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Iowa Cubs IF Robel Garcia Named International League Player of the Week

Robel Garcia was named the International League Player of the Week for his efforts from May 9-15. Is a call to the big leagues coming?

Robel Garcia Iowa Cubs
Photo: Cubs/Twitter

29-year-old minor leaguer Robel Garcia is finding success with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs this season, especially as of late. Garcia earned International League Player of the Week honors for his efforts from May 9-15. Garcia hit .409 with six homers and nine RBIs during that span, which included four consecutive games with home runs.

The Cubs have been down the Robel Garcia road before. On July 4, 2019, Garcia became the first Cubs player to homer and hit a triple in his first MLB start since Starlin Castro in 2010. In 2019, Garcia appeared in 31 games, hitting .208 with five homers and 11 RBIs. After not playing in the majors or minors in 2020 (COVID year), Garcia played in 46 games with the Houston Astros last season, hitting a meager .151 with an 18 OPS+.

The Cubs signed Garcia to a minor-league contract in the offseason and invited him to Spring Training. Since then, he’s spent the season at Triple-A Iowa, and let’s say he’s finding success there. For the season, Garcia is slashing .291/.410/.686 (1.096 OPS) with nine home runs and 20 RBIs.

Is A Callup Brewing? 

Ahead of Sunday’s series finale against the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Cubs placed shortstop Nico Hoerner on the 10-day injured list (retroactive to May 12) due to a collision with an umpire in San Diego. As highlighted in Ron Luce’s article, the club activated Andrelton Simmons as a corresponding move. He made his Cubs and season debut Sunday as a late-inning defensive replacement at shortstop, taking over for Ildemaro Vargas.

While Simmons might not provide much value at the plate with a career 88 OPS+, his defensive stability is a welcome addition. Hoerner was playing out-of-his-mind well defensively at short, but his absence is noticeable with Vargas making routine plays look difficult. Hoerner joins Nick Madrigal on the injured list, further complicating matters up the middle. Jonathan Villar has his moments at the plate, but he certainly doesn’t have the range or overall defensive prowess that Madrigal does. Suddenly, one of the team’s strengths (middle infield defense) has become a weakness.

Unfortunately, Robel Garcia hasn’t seen much playing time up the middle as of late. In his lone appearance at second base this season, he committed an error. Garcia spends most of his time at third base. With Patrick Wisdom handling the hot corner more days than not and Villar having the capability to play there, Garcia doesn’t have a position unless the Cubs plan on switching him back to second.

A call to the big leagues isn’t likely without more players getting injured, but it’s not out of the question. Realistically, Garcia will not receive a call-up to be a savior. However, he might offer a little more upside with his bat than Villar, given that he’s on a heater and could provide the Cubs lineup with more power.

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