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Luis Garcia (WAS INF) 2022 Outlook


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Nationals recalled INF Luis García from Triple-A Rochester.

Advice: He'll replace Alcides Escobar, who is going on the injured list with a hamstring strain. García mostly struggled in his first taste of MLB action between 2020-2021, but the 22-year-old former top-100 prospect boasts a .309/.369/.562 batting line with 21 home runs in 79 career games at the Triple-A level. Maybe he'll figure it out this time around with an opportunity for regular action on the Nationals' infield. García is starting at shortstop and hitting seventh on Wednesday afternoon against the Mets.

 

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We could all be so lucky to "mostly struggle" in our first taste of MLB action hitting .254 with 8 HR across 110 games as a 20 / 21 year old.

AAA numbers look good and he's still just 22 years old -- so sure, why not. Sign me up.

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I'm still not sure what to expect. I think it was Keith Law that a few years back said his only tool was age. That sounds more harsh than really was intended. But Garcia has never done any one thing particular well and his minor league numbers are kind of okayish. But he's also been really young for his levels, hinting at future growth. He was slightly above average at Rookie, A, and A+ ball before hitting AA while still just 18 (he's born in May) in 2019. It was there he struggled a bit. Then the pandemic year, where Washington actually had him in the majors a good majority of the season. He wasn't good, but for a 20 year old without a ton of minor league experience or much success above A+ ball, it was decent if grading on a curve. He split 2021 between the majors and AAA. He made baby steps at the MLB level, but was excellent in his time in AAA. That showed the potential for a break out. He then was kept down in AAA for the start of 2022, probably due to service time issues. He again hit very well in AAA in his time there.

 

He's not slow, but not super fast or a prolific base stealer. HIs power has generally been poor, at least until 2021. There seems to be real growth in the last year plus in that department. He hit 1 HR in nearly 50 games or rookie ball in 2017. 7 HRs across two levels in 2018. Then just 4 HRs all year in AA in 2019. But in 2021, he hit 13 HRs in just 37 AAA games (and another 6 in the majors). The most encouraging sign is his exit velocity. In 2020, when he was clearly rushed, he was at a lowly 83.5 mph in exit velocity. In 2021 during his time in the majors, he got it up to 86.8. In his brief time so far in 2022, it's been 97 mph. It's too small a sample size to really says what his true level is, but he's hitting the ball WAY harder. Arguably his best tool is his Ks. He's never struck out more than 20.9% of the time at any level, and the 20.9% was in 2020 when he was rushed to the majors. He's otherwise been between 15-17%. His walk rate has gotten better the last two years at AAA, so there's some hope for growth there too. So it seems like he's a guy that will put the ball in play a fair amount, except now he's hitting it hard enough to do real damage. Maybe toss in a few steals and that's not bad a for a middle infielder. A more natural 2B, he's been playing SS so far in 2022. It's a work in progress, if you're being kind. So likely more of a 2B long-term in all likelihood. But he's just 22 and seems like a bona fide MLB hitter. And there's certainly room to move up the line up if he succeeds.

 

The one thing I really like here is the exit velocity spike, and I'd at least try and gamble on players like that if I can.

 

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4 minutes ago, einstein2u said:

Love for him to get moved up in the order 

Could easily happen, Soto/Cruz/Bell are likely penciled in but the other five guys all have .320 or worse obp.  

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I saw him yesterday for the first time.  I know he didn't have a good game but he did not pass the eye test for me.   I watched video of him as well and wasn't impressed with his swing.  

Am I the only one?

Some guys don't look good hitting but still produce.  

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Really disappointed on his first two steal attempts he was CS.   That might put the brakes on him running.  

Not sure how he can move up in the order unless their is an injury.

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1 hour ago, jwblue said:

Really disappointed on his first two steal attempts he was CS.   That might put the brakes on him running.  

Not sure how he can move up in the order unless their is an injury.

You've seen the Nats batting order right? I can find about 123,343,455,667 different ways he can move up. I mean you probably couldn't pick a much worse offense. Pittsburgh I'd give you. Oh, and Detroit has been straight trash. Almost forgot about them. Still, outside of Soto and Bell, it's forgettable. The Nats will probably stick Cruz in a decent spot and there's one or two decent young guys like Ruiz. But there's all other sorts of options.

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I like Garcia and claimed him everywhere I could, but his plate discipline numbers could be a problem. If he qualified he'd have the highest o-swing% in the league, highest swing% in the leauge, 3rd highest swinging strike%, and the 13th worst contact%. Swinging a lot and not making a lot of contact. Luckily he's doing damage when he does make contact(top 15 avg EV), but that's a difficult thing to keep doing successfully.  He'll def have to make some adjustments soon if he's going to continue the success. @Ryansm11his profile looks a lot like Baez right now. 

 

I think long term he'll be a good player, and anything we get this year is icing on the cake from a relatively off the radar 22 year old. If he were on a semi-competitive team that promoted him on a normal timeline, he'd probably be a fairly high ranked prospect on mid-season/offseason lists. 

 

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21 minutes ago, mavsfan23 said:

I like Garcia and claimed him everywhere I could, but his plate discipline numbers could be a problem. If he qualified he'd have the highest o-swing% in the league, highest swing% in the leauge, 3rd highest swinging strike%, and the 13th worst contact%. Swinging a lot and not making a lot of contact. Luckily he's doing damage when he does make contact(top 15 avg EV), but that's a difficult thing to keep doing successfully.  He'll def have to make some adjustments soon if he's going to continue the success. @Ryansm11his profile looks a lot like Baez right now. 

 

I think long term he'll be a good player, and anything we get this year is icing on the cake from a relatively off the radar 22 year old. If he were on a semi-competitive team that promoted him on a normal timeline, he'd probably be a fairly high ranked prospect on mid-season/offseason lists. 

 

All great points.  It takes a player with a special hit tool to be successful with that approach.  The good part is he might have that type of hit tool.

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No. 8 hitter Luis Garcia homered for one of the Nationals' two runs Wednesday against the Braves.

Advice: We're not there quite yet, for some reason, but eventually Dave Martnez is going to decide there's no good reason to continue batting Garcia at the bottom of the order. Garcia is batting .352 with five extra-base hits in 57 plate appearances since his callup. Don't quote us on this, but that's probably as many extra-base hits as Alcides Escobar has collected since 2013.

(NBCSportsEDGE.com)

 

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Check out his splits vs Fastballs/off speed/breaking balls.  He absolutely destroys fastballs and can’t touch anything else.  As you point out he’s just up there hacking and sitting fastball all day.  If he can crank a hr off an up and in fb from strider, he can obviously hit any fb, but feel like he’s gonna go through a learning phase like Eloy Jimenez did his rookie year where pitchers through him insane amounts of off speed/breaking pitches. 
 

Edit: for the record while this is all bad news, he’s still pretty enticing for a 22 year old.  The rest of this season and beginning of next year will be very telling though. 

Edited by BackyardBaseball
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I think there's some overreaction to a small sample going on here. He's had 57 plate appearances against Major League pitching this year. He's never had a season long k rate over 20%. I don't think he can keep up this level of production, but he's not a free swinger and it's probably too early to say he can't hit breaking or off speed pitches. 

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I mean not to absolutely blast the train out of the station but:

Savant has enough data to chart his max exit velo which is 92% and his sprint speed which is 66%. Additionally for the fastball vs other pitches debate Garcia is getting less fastballs than last year (down from 51% to 38%) and more off speed (up from 14% to 27%) and still doing well. So I guess what I’m saying is… 🚂🚂🚂

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