WASHINGTON – The Nationals are off to a slower start than maybe even some of their most optimistic fans would have imagined.
And with a shaky infield defense, plus a third baseman getting sick on Sunday, some fans and those on social media are calling for reinforcements.
The most likely position player at Rochester that would fit that bill is infielder Luis García, 21, who has been playing mostly shortstop for manager Matt LeCroy with the Triple-A Red Wings in upstate New York.
“He made some errors the first part of the series at Toledo” to begin the season, LeCroy told Federal Baseball on Monday.
“He has worked hard every day since. He has basically had a pretty clean series at home and then on the road; he played mostly at second in Spring Training.”
García, who turns 22 in May, is hitting .324 in his first 71 at-bats this season for Rochester.
“Offensively he is in a really good spot, the best I have seen him,” LeCroy said.
“Hopefully he can continue to progress defensive and have great at-bats and hope we will see him in Washington.
“He keeps getting better and better at short; he has played sparingly at second. That is our job – to make sure he is doing his routines.”
Luis Garcia is the hottest hitter on the planet.— Rochester Red Wings (@RocRedWings) April 17, 2022
He's 2-for-2 today with this triple and a double in the first two innings.
On the homestand, 14-for-25 (.560) with 5 XBH and 5 RBI pic.twitter.com/BUFn96qnMs
The top pitching prospect in the system going into this year was right-hander Cade Cavalli, the first-round pick in 2020 out of the University of Oklahoma.
He made his third start of the season on Sunday for Rochester and took the loss as the Red Wings fell 10-1 to Lehigh Valley, a farm team of the Phillies.
Cavalli went four innings and allowed four earned runs on three hits with two walks while fanning one.
He has an ERA of 9.00 this season for Rochester, which fell to 9-9.
“He battled really well,” said LeCroy, a former catcher and bullpen coach for the Nationals. “He was scheduled to go five (innings) and/or 80 pitches.”
Cavalli threw 77 pitches – 44 for strikes.
“His fastball was good – his changeup as a secondary was not as good as normal. He skipped a start – maybe that had something to do with it,” LeCroy said. “He keeps getting better and better each time out. Hopefully next time we can him to six (innings) and 90 or 95 pitches. Hopefully, we won’t have to hold him back any longer.”
“We just wanted to make sure he had the proper rest. Now I don’t see any reason why … we don’t have to back off anymore – I think everything is good to go,” LeCroy added.
Rochester begins a series at home Tuesday with Syracuse.
Also on Tuesday, Harrisburg starts a series on City Island with Hartford; Single-A Wilmington is on the road at Hudson Valley and the Fredericksburg Nationals begin a series in Virginia with Charleston.
Infielder Brady House is hitting .379 in his first 15 games with Fredericksburg.