This article was originally published at the Redbird Daily by Colin Garner, and is now proud to call the Cards Conclave home. Throughout July, we’ll be re-running all 30 Prospect articles as we lead up to Colin’s Mid-Season Prospect Update later in the month.
In Collaboration with Kyle Reis and Birds On The Black, Colin Garner presents you with The Cardinals Top 30 Prospects! Today, we have #12, Jose Adolis Garcia.
12. Jose Adolis Garcia – OF
Signed on February 24, 2017
Entering age-25 season
Double-A wRC+: 124
|2017||24||-0.7||2 Teams||2 Lgs||AA-AAA||STL||124||489||445||64||129||34||2||15||65||15||9||33||108||.290||.340||.476||.817||212||12||4||1||6||2|
What I Like
When it comes to pure physicality, JAG is second to none in the Cardinals system. On the 2-80 scale, Fangraphs evaluated him at 50 raw power, 60 speed, and 70 arm strength. While other outfielders might have better individual tools than JAG, none blend them quite as well as he does.
When he was assigned to Springfield last year, he was an unknown. He had been signed roughly a month earlier, and I knew very little about him. It became clear very early on that he was a very athletic player with potential for plus game power. Early in the season, he showed it.
Notice the pitch was a curveball. Off-speed pitches gave JAG some trouble, but in the video above he crushed a hanger. Overall, JAG did everything the organization asked of him in Springfield. In 342 plate appearances, he hit .285/.339/.476 with 12 homers.
He forced his way to Triple-A and he did… fine. Honestly, he really didn’t do poorly, it was just uncharacteristic production. He hit .301, which is obviously really good, and he maintained a .342 on-base percentage. The coolest thing he did, though, was hit a walk-off homer in the Pacific Coast League playoffs.
He’s played really well in the first week of Spring Training games, hitting .412 with a homer. Spring Training stats are pretty meaningless and, with Harrison Bader and Tyler O’Neill ahead of him on the depth chart, JAG is still a longshot to make the Opening Day roster. That being said, they’ve been playing him in center field, even when he’s shared an outfield with Oscar Mercado. That tells me the club thinks he could be a bigger part of their 2018 plans than the average fan expects.
What I Don’t Like
His power absolutely disappeared when he went to Memphis. The Pacific Coast League and Autozone Park are hitters havens, so the power evaporation was really unexpected. Especially considering JAG definitely wasn’t overwhelmed by the pitching — he hit .301 for a wRC+ of 110.
His approach can be Randal Grichuk-esque. Even though be crushed a hanging curveball in the video above, he can still get a little swing happy and chase pitches out of the zone. He struck out 22% of the time in Double-A last season, and there were stretches where it was a real struggle for him to put the ball in play.
His walk rate, which wasn’t terrible at 7.6% in Double-A, absolutely plummeted in Triple-A to under 5%. Increasing your walk rate is like diversifying a financial portfolio — it’s not the most fun thing to do, but it can go a long way towards making a player more consistent. A little more on-base skill would allow JAG to be a well above-average player even if he’s not hitting for power.
All things considered, I want JAG to get at least another half season in Memphis. Like I said before, he did just fine, but I think there’s more potential than what he showed. I’d love to see him start the season in Memphis, hit a few home runs early, maybe take a few more walks, and be in a position to help the big league team in the case of an injury.
Thanks for reading! As always thanks to Baseball Reference and Fangraphs for their statistics databases. Be sure to check out Kyle’s post tomorrow at Birds On The Black, and listen to Prospect To Be Named Later for even more minor league content.