Leading the Chicago Cubs Double-A affiliate Tennessee Smokies in home runs (4), RBI (16), slugging percentage (.806) and on-base plus slugging (1.206), Team Italy slugger Robel Garcia is currently third in batting average (.323). Playing second and third base defensively, the 26-year-old infielder is making his second attempt to break into MLB after signing with the Cleveland Indians as a free agent in 2010 and playing in the Tribe’s minor league system until 2014. Good things happened when Robel Garcia traveled to the Phoenix, Arizona area to participate in a two-week camp with Team Italy and played in an Instructional League Exhibition Series against MLB prospects in early October. His excellent play at shortstop and his big bat at the plate were noticed by scouts attending the games. The Chicago Cubs liked what they saw and offered Robel Garcia a minor league contract on October 31, 2018.
The versatile switch-hitter performed well for Team Italy from both sides of the plate in the 2018 Super 6 tournament tournament in the Netherlands. In fact, he hit for the cycle in the 11-1 mercy-rule victory over Belgium on September 19, 2018. Robel Garcia ranked in the Top 4 of the Team Italy offense overall in following categories: first in triples (1), second in home runs (3), slugging percentage (1.313), and sacrifice flies (1), third in batting average (.563), on-base percentage (.579), runs scored (5), hits (9), and total bases (21), and fourth in RBI (7), doubles (1), and walks (2). As a dominant player for the Italian 2018 Serie A1 Champion Fortitudo Bologna squad, he raked in the Italian Baseball Series Championship with a second-best .571 slugging percentage and a third-best .357 batting average. Let's wish Robel Garcia all the best in making his MLB debut with the Chicago Cubs! Forza #Italia! #LetsMakeItHappen
by Roberto Angotti