Fan ballots are in and today, infielder Robel Garcia was named Minor League Baseball's co-Breakout Prospect of the Year. Cardinals' farmhand Dylan Carlson was also honored as the MiLB staff choice.
Garcia, 26, rose from oblivion over the last year, having last appeared in affiliated ball in 2013. Garcia, signed by the Indians in 2010, rose to Single-A in 2013, before he was released by the organization the following spring.
He spent the subsequent years playing professionally in Italy before he grabbed the Cubs' attention in fall of 2018. Garcia was playing for Team Italy in Instructional League games when the switch-hitter caught the eye of Cubs' scout Gabe Zappin and was eventually signed by the organization to a minor league deal.
Garcia began the season with Double-A Tennesse and showcased his power right away by smacking five home runs in his first 15 games. He was quickly promoted to Iowa in early May. The infielder hit a respectable .277 (18-for-65) with four home runs and 12 RBI through his first 19 games, before catching fire in late-May. From May 29-June 26 - a span of 26 games - Garcia punched seven doubles and 11 home runs, drove in 19 and hit for a .316 average (30-for-95). Chicago called one week later.
Garcia's debuted for the Cubs as a pinch-hitter in Pittsburgh on July 3 and was given his first start at second base the following day. Living up to the hype, Garcia went 3-for-5 with a triple and a home run in an 11-3 Cubs victory. The infielder remained in Chicago until August, before receiving his second call-up in September.
Overall, Garcia finished the season second in the Cubs organization (MiLB and MLB stats combined) with 32 home runs and was third with 89 RBI. His 55 extra-base hits ranked fifth, as did his 234 total bases.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.