Two summers ago the Cincinnati Reds signed Cuban shortstop Jose Garcia. He didn’t play that first season after signing. Last year he came to spring training and played so well it changed the Reds plans for him, and they sent him out to join the Dayton Dragons. He had missed the previous two seasons after leaving Cuba, and while he stood out in spring training, he struggled in 2018 for the Dragons. In 125 games he hit just .245/.290/.344 with 19 walks and 112 strikeouts. Defensively he stood out, showing good range, a plus arm, and good hands at the position. Scouts didn’t seem concerned about the offense, believing the tools and skills were there and would eventually start to show up on the field.

Fast forward to 2019 and a promotion to Advanced-A Daytona and Jose Garcia is starting to do just that: show the hitting tools that he flashed when the Reds signed him after leaving Cuba as an 18-year-old. He had been hitting well heading into Monday’s double header for the Tortugas, but a big day between the two games took his numbers on the season to the next level.

In the first game of the double header, Jose Garcia went 1-3 with a double and an RBI. That stretched his on-base streak to 19 games. In the second game of the double header he led things off with a solo home run. It was his third homer of the season and went 415 feet to center field. He’d add a single and then a double later in the game. His on-base streak currently sits at 20 games.

After starting the season on the injured list, he’s been with the Daytona Tortugas for 24 games now, dating back to late April. Overall he’s hitting .286/.349/.480 with 12 extra-base hits. He’s walked 8 times and struck out just 19 times on the season. His walk rate is up. The strikeout rate is down. And the power is significantly up, too. And all of that is happening in the Florida State League, where power is suppressed like crazy. The current line in the league is .241/.315/.354.

Stuart Fairchild’s Sizzling May continues

It’s not just Jose Garcia that’s swinging a hot bat for Daytona. Outfielder Stuart Fairchild may be swinging the hottest bat of anyone in the entire organization. And it’s got to be a breath of fresh air, too, because he may have had the worst bat in April. Over 15 games played during April, Fairchild hit just .130/.203/.167. Things simply didn’t go his way, in any sort of fashion during the month.

But with April behind him, Stuart Fairchild turned everything around. Monday’s double header may have been the peak of that turn around. In the first game of the double header he went 3-3 with a home run and a double. In the second game he went 1-1 with a double and 2 walks. Through 14 games during May the outfielder has hit .392/.458/.667. And again, let’s recall that the league is hitting .241/.315/.354.

21 Responses

  1. MikeD

    Hopefully Garcia gets bumped to Double A around mid-season and gets acclimated and rolls in 2020. Watching Didi Gregorius excel has been painful, so I hope the Reds hold onto Garcia.

    • MK

      The key will be Trahan. With he and Luis Gonzales at Louisville and Alf Rod and Daal at Chattanooga there doesn’t seem to be much room for Garcia at the next level. It would seem of the group Trahan is the one who is maxed out on potential and would have to move to make room.

      • kevinz

        If Garcia Performs he Bumps Luis and Daal for playing time.
        Both are Bench players at best. Garcia has a chance to be a Reg starter to a star.

      • The Duke

        Trahan, AlfRod, Luis G, and Daal are closer to org depth than future piece at this point. Can’t rule out something clicking for one of them and surprising us, but i’m not seeing any of the four as a likely contributor in the future. Especially not to the point to keep Garcia down if the brass thinks he is ready for the next step.

    • wes

      With the surgence and money they spent on AlfRod- he has to about ready to take Trahan’s spot. He’s D is as good and neither can hit and opens up a 40 man spot….

      As far as promotions go- I am almost always a fan of moving guys as fast as possible, but I don’t think I move Garcia- guys in spots like this where they first start having some success- I leave it be in hopes it continues. IMO 80% of guys in minors aren’t good enough to play in majors while 20% just aren’t ready- keep grooming Garcia.

      • Colorado Red

        While the surge is important, the money spent, is gone.
        I think he should be promoted about mid-season, if he continues to play well. But the money should not matter.

  2. The Duke

    Garcia was the most impressive athlete from the “eye test” the games I saw the Dragons play last year. Moved significantly more fluidly than Jeter Downs and really displayed his athleticism defensively. The bat speed was good, but you could tell he was working through the rust of that long layoff. That he is showing this kind of power in the FSL is very promising, and given his frame I wouldn’t rule out a 20+ HR kind of bat at SS. If he can maintain some consistentcy throughout the season, he is a top 3 kind of prospect in the system by the end of the year.

    I was a Fairchild fan last year and was discouraged by his struggles in A+ both last year after Dayton and to start this year. This month he’s looked like the guy he was his junior year at Wake Forest. Not sure he is ever more than a 4th OF, but he could be a good one of those and I wouldn’t be completely shocked to see him hit a ceiling of a solid starter in CF.

    • kevinz

      I agree Duke. I wonder if Garcia stays at SS. That is my only ?. I just hope he lives up to his Ceiling . I am over excited about him. I get only has about 100 ab in A+ though.

      • The Duke

        I think he ends up as above average to plus at SS let alone question if he sticks there. The range and arm are already there, and the glove work isn’t that far behind.

      • kevinz

        Thanks a lot Doug and The Duke. I was not sure if would out grow SS. Happy to hear can stick at SS. Staying at SS makes his Value even Higher.

      • The Duke

        Garcia is taller, but his isn’t a frame that is going to get huge. His power comes from bat speed moreso than raw strength.

  3. RojoBenjy

    MK & The Duke—always enjoy your perspectives. Thank you.

    • barryh

      I second that. Love the comments on this site better than any other. Thanks

  4. cinvenfan

    I wonder if playing in extreme environments like FSL (for hitters) is affecting the players’ development. It’s annoying to see every generation with a terrible hitting approach of swinging for the fences at every pitch. Guys like Dunn, the poster Boy for it, were always all-or nothing. We see it with current prospects (Siri,Aquino, among many others). They feel the pressure to perform and the numbers just don’t show much so they start to get into bad habits. Add the fact that GABP ‘invites’ to get ‘greedy’ for the fences and that might explain some of the hitting flaws. It gets worst in big stadiums where the ball doesn’t travel as much.
    This issue has plagued the team for this long drought of almost 2 decades. Big home run hitters, huge K%, no situational hitting, no ‘small ball’. So it’s not Ward, Don Long or whoever were before ‘per se’. I remember when Reds players in the minors were ordered to take a strike. It seemed extreme and many people laughed at it, but perhaps the philosphy behind it wasn’t wrong at all.
    Perhaps the organization has to make a real effort to play in ‘neutral leagues’.
    It’s just an opinion, though.

    • Doug Gray

      While playing in a neutral league is ideal, the problem is that half of Triple-A doesn’t allow that, and half of Advanced-A doesn’t, either. The FSL is extreme on one end, and the Cal League is extreme on the other. And with most of the FSL locked up because of the spring training homes, plenty of the league is locked out of even being available.

    • The Duke

      For hitters I like being in the FSL. Let them struggle a bit and see how they respond. You have to be wary of pitching stats in the FSL though, which is why I would agree a neutral park factor league would be ideal so both sides can be adequately judged.

      • DaveCT

        I agree. I believe there are benefits from developing hit tools based on any given scenarios, ie the FSL. For lack of better words, I imagine a line drive approach works better there vs. a ‘launch angle’ designed to hit the ball into that humid air.

  5. cinvenfan

    Thanks for the replies. Certainly we don’t live in an ideal world and as Doug mentions, it’s hard to get into some leagues or teams that are considered much or less neutral.
    Perhaps more emphasis in contact & discipline instead of power after playing out of the FSL would be adviceable.

  6. kevinz

    Small Sample Size. I noticed Garcia India Fairchild. All RHH crushing RHP.
    I wonder if having that CF to RF approach helping with that?
    All RHH stink at MLB level vs RHP. JW if that is the approach taking with the RHH in the MILB?

  7. kevinz

    I am only bringing this up since all 3 are RHH. All 3 not hitting LHP at all. Surely it could be just a smaller sample size vs LHP.