The Royals are preparing to promote shortstop Maikel Garcia from Double-A to the majors, El Extrabase’s Daniel Alvarez-Montes reports (Twitter link). Garcia was added to the 40-man roster last year, but a corresponding move will need to be made to fit Garcia into the active roster, unless he is joining Kansas City as the extra 27th man for Monday’s doubleheader against the Tigers.
The timing of Garcia’s addition could be related to Whit Merrifield’s early exit from today’s game, as the infielder had discomfort in his right toe. Kansas City manager Mike Matheny told reporters (including MLB.com’s Anne Rogers) that the club was awaiting MRI results on Merrifield, though initial x-rays were negative. At the very least, it doesn’t seem like Merrifield will be available for tomorrow’s doubleheader, so Garcia can provide some extra infield depth.
With the All-Star break coming up, the Royals could be considering placing Merrifield on the 10-day injured list for at least precautionary reasons, so Merrifield can return fresh for the second half (and perhaps be dangled as a trade candidate in advance of the August 2 deadline). If Merrifield does require an IL stint, Garcia might get more time to show what he can do in his first taste of MLB action.
An international signing out of Venezuela in 2016, Garcia has some family ties to the K.C. organization, as his cousin is longtime former Royals shortstop Alcides Escobar. Baseball America ranks Garcia as the 15th-best prospect in the Royals farm system, while MLB Pipeline has him 18th. The 22-year-old had never even played Double-A ball prior to this season, though he has hit .283/.362/.395 over 348 plate appearances.
Since the start of the 2019 season, Garcia has shown some ability to hit for average and get on base, which is critical considering his lack of power. Baseball America’s scouting report noted that Garcia has added more pop in the form of doubles power this year in Double-A, and he profiles as a line-drive hitter who makes a lot of solid contact. Garcia’s baserunning is also a plus, as he has 27 steals in 30 chances this year, and is 110-for-137 over his five pro seasons.
Defensively, pundits feel his glove is more than ready for the big leagues, and Garcia’s plus fielding might be his best tool. Bobby Witt has the shortstop position locked up for the foreseeable future in Kansas City, but Garcia has played some second base, and would probably be able to make a pretty smooth transition to the keystone or possibly third base, since he has a good throwing arm. If Merrifield does have to miss time, the Royals could use Garcia in the second base/third base mix with Nicky Lopez and Emmanuel Rivera.