San Francisco Giants: Who is New Catcher Aramis Garcia?
San Francisco Giants star catcher Buster Posey went under the knife for hip surgery on Monday, and the team has called up a once-top prospect Aramis Garcia to back-up Nick Hundley.
Before the San Francisco Giants signed Joey Bart, the second overall pick in the 2018 draft, they were relatively weak on catching depth.
Two of their other minor league catchers in Triple-A, Trevor Brown and Ronnie Freeman, are hitting in the .240s in the minors this year.
In both Double-A Richmond and Triple-A Sacramento this year, Garcia struggled to a .233 average and a .285 on-base percentage, but he did hit 11 home runs in 90 games. He is currently the No. 15 prospect in the organization.
But who exactly is Garica?
The Giants drafted Garcia in the second round of the 2014 draft. The 25-year-old was born in Hialeah, Fla.
Garica went to Florida International University, where he saw much success. In 2014, he was the Conference USA Player of the Year, batting .368 with eight home runs and 37 RBI in 45 games. In his three-year college career, he hit .318 with 25 home runs and 117 RBI in 157 games.
The St. Louis Cardinals drafted Garcia out of high school in the 20th round of the 2011 draft, but he elected to go to college instead.
You could see why the Giants were excited about Garcia. He has some power, but the bat hasn’t translated to professional baseball.
Still, he could provide some power as Hundley’s back up.
"“Garcia didn’t hit above .240 at either Double-A or Triple-A this year, but he possesses a bit of pop, as his double-digit home runs three of the past four years suggests,” according to CBS Sports’ RotoWire."
In his first season with the Class-A San Jose Giants in 2017, Garcia batted .272 with 20 doubles, 17 home runs, and 65 RBI over a span of 81 games. He was on the 2017 California League All-Star teams (mid-season and postseason). That year, he moved up to Double-A Richmond, hitting .282, but with no home runs in 22 games.
Here is MLB Pipeline’s scouting report on Garcia’s offensive capabilities:
"Garcia is at his best when he shortens his right-handed swing, enabling him to pull pitches more consistently. His strength and the loft in his stroke could produce 15 or more homers per year with regular playing time at the big league level. He has gotten more aggressive as he has progressed through the Minors and will need to tighten his strike zone to succeed against more advanced pitching."
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On Apr. 20, 2017, Garcia suffered a concussion after getting hit on the facemask during a swing.
Defensively, Garcia has a solid arm and quick feet, but as many young catchers do, he needs to work on his pitch calling.
Here’s what Around the Foghorn’s Taylor Wirth had to say about Garcia’s catching mechanics:
"“In addition to a good arm, Garcia is athletic and has good, quick feet and solid reaction times. Scouts believe Garcia to be a “natural hitter” who has potential to be an above-average hitting catcher, but is still learning how to hit at the professional level.”In terms of weaknesses, Garcia needs to improve his pitch calling. This year in AA and probably AAA, he will get lots of work in with calling pitches."
And as most catchers, Garcia does not have much speed on the bases.
While Manager Bruce Bochy told NBC Sports Bay Area that Garcia will be eased in, he says the 25-year-old is ready for the big leagues.
"“He’s ready to catch here,” Bochy told NBC Sports. “I firmly believe that. The hitting part is going to be a work in progress, but he has gap power, he’s a threat up there.”"
And Garcia is ready for the opportunity.
"“I’m just keeping my ears open,” he told NBC Sports. “Soak it all in and absorb as much as possible.”"