Luis Garcia pitches for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs on July 8, 2013 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Luis Garcia pitches for the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs on July 8, 2013 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

Luis Garcia, who returned to professional baseball last season with the Newark Bears after being completely away from the game in 2011, will have the chance to make his Major League debut this week with the Philadelphia Phillies.

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10 responses

  1. markruck says:

    Paul,

    I don’t get it. It looks like he’s doing OK moving up the Phillies’ food chain. But what did they see in this guy? I mean out of ball for a year after not having done much in the couple years or so before that and he did nothing in three weeks in Newark last season and apparently played nowhere else. What did I miss?

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    • Paul says:

      You got me – I saw Garcia pitch last night, and he looked very capable at the Triple-A level. I don’t recall if I saw him pitch as a Bear, but his stats suggest that he didn’t do much to distinguish himself in Newark.

      I think that people who have played the game at a high enough level are able to see things that fans aren’t and that aren’t always apparent in the statistics found on the back of baseball cards.

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      • markruck says:

        Paul,

        Here’s his story. It’s from today’s Lehigh Valley “Morning Call.” Looks like he got the call to “the show.” And to think he was working on a second career as being a hair stylist.

        http://www.mcall.com/sports/baseball/phillies/mc-phillies-luis-garcia-0709-20130709,0,3458245.story

        But I’m a “Moneyball” disciple in that the stats don’t lie. There’s no mention that he had surgery and that he was hurting before and therefore has come back “a new man.” And he had trouble getting guys out at hi-A. Matter of fact, he was bumped down from hi- to low-A in ’10. And he couldn’t get guys out at Newark, which plays in about the lowest level of pro ball there is short of the rookie leagues.

        Did he learn a new pitch? Did a light bulb suddenly go on? It happens, I suppose. Let’s see what this guy can do.

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        • Stubby says:

          If you can hit 98 on the radar gun, you’ll get a job. Not many guys can. Now, me, I prefer a pitcher who knows what he’s doing to a guy with just raw speed/power, but the scouts tend to favor the gas.

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  2. It must be the great uniform he is wearing.

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  3. markruck says:

    Stubby,

    Two things:

    First, he didn’t just learn how to throw 98. He’s probably been doing it all along, though he might have tweaked his mechanics to get a couple more miles out of his fastball.

    Second, scouts and teams salivate over size and speed. The example I heard a while back is that you have two sprinters. One has great form and runs the 100 in 10.2. The other runs 10.5 but runs like a chicken. You have a chance to sign and train either one. Which one do you go with? Answer: The chicken. Because he has the raw talent (he’s already running 10.5) and you can refine his form so that he can beat the 10.2 guy and maybe the 10.0 and the 9.8 guy too. The 10.2 guy already has the form and won’t get much better.

    The guy who throws upper 80s-low 90s won’t get much faster nor much better. The guy who throws 98 and who might be raw? You can work with him and refine his natural abilities. And, in ten years, when he loses 8-10 MPH off his fastball, he’ll (a) still have a marketable skill when that upper 80s guy is low-mid 80s and trying to stay in the league (b) someone else will come along who will throw upper 90s so the scouts can salivate some more.

    You can’t teach 6′ 7″ and you can’t teach 98. But you sure as heck can work with both.

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    • Paul says:

      Give me a guy who can throw 98 AND who knows how to pitch. (No, I’m not being greedy at all) :-)

      I agree that you want your team’s talent evaluators to target the guys who have physical talent because the baseball skills can be refined (or taught.)

      But I enjoy watching the guys with skills and less talent more than I enjoy watching the ones who leave me scratching my head and wondering how they are not doing more with their physical ability.

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  4. Freddy says:

    There’s a huge shortage of pitching so guys are going to get third and fourth looks. On a somber note former Phillie and 2010 Phillies Wall of Famer Darren Daulton has been diagnosed with brain cancer. I had the chance to get his autograph in 2011 at Reading Phillies game. Great guy- must have had quite a few beers during the signing. He and Kruk were my favorite Phillies from that era.

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