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Thoughts on San Francisco Giants prospect Aramis Garcia

He’s hit two homers in his first four MLB games. . .

New York Mets v San Francisco Giants Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

From the Minor League Ball mailbag:

“Tell me what you think about Aramis Garcia in the SFG system”——Tom S., St. George, Utah

Garcia has played in four games since being promoted to the major leagues by the San Francisco Giants, going 4-for-11 with a pair of home runs, making this a fine time to answer Tom’s question.

The Giants selected Aramis Garcia in the second round in 2014 from Florida International University. He’s always stood out for his raw power, including 17 homers with a .274/.323/.485 line between High-A and Double-A in 2017.

Garcia ranked 10th on the San Francisco Giants pre-season Top 20 prospects list with this comment:

10) Aramis Garcia, C-1B, Grade B-/C+: Age 25, second round pick in 2014 from Florida International University; hit combined .274/.323/.485 with 32 doubles, 17 homers, 24 walks, 94 strikeouts in 402 at-bats between High-A and Double-A; rather old for just figuring out advanced minor league pitching but has been slowed by injuries; very good power, can be impatient and probably won’t hit for high averages in the majors but should contribute HRs; pretty good defensive catcher who can also play a competent first base; ETA late 2018.

He split 2018 between Double-A Richmond (.233/.287/.395, 11 homers in 301 at-bats) and Triple-A Sacramento (.237/.268/.263 in 38 at-bats), combining for 22 walks and 88 strikeouts this year.

Garcia is 6-2, 220, a right-handed hitter age 25. As noted power has always been his calling card and he’s demonstrated it in his first four games quite nicely. He’s also turned himself into a decent defensive catcher. Although not especially deadly against runners (22 percent caught this year, 31 percent over his whole career), his receiving skills have improved substantially since he was drafted and he’s certainly playable behind the plate.

There are two negatives for Garcia. One; at age 25 he’s not young as prospects go. Two; his power has developed at the expense of his pure hitting skills, with his plate discipline deteriorating as he’s moved up. He may struggle to clear .240 in the majors and his OBP won’t be much to talk about, but his combination of power and viable defense should keep him in the picture for several years.

All told he’s right on the edge between C+ and B- grade-wise. Garcia has a window of opportunity to contribute right now but Joey Bart, 2018 first-rounder, is the clear favorite as the eventual successor to Buster Posey.