This is the twentieth in a series of articles, here at Around the Foghorn, covering the 22 non-roster invitees joining the San Francisco Giants in their spring training complex this season.
The San Francisco Giants included Aramis Garcia on their list of non-roster invitees, obviously interested in seeing firsthand, what this 22-year-old catcher out of the Florida International baseball program has to offer. A second-round draft pick, Garcia was named the Conference USA Baseball Scholar Athlete of the Year in 2014, and became the second-highest drafted player in the school’s history.
A semi-finalist for the Johnny Bench Award, given to the best collegiate catcher, Garcia hit .368 with fourteen doubles last year. He added eight home runs and thirty-seven RBIs, with a .626 SLG, leading the conference in both average and slugging percentage. And now, eight months later, he is in spring training camp with the Giants.
Originally drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2011, Garcia chose to attend school rather than turn pro. In his freshman season in 2012, he batted .271/.344/.417 with six home runs in fifty-five games. His biggest issue was mastering the strike zone, as he struck out forty-three times compared to taking nineteen walks.
The following year as a 20-year-old, Garcia improved dramatically in nearly every area, batting .321/.378/.522 with twelve doubles, eleven home runs and fifty-one RBIs.
An area of initial concern was Garcia’s SO/BB ratio. His rapid development over three college seasons, is encouraging.
His 39-17 SO/BB rate was a little better, and would go on to make a huge leap in 2014, when Garcia posted a 23/25 SO/BB ratio, to go with those heady stats posted above.
In assessing his defense in his Draft Pick piece last June, Grant Brisbee of McCovey Chronicles stated that Garcia “has an average arm and is a good receiver. He will need to work on his footwork and blocking as a professional, however.” Brisbee mentioned that though scouts “prefer his bat to his glove, Garcia is a solid defender.”
Oct 28, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; San Francisco Giants catcher Buster Posey before game six of the 2014 World Series against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
With the depth of catching in the Giants organization, Garcia faces an uphill battle to win a spot with the club. In an article last June 5th, Chris Haft commented on Garcia, mentioning that like Buster Posey, he is said to have impeccable character. Haft quoted Garcia’s coach at Florida International, Turtle Thomas, as praising Garcia, calling him “as good a kid as I’ve seen in 37 years of coaching.”
In his brief look at professional ball, Garcia played in 8 games with rookie-league Arizona, and 20 games with A-level Salem-Keizer. Here is a look at his stats:
28 G/102 AB, 11R/23 H/15 RBI, 3 2B/0 3B/2 HR, 5 BB/19 SO
25 G/236 Ch/PO 236, 27 A/5 E/1 DP, .979 Fld% 9.24/RF/G
7 PB/25 SB/9 CS/26% CS%
Twenty-something games is a pretty small sampling size, especially since there were two levels involved, so it will be interesting to see how Garcia fares in spring training camp. He has had two spring plate appearances so far, and drawn a walk. With Ty Ross, Guillermo Quiroz, Hector Sanchez, Andrew Susac and Buster Posey in camp along with him, Garcia will have to do something impressive to get a serious look-see.
On the other hand he is 22, eight months or so out of college, and already in Scottsdale. All he really needs to do is play his game, pay attention to what is going on around him, and soak it all in for future reference.
And he needs to work on that strikeout to walk ratio, which took a significant hit at the pro level.
In doing this series on the prospects, I thought I would back the truck up, and list each of those prospects, with a link, so that if you missed some of the early ones, you could play catchup: Clayton Blackburn, Steve Okert, Juan Gutierrez, Adalberto Mejia, Nik Turley, Chris Stratton, Curtis Partch, Cory Gearin, Kyle Crick, Brett Bochy , Braulio Lara, Ty Blach, Mac Williamson, Justin Maxwell, Christian Arroyo, Mitch Delfino, Brandon Hicks, Kelby Tomlinson, and Carlos Triunfel.