There are a lot of baseball prospect lists in the world today, and one name many Reds fans are finding on them is Jose Garcia.
The 22-year-old shortstop (he turns 23 in April) was No. 79 on Baseball America's top 100 prospects list before the 2021 season. He was one of two Reds players on the list, with 2020 first-round pick Austin Hendrick being the other.
Garcia was the No. 6-ranked prospect on MLB's own Reds rankings a year ago and he made his debut that same season. Garcia wowed in spring training before the pandemic ended it early in March.
In late August against the Brewers, he joined the Reds for the stretch run as they reached the postseason.
It came with mixed results. Garcia struggled to hit, batting .194 in 67 at-bats and driving in two runs. He struck out 26 times. But he did show flashes of defensive acumen.
There should be some optimism around Garcia. He joined the Reds to improve the infield defense last year despite having never played at Double-A or Triple-A. The Reds continue to be high on Garcia as an organization, constantly calling him the team's future at the position.
At 6-foot-2, 175 pounds, Garcia definitely has the build of a major league player.
Here are three things to know about Jose Garcia.
Barry Larkin loves Jose Garcia
When Barry Larkin was named a member of the Reds broadcast team before the 2021 season, he heaped praise on Garcia:
“I still believe that long-term Jose Garcia is going to be a monster. My hope is that he’s given enough time to develop. Obviously, we saw last year that he wasn't (ready) quite offensively – I think he caught just about everything that was hit his way, but he's still young, and he's growing.”
No one should question Larkin's eye for shortstop talent. The Moeller High School alum is the greatest shortstop in team history and a Major League Baseball Hall of Famer who played 19 seasons with the Reds.
The Reds have spent all offseason trying to add a Major League-ready shortstop, and Larkin chiming in on the situation is somewhat ironic. Larkin's 19-year run as the team's shortstop followed Dave Concepcion's tenure as the team's shortstop.
Since Larkin retired, the Reds went from having mostly two shortstops start full-time from 1970 to 2004, to 72 starting at the position since then.
Jose Garcia is from Cuba
Over the last decade or so, the Reds have gone to Cuba for talent. All-Star Aroldis Chapman and standout closer Raisel Iglesias were splashy international signings.
The Reds signed Garcia as a 19-year-old and he reportedly received a $5 million signing bonus. It came on the heels of the Reds previously adding two other Cuban players, Alfredo Rodriguez and Vladimir Gutierrez.
Jose Garcia and Aroldis Chapman share the same gym, maybe
Just before Spring Training started, Garcia was spotted at a gym with Chapman working out.
Chapman, looking rather fit these days, had 146 saves, a 2.17 ERA and 646 strikeouts during his time with the Reds from 2010-2015. He was the closer for most of those seasons.
Chapman made four All-Star appearances as a Red.
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