Updated: Dec 16, 2018
Prospect #13: OF, Adolis Garcia
(Formerly Jose Adolis Garcia. Always JAG)
Previously Ranked 12th in preseason, stays at 14th from July reranking
Signed as a Free Agent in 2017
THE QUICK WRITE UP
It has been a rough first half for JAG. There might not have been a more impressive prospect in the system during spring training. Some people were surprised that he didn't break camp with the big club. I think most thought that we'd see JAG in the majors by now based solely on my love of him (sorry) coupled with the spring impressions that he left on the fan base.
The regular season for Memphis has been brutal to JAG as a whole. His slash line is horrendous, but most of that is a product of a miserable first two months of the season that saw him chase after every breaking pitch that he saw. He didn't always go down on one knee while swinging wildly at breaking pitches, but he did it more often than you'd think:
Made worse, JAG would take that struggle out to the outfield. He has the potential to be a very good or stand-out corner outfielder, but the Garcia of the first two months of the season looked like he was playing at a level in the minor leagues that was one level above where he should have been. It looked like a potential lost season and a huge set back for the age-advanced outfielder.
The good news is, JAG is starting to bust out of it a bit. He still struggled mightily to get on base, but he did hit 286/289/558/848 in 83 plate appearances during the month of June. He also hit four doubles, one triple, and five home runs while only striking out eleven times. It was easily the best month of his season. While July started off less kind to him than, I have noticed that he isn't chasing those breaking pitches outside of the zone like he did earlier in the year.
JAG is in danger of tumbling down the list and he is in dire need of more of that June magic. 25-years-old is an advanced age for a prospect and JAG's prior professional experience while playing in Cuba should be yielding better results than this.
*UPDATED ON 8/23/2018*
JAG made his major league debut earlier in the month and he was greeted with sparse playing time and he was brutalized by major league pitching. I think JAG is going to be OK, but his 2018 season continues to raise questions about his future and his potential exploits. Good news is, he has made a major league debut which pretty much makes his contract worth the price of admission.
WHY TO GET EXCITED
If a person could decide their body type, "THE JAG" would be the option that every male would pick. He's athletic and cut and swol and other words that mean what women would call "dreamy."
It's been a weird season for JAG, but he has plus power when he is dialed in.
JAG has plus speed.
JAG is a very good corner outfielder and he can also play a solid sub in center field.
He has the best outfield arm in the organization. It's probably in the top tier in all of the minors. His arm is a cannon and people don't even attempt to run on it.
After a brutal first two months of the season in the field and at the plate, JAG has gotten better as the season has progressed. From June 1st to July 22nd, JAG is hitting 309/320/568/888 with seven doubles, one triple, and nine home runs in 139 at-bats. His strike out rate over that time is a very respectable 16.3%. **UPDATED** JAG continued to rake through the month of July and he was named the organizations player of the month for his raking.
JAG has cleaned himself up in the outfield, as well. In 2017, Adolis looked a sure bet to be an above average corner outfielder. He really struggled out there for two months to start 2018. He now looking like the 2017 version of himself, again.
WHY TO BE CAUTIOUS
As I mentioned, the first two months of his season were brutal. Entering play on June 1st, Adolis Garcia was hitting 203/249/348/597 with nine doubles and four home runs while striking out 27% of the time.
JAG has really struggled with platoon-type playing time. It wasn't until he was getting regular at-bats that he took off.
Perhaps the most worrisome of all of his trends, JAG was terrible out in the outfield over the first two months. It was almost as if he was taking his offensive stuggles into the field with him. There was always the chance that he was nursing some type of minor, undisclosed injury. Of course, that's total speculation and it's irresponsible at that. Whatever it was, JAG was bad in the field and it doesn't really make sense.
I was encouraged at different times during the 2017 season that JAG might be able to incorporate more walks into his game. Right now, that hope/appraisal is laughable. Even right now when he has been his best in the batter's box all season, he still isn't taking walks.
He's gotten better, but there was a time during the season when Adolis was swinging at everything. It didn't matter the pitch or the pitcher, he swung at everything. Which leads us too....
The major concern with JAG is that he is ultimately the stereotypical Cuban player: Big strikeouts with flashes of big home runs, great defense, and big tools but a free-wielding approach that hasn't exactly translated on a broad scale at the major league level.
As most of you know, I hate doing the comparison part of these things. They're such a cheap novelty. However, people love them so here we are. I don't know. Adolis Garcia is tremendous athlete and specimen of a man with big tools. To totally cheat here, his 5% ultimate ceiling outcome is probably something similar to Yasiel Puig. All players have a 20% chance of meeting their true ceiling, and if JAG is one of those players that gets to that ceiling it'll be something close to Gregory Polanco.
Thank you to Fangraphs for the stats.
Thanks For Reading!!