Throughout the minor league season, I will be writing about a prospect every Monday who has reached the AA level or higher that could be on your fantasy roster by season's end, and what you should know about them. Now that the Rangers were nice enough to take Alex Rios off the White Sox' hands, they have called up outfielder Avisail Garcia. Let's take a look at what he can do for fantasy owners the rest of the way, and into 2014.
Weight: 240 lbs.
On 40-man roster: Yes (2 options used - 2012, 2013)
Age as of 8/12/13: 22
Garcia was signed by the Tigers in July 2007 for a bonus of $200,000. The organization kept him in the Venezuelan Summer League for the 2008 season before sending him to the Midwest League in 2009. He played in 81 games there that year, hitting .264/.289/.324 with 1 home run, 8 stolen bases, 8 walks, and 70 strikeouts. He returned to West Michigan for the 2010 season, playing the full year and improving his production somewhat. This time around he tallied 4 home runs and 20 stolen bases, along with a .281/.313/.356 slash line. His walk rate improved ever so slightly (if moving up to 3.8% from 2.5% is really considered an improvement), while his strikeout rate held steady (22% vs. 21%).
The Tigers continued to move Garcia up, sending him to High-A for 2011. Another season of middling numbers, but the Tigers had to make a decision on Garcia, and added him to the 40-man roster following the season. He returned again to High-A to start 2012, but it appeared that something had clicked by midseason. He hit .289/.324/.447 in 67 games before being promoted to AA Erie. A .312/.345/.465 through August 30th ended up getting Garcia a call to the Majors, where he hit an empty .319 in 23 regular season games, and was even on the playoff roster for the Tigers' run to the World Series.
The signing of free agent Torii Hunter was expected to keep Garcia in AAA to start the season, and an injury kept his season from starting until early May. Since then, he has split time between AAA and the Majors, was included in the Jake Peavy trade, and now appears likely to be the everyday right fielder for the White Sox for the foreseeable future.
The Scouting Report - Scouting reports are gathered from other internet sources and written reports, unless otherwise noted.
Avisail Garcia is considered to be an extremely toolsy prospect, although there have been flaws in his game which could lead to struggles. He is widely viewed as a 5-tool potential prospect, although they don't always play to their potential in game. He is anticipated to provide solid power, and how much he can continue to improve his pitch recognition will determine how much it will play. Despite his size, Garcia is considered an average runner, and should provide some stolen bases as well. There's a lot to like with Garcia based on the reports I've read, but the difference between his floor and his ceiling is still extremely wide. He is expected to slot into a corner outfield spot in the long term, and has the arm to play right field no problem.
What Can He Do For Fantasy Owners at this Point?
Garcia is anticipated to play everyday, and so far has also seen time in center field and right field for the White Sox. With a little over six weeks to go, I think we get a solid batting average from Garcia (.270-.280 range), although it likely won't help much in OBP leagues (.310-.320 seems reasonable) given that average. I can also see 5-6 home runs and 5-6 stolen bases from here on out. In future years, I think we could be looking at a potential 20-20 bat with a solid batting average if everything clicks. He's probably already been owned in AL-only leagues for a while now, but I could see him having solid value in even 12 team leagues, especially if you start 5 outfielders.