KC Royals and Saul Garza get a second chance together

(Photo by Brian Davidson/Getty Images)
(Photo by Brian Davidson/Getty Images) /

An old saying goes, “you never get a second chance to make a first impression.” This is not the case for a recent backstop signee by KC Royals.

The KC Royals drafted Louisiana State University catcher Saul Garza in 2019 but he chose to return to the school.  After the limited five-round draft this year, teams were able to sign remaining players with a maximum of a $20,000 bonus.  When Kansas City came calling again, Garza was happy to choose to join the franchise this time.

Before joining LSU, Garza had a monster year with Howard (TX) Junior College with a .378 average, 23 home runs and 65 runs batted in.  He started 42 games in 2019 in Baton Rouge and proceeded to hit .303 with ten doubles and five dingers.  While 2020 saw his average and on-base percentage drop in 14 games, he did raise his slugging from .476 to .479.

Although he spoke with other teams, Garza had a connection with the Royals.  Not just because they had drafted them the year before but the decision they made to continue to pay minor league players this season.

"‘He went on to talk with five other teams, but by the end of the day he’d settled on the Royals.‘“In minor league baseball, you’re at the bottom of the totem pole,” says Garza. “But it’s still nice to know that they care about you and they’ve got your back.”’ –si.com"

Garza will help load a pipeline of catching prospects, with the need to find a full-time replacement for Salvador Perez pressing in order to move him to a less taxing role.  Cam Gallagher and Meibrys Viloria are currently on the 40 man roster and have the first opportunity to make their case.  Highly touted prospect MJ Melendez is still highly regarded despite a down year at the plate.

After that, Garza would seem to have a good chance to work his way up the ranks fairly quickly if he performs well.  While we may not see much of him this summer, it will be interesting to find out where Kansas City places him in the minor system once those leagues resume.

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It took a year longer then they had hoped but Kansas City was able to nab a catcher they had their eye on.  Catching is a position the team needed fresh prospects for and Garza hopes to make a good first impression to the team and fans.