Anthony Garcia, OF, Cardinals (Gigantes de Carolina): .331/.429/.661, 9 2B, 3B, 10 HR, 19 BB/24 K in 124 AB.
Garcia is a free-swinger to the fullest extent. That doesn’t work very well in the Florida State League, as evidenced by just 10 home runs in a full season in Palm Beach in 2014 (don’t feel too bad for Garcia, he did get to love in Palm Beach for six months). Despite his modest home run totals during the regular season, Garcia does have plus raw power, but despite his impressive totals this winter, it isn’t likely to play in games. He’s not much of a defensive player either, so his value will have to come exclusively from his bat, and that’s a major question given his swing-and-miss issues.
Delino DeShields, Jr., OF, Rangers (Cangrejeros de Santurce): .236/.330/.360, 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, 9 BB/ 21 K in 89 AB.
There was a lot of hype surrounding DeShields as a prospect, but as a Rule 5 pick this fall, he’s now going to have to be a big leaguer or else be returned to the Astros. His ability to pull that off is in question, not because of his struggles this winter, but because of his regression this year in Double-A. As a full-time outfielder, he has a chance to stick on a major-league roster this year, but there is little evidence that he’ll be able to provide any offensive value at this point. The only way he makes it through the season in the majors is if he proves to be a plus defender in the field and a legitimate asset on the bases in a bench role.
Kennys Vargas, 1B, Twins (Indios de Mayaguez): .243/.420/.467, 6 2B, 0 3B, 6 HR, 19 BB/24 K, 107 AB.
Low averages and big power are likely the future for Vargas, though this is probably the extreme. Vargas’ power is legitimate, which we found out this season, and though there are holes in his offensive game, they’re not so drastic that he can’t be productive. While he’s overcome his approach to some extent against inferior competition, doing so against better pitchers will be a challenge. The result is a flawed but still productive hitter in a power-starved game. For what it’s worth, he’s also leading this league in walks by a wide margin.
Javier Baez, 2B, Cubs (Cangrejeros de Santurce): .321/.362/.424, 6 2B, 0 3B, 3 HR, 8 BB/12 K in 28 AB.
Baez isn’t playing a ton this winter, but given that there is perhaps no player in the big leagues with more questions surrounding his future, anything he does on a baseball field is under the microscope. Nothing he’s doing this winter is telling us anything, of course, as all of the questions that he ended the season with are still with him. He still has tremendous power as well as tremendous swing-and-miss issues, which are magnified against better pitching. He’s not facing that this winter, but any success he has still sets him up well to enter spring training on a high note.
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