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Realmuto trade shakes up PBI Top 50 Prospects

Edgar Garcia
Edgar Garcia pitches against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders in the International League playoffs on September 8, 2018. (Photo by Cheryl Pursell)

In their blockbuster trade to acquire catcher J.T. Realmuto, the Phillies traded Sixto Sanchez and Will Stewart, who were both ranked on the list of the Philly Baseball Insider Top 50 Prospects. Sanchez was the top overall prospect for the second season in a row and Stewart was ranked 28th.

With the exit of those two players from the organization, it only makes sense that the players below them get bumped up one spot and two new players enter the list.

Here are the two new players who take over spots 49 and 50.

49. Edgar Garcia – RHRP (52) | B: Right, T: Right | October 4, 1996 (22) – The main problem with Garcia is that you never truly know what to expect. At times, he is throwing a mid-90s fastball and getting good movement. He’s mixing in an above average slider and hitters aren’t up to the task of getting good wood on a pitch. Next time out, he may not hit 90 with his fastball, his slider looks average and that indelible sound of the crack of a bat is echoing throughout the ballpark. It’s that inconsistency that has frustrated the Phillies and kept Garcia from truly becoming a legitimate prospect.

In 2016, the Phillies decided that the future didn’t look good for Garcia as a starter and they moved him to the bullpen, which got him to move his velocity up a little to where it’s generally not bottoming out at 90, but it’s not a consistent mid-90s either, generally going between 92-95. His slider keeps getting better and he depends on it more and more. Then, there’s the change-up, which is lacking and was only really there because as a starter he needed a third pitch. As a reliever, it’s just something he pulls out every now and then just to show a hitter.

The Phillies decided that they would have lost Garcia in the Rule 5 Draft so they added him to the 40-man roster. After all, he did pitch at both Double-A and Triple-A and a jump to the majors wouldn’t be out of the question. If he makes the major league roster out of spring training, something went horribly wrong with a bunch of other relievers, but he may be in line to pitch in the majors at some point in 2019.

50.  Nicolas Torres – 2B (36) | B: Right, T: Right | September 23, 1999 (19) – Somebody needs to buy Nicolas Torres a bunch of food. At 5′ 10″ and just 155 pounds, he is somewhat on the lean side. It’s likely that he will add more muscle to his frame and that should give him enough stamina to get through the rigors of a full season. By the end of last season, even playing in the short-season Gulf Coast League, Torres looked to be dragging a little and his bat slowed down. Torres hit a combined .375 (30-for-80) in June and July, but he melted to a .203 (12-for-59) in August and his on-base percentage spiraled from .400 in 16 July games to just .237 in 17 August games.

The big plus for Torres is speed. Normal doubles are triples for Torres and he’s developing a pretty good feel for stealing bases even at a young age. Ideally, he would be a shortstop, but his arm is average at best and the Phillies locked him into second base in 2018 after having him play six games at short in 2017. His defense is well above average, so he’s got the speed and defense down; that’s where the concern comes in.

The jury is still out on just how much Torres will hit once he starts to see better pitching. He hit .333 in the Dominican Summer League in 2017 and finished at .302 last season in the GCL, but he lets his swing get a little unruly at times and seems to guess wrong a lot at the plate. When he makes contact and doesn’t try to do too much, he’s a solid hitter who will nickle and dime pitchers to death and then use his speed to make things happen.

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