Sox prospect Garcia likely to be in majors sooner than later
BY DARYL VAN SCHOUWEN firstname.lastname@example.org August 4, 2013 7:40PM
Updated: August 4, 2013 10:53PM
DETROIT — There is so much to look forward to when considering what Avisail Garcia, a 22-year-old five-tool prospect who already has played in a World Series, might bring to the White Sox.
Scouts, former teammates and coaches love his talent, upside and makeup. The
Detroit Tigers hated to see him go, but general manager Dave Dombrowski cut him loose in the three-team trade involving Jake Peavy because he needed shortstop Jose Iglesias.
Let’s get the knocks against Garcia out of the way first. It won’t take nearly as long as discussing what he can do well. His plate discipline could be better, and his weight — 240 pounds — will have to be watched.
Besides that, what’s not to love about a right fielder who can hit for average and power, throw, catch and run well for a big man? Especially for a franchise that had no prospects in his class, there is plenty.
‘‘His power,’’ Tigers first-base coach Rafael Belliard said. ‘‘You see him in batting practice, the way he hits the ball, it is similar to Miguel [Cabrera]. He has a lot of talent. He is going to be a great player someday — and not too far from now.’’
Garcia, who was called ‘‘Little Miggy’’ as a Tiger because of his resemblance to the reigning American League most valuable player and because he shadowed Cabrera last September and during the postseason, has spent most of this season in the minor leagues. He was hitting .380 with six home runs, seven doubles and three triples in a combined 39 games with Class AAA Toledo and Class A Lakeland (on a rehab assignment for a bruised heel). In 30 games with the Tigers, he hit .241 with two homers and 10 RBI.
Tigers manager Jim Leyland liked what he saw when his team was chasing down the Sox and winning the AL Central last September. Garcia batted .319 and was 6-for-23 with three RBI in the postseason, including 5-for-11 against the New York Yankees in the AL Championship Series. Against the Oakland Athletics in the AL Division Series, he showed off his arm by throwing out Coco Crisp at home plate.
‘‘He’s a great kid,’’ Leyland said. ‘‘He’s got a huge upside. I’m happy for him. If we’re not good enough to get him out, shame on us.’’
Garcia has a tendency to swing early in the count and expand the strike zone, but he is working on being more disciplined. He’s still young.
‘‘I’m trying to be better disciplined at the plate,’’ he said on a conference call Sunday. ‘‘At the same time, I’m trying to be consistent because this is a game where you have to be consistent. I work hard on all that stuff, everything. I’ve got to be disciplined at the plate.’’
The Sox assigned Garcia to Class AAA Charlotte after
the Peavy trade, which also brought them three prospects from the Boston Red Sox. Sox manager Robin Ventura hinted Garcia might join the Sox this week.
‘‘[General manager] Rick [Hahn] wanted to see what was going to happen through [July] 31st,’’ Ventura said. ‘‘But we’ll see what happens [Monday].
‘‘No, I don’t see a move [to the majors]. But once we get home and everyone gets together and starts discussing what’s going to happen from here on out, you never know what’s going to happen.’’
The Sox only will bring Garcia up from the minors to play him. When he arrives, fans and media will find him to be a likable sort.
‘‘I’m happy for the trade,’’ he said. ‘‘This is a new opportunity for me. I am thankful for that.’’