The Pirates Prospects 2016 Prospect Guide is now on sale. The book features prospect reports on everyone in the system, the 2016 top 50 prospects, and the most comprehensive coverage of the Pirates’ farm system that you can find. Subscribers to the site get free and discounted books, with Top Prospect subscribers getting the 2016 book for free, and Annual subscribers getting $10 off. Both levels of subscribers can also get the book for just $5. Details on all three promotions can be found on the products page, and you can subscribe to the site or upgrade your current plan on the subscriptions page.
While the top 50 prospects are exclusive to the book, we will be releasing the top 20 prospects over the next few weeks. The reports will only be available to site subscribers, including those with a monthly plan. You can subscribe here, and if you like these reports, be sure to purchase your copy of the book on the products page of the site to get much more analysis on every player in the system.
We start the countdown with the number 20 prospect, Willy Garcia.
20. Willy Garcia, RF
There was a time when Garcia was considered to be a better prospect than Gregory Polanco and Alen Hanson. He had five tool potential, with a lot of raw power and the best arm in the system. His value has dropped since then, although he still features the best raw power in the system, and the best outfield arm in the system.
Garcia’s issues have largely revolved around a high strikeout total and a low walk total. He was striking out in a third of his at-bats in 2013 and 2014 between Bradenton and Altoona, which really limited his production. That was a big focus for him heading into the 2015 season.
After another slow start in Altoona, Garcia cut his strikeouts down to 15.6% from May 1st until mid-June, when he was promoted to Indianapolis. The downside to this is that his power took a dip during this same stretch. The success was due to shortening his swing with two strikes, leading to more contact and a higher average. He started slow after the move to Indianapolis, but finished strong in August with an .884 OPS. His strikeout rate was still high, but better than numbers in prior years.
The 2015 season saw two versions of Garcia. One was a guy who hit for average and didn’t strike out, but lacked power. The other had power, struck out less than before, but didn’t hit for average. Neither drew walks, and Garcia’s former speed has declined, making him a right field only option, and removing the threat on the bases. If he can learn to combine both approaches, he could emerge as a starter in the majors, with the potential for a lot of offensive value, and an elite arm out of right field. He’s still very young, so that development is possible. If that doesn’t happen, he would make a great fourth outfielder, with a lot of value coming from his arm and power off the bench.