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Prospect Note: Leury Garcia, INF, Chicago White Sox

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Acquired earlier this month from the Rangers for Alex Rios, Garcia has some ability on defense and the bases but won't hit enough to start regularly.

Leury Garcia
Leury Garcia
Rick Yeatts

If you'll recall, the White Sox traded outfielder Alex Rios to the Rangers earlier this month, receiving infielder Leury Garcia in exchange. I never wrote an actual Prospect Trade Analysis because I was traveling at the time, so let's correct that oversight right now.

Garcia was signed by the Rangers out of the Dominican Republic in 2007. He didn't hit much in the low minors, struggling with a combination of poor plate discipline and lack of power, but he did steal a lot of bases including 51 in 2010, 30 in 2011, and 31 more last year.

Here is the report I wrote on him for my book this year:

Leury Garcia is an outstanding defensive infielder: he'd get a lot more play if the Rangers didn't have Jurickson Profar ahead of him on the shortstop prospect chart. As it stands, Garcia spends a lot of time at second base, but his range, hands, and arm strength make him a premium gloveman at short if given the chance. He's also an excellent baserunner with terrific speed, 75 or 80 on the 20- 80 scale, and unlike many such players he knows how to use it. Unfortunately, Garcia's total lack of power and his impatience at the plate cut into his value. Nobody expects home runs, but if he could boost his OBP he'd be a nice leadoff guy. He's likely a utility infielder in the long run, or trade bait. Grade C+.

Although the utility projection still seems reasonable, the C+ doesn't look like a good grade right now. The defense and speed are there, but he was badly overmatched during his big league exposure with the Rangers this spring (hitting .192/.236/.231 with 16 strikeouts in 52 at-bats) and hasn't exactly lit Triple-A on fire either, hitting .259/.304/.394 in 53 games between Round Rock in the Rangers system and Charlotte in the Sox system. He's a Grade C guy at this point.

Garcia's legs and glove will keep him on the fringes of the majors for several years, but bench work is his fate without unusual development with the bat. Players with this profile sometimes surprise us with hitting spikes in their late 20s, but generally that happens for guys who always made contact but just weren't strong enough to drive the ball. In Garcia's case, his lack of strength in addition to shaky plate discipline and a high whiff rate augers poorly for his future.