Editor’s Note: A.E. Schafer aka the red baron has once again compiled a rather impressive list of Cardinals prospects doing a write-up on 40 individual prospects. As a convenience to our readers, he releases the list in a couple big chunks so everyone can read about all of the prospects at once. While that is a convenience to all of us who eagerly await the arrival of prospect lists, it might not be as convenient if you are looking for a player’s particular scouting report. So, as a further convenience, we are putting the individual scouting reports in separate posts to make individual players easier to find. You can find the full lists on our 2018 prospect page here. —CE
#11: Jose Adolis Garcia, OF
6’1”, 180 lbs; Bats/Throws: Right/Right
DOB: 2 March 1993; Signed 2017 (Cuba)
Level(s) in 2017: Springfield (Double A), Memphis (Triple A)
Notable Numbers: .285/.339/.476, 124 wRC+ (Spr), .301/.342/.478, 110 wRC+ (Mem)
So, what’s so great about this guy?
Adolis Garcia was the reigning MVP of Cuba’s Serie Nacional when he defected. Admittedly, Cuban professional baseball at the moment is not what it was even a handful of years ago, before a mass exodus of top players to the U.S. robbed the island of much of its best talent, but even so, that should give some idea of the sort of all-around game Garcia possesses.
He stepped right into Double A and seemingly didn’t miss a beat, putting up solid numbers after a moderate layoff. He moved up to Triple A and did the same, although his approach while playing for Memphis left much to be desired in terms of aggression versus patience. Then again, when a player is hitting the ball well, it’s hard to fault them overmuch for not not swinging the bat.
Garcia has excellent bat speed, and a natural ability to hit the ball with power to the opposite field. Even in a world where pullside power in the air has become such a huge deal to an entire class of hitters, that natural stroke to drive the ball up the middle and to the opposite field, without selling out to try and yank everything, is, I believe, a huge deal. His aggression at the plate leads to a less than ideal K:BB ratio, but he’s not prone to excessive swinging and missing, and when he contacts the ball good things generally happen.
Beyond just hitting, Garcia offers a dynamic package of tools and skills in all facets. He’s a plus runner, capable of holding down center field at a good level, has a strong, accurate throwing arm, appears both heady and speedy on the bases, and just in general does a little bit of everything. He’s a remarkably well put together athlete, and while there were concerns about his ceiling when he first came over from Cuba, I think at this point those concerns look increasingly odd. I’m not saying he’s necessarily going to be a star, but Adolis Garcia has an ability to contribute in multiple ways on multiple fronts. There’s something to be said for that.
The biggest concern for Garcia is the plate approach; we’ve seen plenty of very talented hitters short-circuited by an overly aggressive approach playing into the hands of opposing pitchers. For much of the summer at Double A, Garcia was running excellent strikeout to walk numbers, but his approach seemed to degrade the longer he played, and he was very aggressive in Memphis. Obviously, there is both a layoff and an adjustment period to consider, so what Garcia does when he takes the field in 2018 will tell us a lot about the type of player he could be. He’s not the youngest prospect, nearing his 25th birthday after having played so successfully in Cuba, so the clock is somewhat ticking.
If he’s good, it will look like: I can see a little bit of Brian Jordan in Garcia’s all-around athletic ability, though I’m not sure Adolis is quite that level of freak athlete. Still, given my fondness for those early-90s Cardinal outfields of Jordan, Bernard Gilkey, and Ray Lankford, that’s where I go mentally when I consider the shape of Garcia’s game.