The Pirates Prospects 2015 Prospect Guide is now on sale. The book features prospect reports on everyone in the system, the 2015 top 50 prospects, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find. While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, we will be releasing the top 20 prospects over the next few weeks. Be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site.
To recap the countdown so far:
We continue the countdown with the number 18 prospect, Willy Garcia.
18. Willy Garcia, OF
Garcia was once seen as the best prospect out of a group that included Gregory Polanco and Alen Hanson. The Pirates paid him a bonus higher than the bonus those two players received, combined, and he was seen as a potential five tool guy. Garcia’s value has dropped since then, in large part to his strikeout issues and lack of walks.
There have been two main areas where Garcia has shown a lot of success – power and defense. He has displayed a lot of home run power in each of the last three years, and the isolated power numbers are trending upwards as he moves up in the minors. The power numbers come with horrible strikeout rates and low walks, but with power becoming rare across the game, that’s a tradeoff teams might be more willing to make going forward.
The defense in right field is also notable, with Garcia earning the “Best Arm” designation in his league from Baseball America in each of his last two seasons. His arm is plus-plus, and rates as the best outfield arm in the system. He has lost some of his speed since he entered the system, but still has enough range to provide value in right field.
Garcia has fallen behind Polanco and Hanson, but is starting to revive his prospect status, and was even added to the 40-man roster over the off-season. He has been trending upwards not only in power, but in average and on-base percentage in each of the last two years. He might not be the five tool guy he was projected to become, but his power and arm give him two very good tools to work with. He could eventually be a starting right fielder in the majors, although his upside with the Pirates is more likely to be a strong fourth outfielder who can provide power and defense and play center field in a pinch.