The Cincinnati Reds shortstop heading into the 2020 season certainly appears to be Freddy Galvis. After acquiring the Major League Baseball veteran from Toronto on waivers in mid-August. With Jose Iglesias around, though, Galvis didn’t play much at shortstop after joining Cincinnati late in the year – getting just 41.1 innings across seven games there. But after an offseason of rumors with the organization trying to acquire several different shortstops, the Reds seemed content heading into 2020 with Galvis ready to take over the job for the season. But this spring one guy’s gotten the attention as the likely next shortstop – Jose Garcia.
The 21-year-old from Cuba has a team best three home runs already on the spring. He’s hitting .364 with a walk, a double, and the previously mentioned three homers. He’s slugging 1.273 thus far in 14 plate appearances and has yet to strike out. Oh, and he’s added a stolen base for good measure. But he’s not just impressing on offense, Garcia has also shown off the defensive abilities several times already this spring. Likely to begin the year in Double-A Chattanooga, with a strong season he could be pushing for time in Cincinnati relatively soon.
But it’s not just Garcia that’s out to a good start so far this spring. Another Cuban shortstop, Alfredo Rodriguez, is doing well in his own right. The 25-year-old has already picked up five hits in 15 at-bats this year, leading to a .333 average. Not known for having any sort of power – he had five total home runs in 313 minor league games in his career – Rodriguez has a double and an opposite field home run to his name this spring. That’s led to a .600 slugging percentage so far. Known far more for his glove, he too has shown off the defensive skills out in the greater Phoenix area so far this year.
For Rodriguez, in 2019 he started showing signs of coming alive at the plate – even if it was just a little bit. In his previous stops he had posted a 72 OPS+ in Daytona in 2017, and then after an injury derailed the first three-and-a-half months of 2018, he returned to Daytona and put up a 71 OPS+ over the final month of the season. But in 2019 he got to Double-A and remained healthy, hitting .286/.325/.347. There was still no power at all, but he cut down on his strikeout rate and showed signs that his bat may be improving – posting a 96 OPS+ before a promotion to Triple-A. Things didn’t go well there in 23 games played to end the year – but it was just three weeks. He’ll likely return to Louisville to begin the season.