19 year old David Garcia was one of the prize J-2 signees of the Texas Rangers in July, 2016. The switch-hitting catcher from Venezuela got an $800,000 signing bonus and was brought along slowly, spending 2017 in the DSL, where he slashed .215/.321/.280, and 2018 in the AZL, slashing .269/.320/.361.
While the numbers the previous two years for Garcia weren’t great, Scott Lucas noted that he seemed to figure something out in the second half last year — Garcia had a 370 OPS on July 14 of last year, roughly the halfway point of the AZL season, then slashed .364/.400/.525 the rest of the way.
Garcia had a pair of home runs yesterday for Spokane, and seems to be in the midst of a breakout year. He has a .256/.322/.526 slash line in 87 plate appearances over 21 games, and like last year, is getting better as the season goes on — he has a 937 OPS in July. And his slash line would look even better if he had been credited with a home run on a ball that was (incorrectly) called foul earlier this week, resulting in the ejection of the Spokane Indians manager.
Its worth noting that Garcia is doing this in a very pitcher-friendly league — the Northwest League has an ERA of 3.95 this year, and the league as a whole has a 682 OPS.
As far as his defense goes, MLB Pipeline praises his quickness and athleticism, and he’s thrown out a third of base runners trying to steal against him so far this season. The questions about Garcia have tended, up to this point, to be about his bat, rather than his glove.
Garcia is still a long ways away, and as a smaller catcher, he’s going to have to prove next year he can handle the grind of full season ball. But it’s been an encouraging year so far for a guy who has generally been under the radar since signing three years ago, and he’s someone to keep an eye on going forward.