Last night the St. Louis Cardinals announced that they were purchasing the contracts of middle infielder Greg Garcia and outfielder Randal Grichuk from the Memphis Redbirds via the team website. Second baseman Kolten Wong and outfielder Shane Robinson, both of whom were off to slow starts this year, will be sent down to AAA to try and straighten things out. Here is a scouting report for one of the two new St. Louis Cardinals, Greg Garcia.
Height: 6' 0"
Weight: 190 lb.
Drafted: 7th round of the 2010 MLB Amateur Draft from the University of Hawaii at Monoa
2013 Statistics: 116 G, 424 PA, 3 HR, 50 R, 35 RBI, 14 SB, 11.6% BB Rate, 16.5% K Rate, .271 AVG, .377 OBP, .384 SLUG (AAA)
2014 Statistics: 21 G, 99 PA, 5 HR, 14 R, 14 RBI, 1 SB, 8.1% BB Rate, 22.2% K Rate, .267 AVG, .357 OBP, .535 SLUG
Career Minor League Stats: 424 G, 1709 PA, 1432 AB, 250 R, 401 H, 81 2B, 17 3B, 24 HR, 150 RBI, 40 SB, 21 CS, 203 BB, 277 K, .280 AVG, .385 OBP, .411 SLUG
Played 234 games at shortstop, 135 games at second base, 13 games at third base, and 2 games in the outfield. Committed 37 errors at shortstop with a .965 fielding percentage and 6 errors at second base with a .989 fielding percentage
Garcia is not ranked as a top prospect by any major publications. He has been listed as a top 20 prospects on the Cardinals MLB website the last two years. He is not listed as a top 15 prospects in Fangraphs team listing. John Sickels also did not put Garcia in his top 20 Cardinals prospects list. Scout.com lists him as the team's #16 prospect and their report can be seen here.
Viva el Birdos provides perhaps the best analysis here. They note that Garcia has a solid approach at the plate with an above average walk rate, below average strikeout rate, and a swing which tends to generate hard hit line drives and ground balls. Garcia's power mysteriously disappeared last year, but he found the power again early this year hitting 5 home runs early in the year. The power is not a fluke, as Garcia hit 10 home runs with a .420 SLUG at AA Sprngfield in 2012.
Defensively Garcia is adequate but not great at shortstop. His arm is just adequate and "isn't as good as Kozma's" according to the article. The rest of the report describes Garcia's feet, hands, and range as "decent," saying he finds a way to get things done in a "David Eckstein-ish way."
As noted in an earlier article, the Cardinals most lacking trait right now is power. Garcia is on a hot streak and has clearly figured something out early on to be able to drive the ball. If Garcia can continue that at the Major League level (a very big if) he could add some needed pop to the lineup against right-handed pitchers. Expect Garcia to be used much like Wong was used at second base since Mark Ellis tends to struggle against righthanders. Garcia also allows for me flexibility than Wong since he can play shortstop, and therefore can be used to spell Peralta from time to time. Overall, Garcia should make the team more potent, and compliments go to GM John Mozeliak for being humble enough to listen to my advice yesterday.