After making quite an impression during Spring Training 2020, Luis Garcia‘s momentum came to an abrupt halt. As pointed out in my Nationals Spring Training wrap up, Garcia carried over his Arizona Fall League performance to the spring. Hopes were high that this would be a breakout year for the 20-year-old after a subpar 2019 season.
Once baseball ramped back up, Garcia was then named to the Nationals 60-man player pool where he could continue to work with the team in some capacity. His opportunity came quicker than most expected once Starlin Castro went down with an injury. On August 14th, Garcia made his MLB debut and immediately showed off his plus hit tool by going 2-5 with a double and 2 RBI.
Luis Garcia turned 20 in May. Tonight, he has two hits and two RBI in his MLB debut for the #Nats. pic.twitter.com/yMRl3AdE3l
— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) August 15, 2020
Through September 10th, Garcia is hitting .293 with a .321 OBP. The young second baseman has made quite the impression in his debut and has raised the prospect of him being the starter in 2021. With Castro sidelined for the rest of this shortened season, the opportunity is there for Garcia to take advantage. The Nat’s signed Castro through 2021, paying him $6 million a year. Castro could be a possible trade chip this winter for a team looking for a reliable veteran infielder.
Few things are worth pointing out about Garcia’s season thus far. I’m still somewhat concerned with Garcia’s lack of patience at the plate. His BB% is currently 3.8%, and that is in line with his career numbers. With his ability to hit at such a high level, he frequently will reach for, and hit, balls that otherwise would be out of the zone. Being more selective with the pitches he decides to swing at is all part of his development. We have to remember he is only 20 years old. I think if he can get his BB% hovering around 10% or slightly under, it makes him a more dangerous hitter.
Luis García is the first player born in 2000 or later to hit a home run. 🤯 pic.twitter.com/urrstQ0v18
— MLB (@MLB) August 18, 2020
I would also not be overly surprised to see Garcia’s numbers begin to dip some. He currently has a BABIP of .362. What that tells me is that some of his batted balls are finding holes. At some point, this number will regress towards the league average of .292. Finding a way to be more selective will be imperative for his success. Right now, he is also hitting a lot of ground balls, 60.3%. Ground balls equate to outs traditionally, and I would like to see that number decrease.
While the Nationals have had a rather abysmal season thus far, Garcia appears to be a bright spot. There was some doubt after the 2019 season on his status as a top 100 prospect. I think his performance so far has helped to ease some concerns. Being able to get this experience this season could be hugely beneficial for a young player like Garcia. Getting to see how players like Juan Soto and Victor Robles approach the game on a day to day basis is invaluable information that he otherwise would not have received playing a full season in AA.
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