Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Your 2014 Giants Second Round Pick: Mr. Clean

Catcher Aramis Garcia was the second round pick by the Giants, the 52nd pick overall in the draft.  He was one of 15 semi-finalists for the Johnny Bench Award (which Posey won), his second year in a row that he attained that distinction.

ogc thoughts

I've found a number of articles on Aramis, from which I'll construct this post.  Here is what MLB.com wrote up on him, he was ranked 78th overall:
Scouting Grades: Hit: 50 | Power: 45 | Run: 30 | Arm: 50 | Field: 45 | Overall: 50 
Lightly scouted coming out of high school, Garcia has developed into one of the best college catchers in the country. He earns praise for his makeup and intelligence, traits that helped him win the 2013 Sun Belt Commissioner's Award for his athletic and academic achievements. 
Garcia has a mature approach at the plate and makes contact well with his short, compact stroke. His swing is more geared to hitting line drives, but scouts believe he can add more strength to his lean frame and hit for more power as a result. 
Though scouts prefer his bat to his glove, Garcia is a solid defender. He has an average arm and is a good receiver. He will need to work on his footwork and blocking as a professional, however.
He was ranked higher on Garioch's ranking, 58th overall.  Kiley McDaniel's had a much higher ranking, 35th overall.  Baseball America was more in line with MLB.com, ranking him 74th overall, Perfect Game too, had him at 67th.

This early season article by Miami Herald spoke to the 6th tool that the Giants love to see in prospects.  His teammates call him "Mr. Clean".  His roommate and teammate noted, “His head is on straight. He works hard at everything he does — he is the whole package.” His coach noted, “When he speaks, people listen. He’s as good a kid as I’ve seen in 37 years of coaching — a spectacular young man.”  I'll end with a quote from his roommate again,“If Aramis has a weakness, he will target it and improve,” Gaines said. “Every year, he has improved in some aspect.”  I know, some bias, but this matches up with what MLB.com noted about his makeup and intelligence, and how he drove himself from lightly scouted out of high school (20th round pick by the Cards though) to one of the top catchers available in this draft.

Another early season article from Baseball America was similarly glowing about his makeup and maturity.  They mentioned how he's been one of the best offensive catchers.  An AL crosschecker had this to say about him, “Right now, you’re buying more of the present bat than present defense.  And he’s got raw power in batting practice, you’re banking on the power to come. Yes, he has a line-drive stroke. For me, he’s best to right-center—not much pull in the game.”  That would totally work in ATT, I would think. The crosschecker said his feet “aren’t the quickest,” and that he’ll need to get more repetitions behind the plate to improve at staying in front of balls in the dirt. Garcia has arm strength, but he doesn’t have the quickest release, the scout said.  Of course, his coach thinks that he has what it takes to be a catcher in the majors, and spoke highly of his receiving skills, his arm, his ability to block pitches.

I came across a number of articles that I can't determine how good is the information, but they do repeat some of the info above:
Overall thoughts

Garcia is a bat first catching prospect, something I look more for after Jackson Williams, who was a defense first catcher, never got any where in the minors, though he did make it up to AAA.  Looking at his stats, he improved his contact rate each year, reaching a good level in his junior year, over 85%, plus his walks were almost the same as his strikeouts, another good sign of a hitter.  He has decent power, which he improved by working out assiduously while in college, because of the good equipment FIU provided.  Unfortunately, I'm not aware of the Giants supplying such amenities at their minor league facilities, though it don't mean they don't, just that I'm not aware.   He also showed some smarts on the basepath, stealing 4 bases and only getting caught once last season.

In his last season, he led Conference USA in slugging percentage and batting average, and was second in homers and in on-base percentage.   And he did that while missing 12 games, which could explain how he fell from pre-season ranking that had him ranked among the top college catchers, but then he fell some in the rankings, even though he led his league in a number of categories.   And these rankings don't even do justice to his numbers:
  • He had a .368 BA, second had .347
  • He had 8 homers, #1 had 9, third had 7, fourth had 6, and a number tied for 5th with 5.  But most of the leaders had anywhere from 25% to 50% more AB.  He most likely would have led the league had he not missed all those games.  He was the only one to average 20 AB/HR.  All the other leaders were in the high 20's and into the 30's.  Had he played in those games, he probably would have had another 2 homers, for the lead.
  • He led with a .626 SLG, and second was .522 SLG, among qualifiers.  To put that in perspective, if he went hitless for his next 32 AB, he would still lead the conference.  
  • He was second in OBP with .442, first had .451, but third had .405.  To fall to third, he would have had to have to make 19 straight outs.  
  • And he was far and away the leader in OPS because of his lead in SLG.  He had 1.068 OPS and the runner up had .915, third had .895, fourth had .891, fifth .848; he was heads and above the competition in this regard.  
  • Of course, one could argue that he could have gotten cold during those 12 games missed, but still, he was way ahead of everyone, he missed roughly 40 AB (plus a bit more PA) and as I noted, he would still lead if he were hitless in his next 32 AB.  Sure, he could hit worse, but he was so far ahead that he  would have still ended up ahead with even a league average batting line.  
It was noted that he had work to do defensively, but even Buster Posey, who was considered a future gold glover had work to do.  Still, he only threw out 27% of basestealers.  However, he was on the low side of stolen base attempts, so perhaps the runners were stealing on the pitchers, as fear of his arm could lead to less attempts to steal.  His passed balls were on the lower side too, though obviously missing games helped that.  But his errors were on the high side.

So defensively, it was a mixed ball, with it looking like he has a good arm and good at blocking wild pitches, but a problem with errors.  Still, this is what BA had to say about Garcia in the pre-season, projecting:
Player of the Year: Aramis Garcia, c, Florida International. 
A physical slugger who mashed 11 home runs a year ago, Garcia is also a good receiver with a plus arm and excellent leadership qualities behind the plate.
So despite what the crosscheckeer noted, BA's sources thought that Garcia is a good receiver with a plus arm.  And there is that leadership quality that the Giants love.

So it looks like a really good pick, a John Barr special, a player who was rated higher in the pre-season but fell for some reason during his junior season.  In this case, he's a good hitter who looks like he can develop as a catcher.  But good hitting could also play at other positions should he fail to develop at catcher defensively for some reason (with his poor running, that would be more corner infield).  But first, it seems like the consensus is that he should be able to develop as a catcher, and there was no talk about him moving to another position, so we can worry about that when the time comes, for now, I look forward to seeing how he does as a catcher.

4 comments:

  1. Nice profile OGC. I liked this guy as soon as I started looking at catchers this year, he's a very solid pick. The Cards drafted him before, couldn't get him to sign. I'm looking at some more videos and I really like the way he swings, nice and easy, sharp contact. His arm is really good, the catching part will need to improve, but the arm is great. That bodes well, even for a move to 3B for example. This is a solid pick that isn't going to get everybody all hopped up the way a toolsy OF would. I think the Gigantes will benefit from Garcia big time.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. Yeah, I was very impressed once I got to researching what has been said about him. Seems to be a pattern with Barr drafts, when the opportunity presents itself, he will pick up guys who were rated as much more talented previously or relative to the pick at hand.

      Delete
  2. This kid will out work anyone on there minor league squad and will be in the show in just a few years.

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    Replies
    1. Obviously, I hope you are right, as that would be great for the Giants, but the unfortunate truth is that very few second round picks ever become good players in the majors. Still, I root for them all!

      Delete

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