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Giants' Garcia flashes power in Fall League

San Francisco's No. 8 prospect rips first AFL homer
MLB.com

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The San Francisco Giants are intrigued by the power potential of their catching prospect, Aramis Garcia. On Saturday afternoon, he gave them a serious glimpse of it in the Arizona Fall League.

Garcia, the No. 8 prospect in the Giants' system, blasted a two-run home run in his first at-bat and his visiting Scottsdale Scorpions cruised to an 11-3 victory over the Surprise Saguaros at Surprise Stadium.

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The San Francisco Giants are intrigued by the power potential of their catching prospect, Aramis Garcia. On Saturday afternoon, he gave them a serious glimpse of it in the Arizona Fall League.

Garcia, the No. 8 prospect in the Giants' system, blasted a two-run home run in his first at-bat and his visiting Scottsdale Scorpions cruised to an 11-3 victory over the Surprise Saguaros at Surprise Stadium.

Box score

Garcia, a 24-year-old who was taken in the second round of the 2014 Draft, is in his second consecutive AFL season, and his development has been striking. Garcia started the 2017 season at Class A Advanced San Jose in the California League and hit 17 homers in 81 games. He wound up playing in 22 games and getting 78 at-bats for Double-A Richmond, finishing with a combined line of .274/.323/.485 and 73 RBIs.

On Saturday, he hit his early homer off hard-throwing right-hander Sandy Alcantara, who made his big league debut for the Cardinals in 2017 and is St. Louis' No. 9 prospect.

"It was a first-pitch fastball that I hit," Garcia said. "He has a really good arm, so I was just trying to get the bat head out. Looking for a fastball early in the count and I got one and put a good swing on it."

Another of Garcia's strengths is his defense. He had the best pop times (1.85 seconds) in the AFL last year and is well-regarded as a blocker and receiver. He said playing against this caliber of competition has kept him focused.

"You get to see a lot of really quality arms here, a lot of guys with plus pitches and things like that," Garcia said. "It makes you stay sharp behind the plate, to make sure you're on your 'A-game' every time you get to catch somebody."

Garcia, who is now batting .296 this AFL season, wasn't the only one hitting in an offensive explosion for Scottsdale.

Yankees No. 23 prospect Billy McKinney had two hits, including a double, and four RBIs. Taylor Sparks (Reds) chipped in with a pair of RBIs, Giants No. 7 prospect Steven Duggar had two hits and an RBI, and Brantley Bell (Reds) went 4-for-5 and scored two runs.

Scottsdale's starting pitcher, left-hander Justus Sheffield (Yankees No. 4) was excellent once again in the AFL, shutting out Surprise on three hits in five innings while striking out six and not walking a batter. He lowered his Fall League ERA to 2.37.

There wasn't much going on in the batter's box for Surprise until the ninth inning, when Yanio Perez (Rangers No. 11) and Luis La O (Rangers) both took Joan Gregorio (Giants No. 12) deep for solo homers.

Otherwise, Andrew Knizner (Cardinals No. 27 prospect) drove in the team's first run in the sixth with a single. Third baseman Kevin Padlo (Rays No. 28) added two base hits, and Nicky Lopez (Royals No. 11) had a hit and a run.

Alcantara went four innings and gave up three runs on four hits while striking out seven and walking two.

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB.