The Tigers have claimed infielder Luis García off waivers from the Phillies, according to announcements from both teams. Garcia has been optioned to Double-A Erie. The Tigers already had a vacancy on their 40-man roster after designating Michael Pineda for assignment on Sunday.
Garcia, not to be confused with the Luis García of the Nationals or the Luis García of the Padres or the Luis Garcia of the Astros, is a 21-year-old infielder who had spent his entire career in the Phillies’ organization up until now.
He made his professional debut in rookie ball in 2018, just 17 years old at that time. He hit a tremendous .369/.433/.488 in 43 games, showing enough promise to crack Baseball America’s list of the top 100 prospects in the sport. BA placed him #88 going into 2019. However, García struggled immensely in A-ball that year, hitting .186/.261/.255 and losing his spot on BA’s list.
After the minor leagues were canceled by the pandemic in 2020, he had a bit of a bounceback in 2021, hitting .243/.353/.414 between A-ball and High-A, walking in 13.8% of his plate appearances and stealing 15 bases. That was enough for the Phillies to add him to their 40-man roster in November, protecting him from the Rule 5 draft that ended up getting canceled by the lockout.
Unfortunately, it’s been another downturn here in 2022, with García hitting .167/.316/.253 across four different levels on the year. Based on that poor showing, he lost his roster spot on the weekend, now landing with the Tigers, who are likely intrigued by García’s approach. Despite his poor batted ball results, he’s still walking in 15.6% of his plate appearances this season. For reference, the MLB average is 8.2% this year, meaning García is nearly doubling that pace. Struggles aside, he still came in #16 on BA’s most recent update of top 30 Philly prospects. Their report notes that he’s a plus defender at shortstop, meaning that he could be a valuable piece so long as his bat improves.
For the Tigers, this is a no-cost way of adding to their system, picking up a prospect who’s definitely lost some shine in recent years but still has some intriguing tools. Since they are well out of contention, they can use their open roster spot to take a flier on García and hope that he can help them down the line.