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Arizona Fall League

No. 2 prospect Garcia eyes 2020 arrival in DC

@JesseSanchezMLB
October 8, 2019

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Nationals prospect Luis Garcia isn’t sure where he is going to watch Game 5 of the National League Division Series between his parent organization and the Dodgers on Wednesday, but he knows that he’s going to be glued to a television, eating popcorn somewhere. Playing in the

PEORIA, Ariz. -- Nationals prospect Luis Garcia isn’t sure where he is going to watch Game 5 of the National League Division Series between his parent organization and the Dodgers on Wednesday, but he knows that he’s going to be glued to a television, eating popcorn somewhere.

Playing in the big leagues is Garcia's ultimate goal. Watching young players like outfielder Juan Soto play, especially in the postseason, serves as his inspiration.

“I’ll be cheering them on for sure, and I’m so happy we forced a Game 5,” Garcia, 19, said in Spanish. “God willing, we will get a victory and go to the next round. I can’t wait to watch.”

Garcia, who was ranked No. 13 on MLB.com’s Top 30 International Prospects list when he signed for $1.3 million in 2016, is currently Washington’s No. 2 prospect and making waves that could land him in the Major Leagues in the near future. The Nationals have had a history of promoting young players in recent years, starting with Victor Robles two years ago, Soto last season and Carter Kieboom in April.

Could Garcia get the call in 2020?

“That’s not in my control, and those decisions are made in time,” Garcia said. “But my goal is to get there. I promised my father that I would make it to the big leagues in my fourth year of pro ball, and I feel like I’m making progress. Next year will be my fourth year.”

Here’s what we know: At Harrisburg, Garcia was the youngest player in the Double-A Eastern League and this past season, he was the first recipient of the organization’s Defensive Player of the Year Award. Last year, he was the youngest player on the World team at the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game at Nationals Park.

On Tuesday morning, he was among the youngest named to the Arizona Fall League Fall Stars Game roster. On Tuesday afternoon, he finished 3-for-5 with three RBIs in a 6-1 victory against Mesa Solar Sox at Peoria Sports Complex. Fellow Nationals prospect Sterling Sharp, Garcia’s teammate at Double-A, shined on the mound by allowing only two hits in five scoreless innings. Sharp struck out three and walked two.

“Luis is on the fast track,” said Johnny Dipuglia, the club’s vice president of international operations, who was part of the group that signed Garcia. “He struggled a little at Double-A, but he held his own. As we all know, [general manager Mike] Rizzo is not scared to send those guys up to the big leagues, and I’m sure [Garcia] will be given every opportunity to make the club or be an option if somebody breaks down in the future.”

Garcia’s high baseball IQ, his plus-defense and his knack for barreling balls will be factors that the organization considers when it decides on his future. It doesn’t hurt that he can also run and has been praised for his good makeup since he was 15 years old.

“There were other clubs that offered him more money to sign, but he chose to stay with us and that says a lot,” Dipuglia said. “Physically, it was an easy evaluation when we first saw him because he could do a lot of things. He might have to get a little more physical in the future, but we like the direction he is heading.”

Last season, Garcia hit .257 with 22 doubles, four triples and four home runs in 129 games in Double-A Harrisburg. He also drove in 30 runs. So far, he is slashing .378/.423/.511 in 11 Arizona Fall League games.

“Fall League has been great,” Garcia said. “I’ve been working on my approach and trying to focus on situations and each pitch. I feel like I’m learning a lot from my teammates and helping my team win some games.”

Jesse Sanchez, who has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2001, is a national reporter based in Phoenix. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB and Facebook.