Jose Garcia Bulks Up His Game
Since the Reds signed Jose Garcia out of Cuba in June 2017, they have never worried whether he would be able to stick at shortstop.
This remains true even as the 21-year-old Garcia continues to add weight to his 6-foot-2 frame at high Class A Daytona.
"He's bigger than 175 (pounds)," vice president of player development Shawn Pender said. "He's going to end up to be in the 6-3, 200-pound range."
Pender recently watched Garcia play shortstop in the Florida State League.
"He is going to (be able to play there)," Pender said. "He's able to move, he's got the arm, the instincts. That was the question early on. He's still very young in the face, and there's more physical projection for him. He's not shown any reason to think he can't play there."
This is Garcia's second season in the United States, but the first in which he has been healthy. He had shoulder surgery before the 2018 season and played in 125 games at low Class A Dayton.
This year at Daytona he hit .252/.3211/.399 with five home runs and 27 doubles through 77 games in an extreme pitcher's league.
"He's going to have power with capable play at shortstop," Pender said. "He has a strong arm that he's now learning to use. He's has a projectable frame."
A member of the Cuban junior national team before the Reds signed him, Garcia played second base for Cuba, but the Reds have seen him as a shortstop all along.
"This kid is very talented, but he's very intelligent and mature for his age," Pender said of Garcia. "I think anyone who saw him last year would have said he had a good chance to be a player. Now it's happening . . . He's been going great. Next year at 22 he will be at Double-A and be ready to make the next, final jump."
— Double-A Chattanooga outfielder TJ Friedl had ankle surgery in late July, ending his season.
— Triple-A Louisville outfielder Brian O'Grady set a Bats record for most homers in a season since the franchise has been affiliated with the Reds, a history that dates back to 2000. O'Grady hit his his 26th on July 17.