5M deal with the Cardinals. He's brother of ATL's Adonis Garcia.
— The Cardinal Way (@STL_Cards_nut) February 25, 2017
First of all, with Garcia, it quite literally runs in the family. For those who are not aware, his older brother Adonis is the starting third baseman for the Atlanta Braves. Not only that, but he is a good one. Specifically, the older Garcia has a .274 career batting average in 2 seasons of MLB play.
While this may seem like a stretch, family makeup is important. Garcia belongs to a successful, experienced family line. In this way, he has full access to the organic, lived experience of a successful ball player. He has seen the process, heard about it, and most likely witnessed both the good and the bad throughout his brother’s development. In my mind, this is an invaluable asset, one that very few players bring to the table.
Second, and perhaps more importantly, Garcia has proven an ability to perform consistently at a high level. Before advancing with this point, I understand the obvious counterpoint. Doing so in the Cuban National Series is obviously different than, and does not translate to, doing so in the MLB.
This is understood. Nonetheless, performing consistently at an elite level is difficult at any level, requiring solid mental focus and daily effort. Hitting .315 as the MVP last season, as well as an even higher .322 in 2015, Garcia has demonstrated the ability to remain diligent and disciplined despite great success, a skill that should not be taken for granted.
Next, I want to acknowledge what I see to be Garcia’s most admirable trait. He is a winner. As a member of Tigres de Ciego de Avila, Garcia led his squad to three championship seasons (2012, 2015, 2016). While I understand baseball is a team game with many integral points of contribution, being the MVP of such a successful team reflects phenomenal intangibles.
Dealing with the pressures of past success, working harder to maintain that feeling, and delivering at the most important times, Garcia’s winning pedigree is something that should excite fans and scouts alike. With the organization hungry to get back to their dominant ways, a spark of winning attitude should be welcomed at any level, from any player.
Lastly, and as more of a side note, it is worth noting that Garcia is fast. Obviously then, he increases his stock as an outfielder, as well as a baserunner. Combined with a winning mentality, perhaps he will provide the energy any successful team needs from a top-of-the-linup hitter.
Before jumping into the bad, I want to recognize that I am not including nearly as many “bad” aspects as “good” ones. This is not solely to an overly optimistic outlook, or some distorted view of Garcia as the next big thing. Rather, Garcia just has not played enough in front of the formal, publicly shared scouting to warrant overly harsh criticisms. To assure those who may have a more negative outlook than I do, rest assure that any glaring weaknesses will manifest in Spring Training.
For me, the one bad aspect of Garcia is that he is somewhat average across the board on a physical level. Although he is said to have solid bat speed, he is not incredibly powerful, possesses average arm strength, and perhaps has a below average contact rate given the level of competition in Cuba. Besides good speed, Garcia does not jump out in any other way.
Yes, he is solid, but compared to other prospects on this list, it remains unknown how he will stack up. As I mentioned, though, he has an opportunity to showcase himself this Spring. Hopefully he proves me wrong.
Very related to underwhelming physical prowess, it is uncertain at what position Garcia will finally settle. With good speed, he could potentially play any of the three.
With no identifying features otherwise, though, he is not incredibly specialized to fit any one position. While this could be labeled as versatility, it could be a reason for other prospects to leap frog over him. The jury is obviously still out.
Overall, with a signing bonus of only 2.5 million, Garcia is low risk. With a wide range of positive qualities, hopefully this signing pays dividends down the road. If not, however, the Cardinals will not have lost much in the process.
Photo captured by Kim Klement – USA Today Sports