Reivaj Garcia – Picture by Stephanie Lynn
One of my favorite stories of this year is the comeback of second baseman Reivaj Garcia. He’s made two monthly All-Star teams here at North Side Bound and is well on his way to making a third in July. Reivaj, if you remember correctly, broke out in the summer of 2018 in the Arizona Rookie League. At the time, he was just 16-years-old. Now at 22, he’s putting together a great season in Myrtle Beach.
Weight – 175
Bats – Switch
Throws – Right
Age – 22
From – Navajoa, Sonora, Mexico
Signed as an IFA on August 28, 2017
In the summer of 2018, one of the highlights of the Arizona Rookie League was the performance of Reivaj Garcia. At the time, he was only 16 years old. He would turn 17 that season, but his batting average of .302 hinted at bigger things to come for a hitter at such a young age. He made several prospect lists that winter and people were expecting big things from the 17-year-old kid at short season Eugene in 2019.
In just 12 games in the Northwest League in 2019, Garcia hit .162 and struggled to adjust to the more advanced pitching. He was sent back to Arizona where he hit .247 in 23 games. It was a disappointing year that hopefully he could learn from and then get back on the horse in 2020.
Yeah, that did not happen because of the pandemic.
When baseball resumed in May of 2021, I was surprised to see him in South Bend. However, it turns out that Reivaj would spend the first half of the year filling in at various spots in the organization. After South Bend, he went to Myrtle Beach and then to Tennessee where he played in 17 games but hit just .146. When August came, it was back to Mesa for a short stint. This time, things went much, much better even if it was just 11 games. Reivaj hit .314 in that short sample size to give us hope for 2022, if he could find a home.
Sadly, injuries limited Reivaj 13 games in 2022 in Mesa, all in Mesa. After hitting .357 in June, he missed two weeks in July and then went on the shelf again in late July. He did not return.
When rosters were released for 2023, I was pleased to see him make the Myrtle Beach squad. I thought it would be in a bench role. It may have started that way but Reivaj’s bat made sure it stayed in the lineup.
In April, Reivaj came out guns blazing hitting .325 with a .451 OBP. Those are some pretty solid numbers for a league known for being hard to hit in. In May he plummeted close to the Mendoza line only to rebound in June with a .366 average and a .415 OBP. In July, the bat has stayed hot.
He has shifted off of second base where he played mostly in rookie league. This year, he played the most games at third, he’s also seen a lot of time at second, and he’s gotten in several games at first. Here is what Dai Dai Otaka, the Cubs roving MiLB infield coordinator, had to say of Reivaj’s defense:
He’s a good defender. He has good hands and everything. With the players that we have in Myrtle, he’s been playing a little bit more first base but defensively he’s pretty good. He moves well. He has good rhythm and he knows the game really well as he has good instincts.
I am looking forward to see Reivaj do well in the second half. Who knows, we might even see him in South Bend in August or to start 2024.