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.