The St. Louis Cardinals promoted infielder Greg Garcia to the major leagues earlier this week. He hasn't received much attention outside Cardinals circles, but I think he could be a valuable player. He was hitting .267/.357/.535 with a surprising five homers in 86 at-bats for Triple-A Memphis, surprising given that his previous career high was 10.
I had him rated as a Sleeper Alert player entering 2013. Here is the comment I wrote about him in the 2013 Baseball Prospect Book:
SLEEPER ALERT!! Greg Garcia was a seventh round pick in 2010 from the University of Hawaii. He’s quietly had a very nice career thus far, and did a good job as Kolten Wong’s double play partner last year in Double-A. Garcia’s range is stretched at shortstop, but he has a strong arm and makes the routine plays he’s supposed to make without erroring up the place. He did very good work as a second baseman in the lower minors, and in the majors he could fit nicely as a utility guy. With the bat, Garcia features a short, quick line drive stroke and will flash some power at times. His best attribute is simple plate discipline: he knows how to work his way on base. I like him and consider him a sleeper who needs more attention. Grade C+.
This is what I wrote about him in the 2014 book:
I had Greg Garcia ranked as a sleeper entering 2013. He didn’t light up Triple-A but he wasn’t terrible, maintaining a solid OBP, swiping 14 bases in 16 attempts, and playing sound infield defense. His range is limited at shortstop, although he avoids mistakes. He’s competent at third base and excellent at second, giving him a typical utility profile. I think there could be more in the bat than he showed last year, though in St. Louis his destiny is bench work or trade bait. Grade C but as utility types go, I like him.
Between 2013 and 2014, Garcia now has 137 games of Triple-A under his belt, hitting .270/.373/.414 with 25 doubles, eight homers, 57 walks, and 92 strikeouts in 523 plate appearances, with 15 steals in 20 attempts.
Kolten Wong remains the superior long-term prospect, but I think Garcia can be a valuable utility/role player.