Back in July 2017, the Phillies signed a 16-year-old shortstop from the Dominican Republic named Luis Garcia.
They liked him so much that they gave him a $2.5 million bonus.
“Keep an eye on this guy,” a team official said at the time.
Garcia, who turned 18 on Oct. 1, has proven to be worth the attention. He won the Gulf Coast League batting title (.369) and finished third (.433) in on-base percentage this summer. He was named to the league's postseason All-Star team.
Now comes more recognition for the 5-foot-11, 170-pound switch-hitter.
In its latest issue, Baseball America names Garcia as the top prospect — No. 1 — in the Gulf Coast League. The publication describes Garcia as “a smooth, graceful defender with quick feet, great hands and a plus arm.” It goes on to say he “makes smart decisions and plays under control.” At the plate, Garcia shows “a mature hitting approach from both sides, staying within the strike zone and spraying line drives around the field with gap power.”
Though Garcia has always been a shortstop, the Phillies played him a little bit at second base this fall in the Florida Instructional League. Garcia could be ready for Single A Lakewood in April.
Obviously, Garcia has many miles to go in the development process, but there's a lot to like and it's always fun to watch a talented kid progress.
If Garcia makes it to Philadelphia — as many believe he will — he will become the second Luis Garcia to play for the Phillies. Reliever Luis Garcia, also a native of the Dominican Republic, has been with the club since 2013.