Well, it seems like a perfect time to bring back the first-ever series I did for Royals Farm Report last year! One of my favorite things about following Royals minor league baseball is trying to find the under-the-radar prospects in the organization that don’t get enough attention but have the potential to explode. Last year the series covered:
There has been so much fun talent in the Kansas City Royals minor leagues that it only seemed fitting to add one more. This year, I expanded the list to six. For part one, I will kick it off with shortstop Maikel Garcia. For many, Garcia was a shocking addition to the Royals’ 40-man roster this offseason, especially since he didn’t play above High-A. When you genuinely dive into his 2021 numbers, it isn’t shocking that the Royals decided to protect Garcia. Garcia is getting on base and doing it by making a ton of contact. Garcia only struck out 16.5% in High-A and 13.9% in Low-A in 2021 and is continuing that trend with a 16.2% strikeout rate in Double-A this year.
Garcia currently grades with an above-average hit and speed and is easily a plus fielder at shortstop. His swing is simple and quiet, and he generates decent gap power with it. He currently leads the entire Royals minor league system in doubles. Garcia also has a great approach at the plate and good feel for the strike zone. He has drawn 36 walks to his 47 strikeouts. With his speed, you leave the fact he can get on base with high contact rates and by drawing walks. While his speed is only about above-average on the base paths, he uses his incredible instincts on the base paths to help him be a threat to steal bags. He already has 22 steals on the year in 61 games. Those contact rates and speed get you excited about his potential future.
Defensively, you fall in love with Garcia’s glove. He has an above-average arm to go along with his quick instincts at shortstop. He has excellent, quick hands that pair well with his good footwork. His defensive ability and his high contact skills give you many of Alcides Escobar’s vibes. The best part of that comp is that he is Alcides Escobar’s cousin. The most significant difference between Escobar and Garcia is his ability to get on base and draw walks. As we discussed earlier, Garcia seems to have a great idea of the strike zone at the plate, and this could work to his advantage where Escobar struggles to draw walks.
Garcia’s improved barrel consistency has led to his improved ability at the plate. He still has a thin, wiry frame he can keep growing into to develop some more strength. Even if he gains a bit more strength, I wouldn’t expect a ton more in the power department, but if he can produce excellent gap power like he is currently, we won’t be too worried about the balls going over the wall. His defense improved hit tool, and speed will carry him to give him the potential to be an impact big leaguer. He will have to develop in the power department if he wants to be an everyday regular. But all the makings are there to do so. Just add him to the list of talented middle infielders the Kansas City Royals have.