José García, Reds shortstop
If Hall of Famer Barry Larkin, who says José García is going to be a monster, is correct in his assessment, the Reds shortstop of the future could be the next Cincinnati player to ink a massive long-term contract extension. I have a feeling we’ll see García in the Queen City before the end of the 2021 season, and he may even be the team’s Opening Day shortstop on April 1st.
When it comes to defense, García has the “it” factor. Even at 6-foot-2, the Cuban-born García has the range, speed, arm strength, and quickness to field the shortstop position at an elite level. In the batter’s box, however, we’ve yet to see the 22-year-old really shine. Last season, in just 67 at-bats, García hit just .194 and struck out 26 times.
For his sake, I’m hopeful that Cincinnati sets up their young infielder for success by starting him at either Double-A Chattanooga or Triple-A Louisville. If García shows the ability to consistently hit Double-A and Triple-A pitching, then I have no qualms about fast tracking him to the big leagues. However, the front office should not rush his development.
José García has the makings of the best Reds shortstop since Zack Cozart fielded the position, and if Larkin’s correct, he may be the best shortstop fans in Cincinnati will have seen since No. 11 suited up for his hometown Reds.
The idea of signing anyone on the Cincinnati Reds current roster to a long-term extension is laughable. However, don’t forget that Fernando Tatis Jr. was not a slam-dunk to be an all-world player. Coming out of the Dominican Republic, Tatis Jr. was ranked as the 30th best International prospect according to MLB Pipeline.
Tatis Jr. signed for just $700K with the Chicago White Sox who promptly traded the young infielder the following season to the San Diego Padres along with Erik Johnson for James Shields. I’d say the Padres got the better end of that deal.