Most Chicago White Sox fans are familiar with Leury Garcia.
After being acquired from the Texas Rangers in 2013 (Alex Rios trade) Garcia spent last season with the major league club and displayed great speed and versatility. He was 11-12 in stolen base attempts and played every position on the diamond except catcher and first base (yes he pitched too).
Unfortunately, he was known more for the things he didn’t do with the bat.
In 155 plate appearances, he hit .166/.192/.207. It is those numbers that guaranteed him a spot in the minors to start 2015.
With Charlotte (AAA) this season, Garcia has played well and been the team’s best player over the last month.
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In 25 games he played in May, Garcia hit .330/.394/.433 with one home run, seven RBIs, 18 runs scored and 10 stolen bases in 12 attempts. In the span of a month, he has raised his batting average 35 points.
Garcia’s best game of the month came on May 2nd. He went 4-5 with two doubles, an RBI, stolen base and three runs scored leading the Knights to a 10-4 victory over the Scranton/WB RailRiders (New York Yankees AAA team).
For the year, he is hitting .296/.340/.374 and leads the team in stolen bases (19), runs (29) and is tied with Trayce Thompson for the team lead in hits (53).
Garcia has also already played six different positions and has hit best in the leadoff spot. Since the White Sox sent Micah Johnson down to Charlotte, Garcia has since moved to ninth but has continued to swing a hot bat.
When looking at all the lists of White Sox top prospects, none appear with the name of outfielder Jason Coats.
Coats was a 29th round draft pick of the White Sox back in 2012, the same draft that saw fellow outfielder Courtney Hawkins selected 28 rounds ahead of him (13th overall). Here in 2015, Coats has surpassed Hawkins and doesn’t appear to be looking back.
After just 12 games with Birmingham (AA) this season and just 31 for his career, Coats was promoted to Charlotte and over the last month, been one the best players on the team.
In May, Coats hit .294/.325/.422 with three home runs, 21 RBIs and 11 runs scored.
His best game of the month came on May 24th as he reached base four times, scored twice, drove in two and collected two hits including his first home run as a Knight (see video below). The Knights would go on to win that game over the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (Philaelphia Phillies AAA team) 7-5.
For the year with Charlotte he has hit .288/.311/.388 with three home runs and his 28 RBIs rank second on the team. He is also hitting an absurd .475 with runners in scoring position.
AAA player notes
Matt Davidson leads the International League with nine home runs and is tied for third in RBIs with 31…. Since joining Charlotte, Johnson is hitting .304/.389/.413 with four stolen bases and one error in 12 games…. Dan Black was recently let out of his contract to sign with a South Korean baseball club…. Catcher George Kottaras was originally signed to compete for the backup catcher job in the majors and is 9-21 in his last eight games. He may be worth keeping an eye on as the White Sox catchers continue to struggle.