You’ve heard about AAA masher Robel Garcia by now. The 26-year-old switch-hitting infielder was a young Indians prospect six years ago when his very brief stateside career ended. In the ensuing years, he made his way to Italy, where he kept the professional dream alive. Somehow, he was discovered by the Cubs late last year and was signed to a minor league deal.
… but how exactly did that happen? How did the Cubs even find a guy who was playing in Italy, and how could they even tell he’d have a chance to hang on at AA, let alone destroy the pitching so badly that he required an almost immediate promotion to AAA, where he is now hitting .294/.366/.614?
Well, for that story, and so much more on how he’s been succeeding and what he could be for the Cubs, I implore you to read Sahadev Sharma’s latest:
Don't know if Robel Garcia will have the kind of impact in the bigs that he's had in the minors, but everyone I talked to, from Theo to McLeod to the area scout who found him, instantly said, "It's a great story" when asked about him. And it sure is. https://t.co/RITRveeQbw
— Sahadev Sharma (@sahadevsharma) June 25, 2019
Like I’ve said before, the 34.9% strikeout rate at AAA is pretty scary to me when it comes to projecting any kind of big league success for Garcia in the near-term. But, given his story, given the paucity of production the Cubs are seeing from their bench anyway, and given the chance that Garcia hits some bombs? What the heck. I want to see this guy get the call.
Maybe it won’t be this year. Maybe the Cubs will keep working with Garcia to cut down on the strikeouts while maintaining most of the power, and he’ll be a serious bench option next year. Either way, it does sound like the Cubs are taking his breakout very seriously.
“He’s a really intriguing player,” Cubs President of Baseball Operations Theo Epstein said of Garcia, per Sharma. “It is an incredible story. He hits the ball really, really hard from both sides of the plate. Gets it in the air a lot, especially left-handed, and he can get around on anybody’s fastball. Those are really good ingredients. It’ll be interesting to see how he does as the league adjusts to him a little bit and challenges him with heavier dose of breaking stuff. He’s got a chance to continue to make adjustments and continue to prove himself. He’s got some versatility to his game, certainly got some power to his game. It’s an intriguing fit for the club down the road …. We’ve spent a lot of time watching him, evaluating him, talking about him and looking forward to the next phases of his development.”
— Iowa Cubs (@IowaCubs) June 24, 2019
Keep an eye on this guy 👀 — Robel Garcia has 10 home runs in 31 games for the Iowa Cubs and 16 through 53 total games this season. pic.twitter.com/o0XcZr4UWl
— Iowa Cubs (@IowaCubs) June 12, 2019