The St. Louis Cardinals have two middle infielder “Rainbow Warriors” in their future plans. That is to say two young men from the University of Hawaii are making headway through the farm system. One you probably have heard of is struggling rookie 2B Kolten Wong. The other is less touted but may actually be better: Greg Garcia.
Getting his first taste of action this week, Garcia has not disappointed and has shown many traits of an everyday contributor.
In seven plate appearances, Garcia has managed to reach base three times while playing a fine 2B. Garnering his first hit yesterday, a double, he has shown a different in approach from his college counterpart. His minors stats reflect a guy who is is an .OBP machine, approaching .400 in every stop along the way. This is due in part to his excellent batting eye and plate discipline, something Wong still lacks and may never develop.
If Wong is flashy, then Garcia is steady. An unassuming young man, Garcia approaches the game with a balanced and focused mental approach that indicates he has full understanding of all the demands of baseball at the highest level. What stood out most to me in my observations was his unflinching patience at the plate. Willing to swing at strikes, it was clear Garcia had clear pitch recognition out of the hand of the pitcher.
This is not a coachable trait. Ignoring sliders and sharp curves as if the catcher warned him, Garcia was fooled by nothing; and when he received nothing, he gratefully took his spot at first base.
While it is ridiculously early to give such praise, it looks as though Garcia, like Matt Carpenter before him, will force his way into everyday status and very likely become the team’s shortstop, moving Jhonny Peralta to third and Carpenter back to his “less comfortable” (only in his opinion) spot at 2B.
Hey, hey, what do you say? Greg Garcia is here to stay.