Ryan F. Garko
Acquired: 2003 Draft (3rd Round)
Service Time: ~0.000
Positions: 1B, C
Minor League Stats
Garko was drafted as a senior after winning the Johnny Bench Award (Top College Catcher). Questions about his defense lead to him dropping to the third round. Garko was actually the second catcher drafted by the Indians; they picked Javi Herrera, who projected as a major-league catcher, in the second round. Four years later, Herrera is in Kinston, and Garko is on the cusp of becoming a big-league first baseman. Ryan's hit at every level on his way up the organization until this season.
Garko has a compact swing, and can hit with power to all fields. His plate discipline has been good even at higher levels: at AAA this season, he's walked 45 times while striking out 66 times. But besides the walks, Ryan's struggled in 2006, slugging just .421.
Garko is learning how to play first base, and is probably good enough to play there every day in the majors. He's been good at picking up short hops, but doesn't have a lot of range.
Garko is probably the slowest runner on the team, and that's saying something.
Ryan picked the wrong year to struggle at the plate. But I'm not jumping off the bandwagon just yet; Garko's professional body of work is still very impressive. The question is whether he's going to get a real shot, as Victor Martinez and Casey Blake will both be around next season.