WILLY GARCIA, CORNER OUTFIELDER
|Born: September 4, 1992
Height: 6′ 3″
Signed: Int. FA, Pittsburgh Pirates, 2010
How Acquired: Int. FA
Country: Dominican Republic
WTM’S PIRATE PLAYER PROFILES
|Garcia was the Pirates’ biggest international signing in 2010 after Luis Heredia. He’s a toolsy outfielder with the tall, lean build that the team seems to like in young outfielders. He’s not a burner, but he runs well and has a powerful arm. He has good power, but takes a big cut and doesn’t take many pitches, leading to lots of swings and misses.
Held his own in DSL debut, with fair strike zone judgment. He split his time between the two outfield corners.
Got off to a slow start in the GCL, with an OPS under .500 in eight June games. He got hot in July, though, with an OPS well over .900. He then cooled off in August. His plate discipline was a problem, although it improved after June when he had twelve Ks and no walks. His base stealing also needs work. He split his time about evenly between center and right, and had eight outfield assists in just 46 games. He made a cameo appearance at State College at the end of the season.
Garcia showed good power, but struggled all year with offspeed stuff. He was very streaky, doing nothing for lengthy stretches and then getting hot for a while. He had more trouble with LHPs (.641 OPS) than RHPs (.710) for some reason. He didn’t improve over the course of the season; his OPS was .747 before the All-Star break and .625 after. He split his time evenly between left and right, and had a dozen outfield assists.
Garcia had largely the same season as the year before. His hitting improved a little, but his walk and K rates got even worse. He had a more standard platoon split than the year before, posting an OPS of .780 against LHPs and .698 against RHPs. Garcia had a huge home/road split, with an .813 OPS at home and .659 on the road. That’s not as ominous as it sounds: McKechnie Field is a good park for hitters, but the Florida State League is easily the worst for hitters among the full season leagues, so it probably more or less evens out. Garcia continued to show off his arm in right field, recording 19 assists from there, as well as one more from center.
Somehow, while posting almost exactly the same walk and K rates as the year before, Garcia made progress. After struggling along about the same as always for the first two months, he posted a .912 OPS in June. From June 1 until season’s end, he batted .299. He even drew ten walks in August after drawing only 14 in the previous four months combined. He also continued to hit for more power. He had no meaningful platoon split. Garcia again had 19 outfield assists, although he also had 13 errors, which isn’t good.
Despite the extreme risk posed by his contact issues, the power and the outfield arm give him enough potential that the Pirates added Garcia to the roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft. With the AAA roster packed with veterans, they sent him back to Altoona. His mission there seems to have been to tone down his swing and he succeeded. His walk rate remained very low, but he cut his K rate from his standard one every three ABs to a little less than one every four. He also increased his average over 40 points. The change cut into his power, as he didn’t hit his first HR until May 28. After that, though, the power started to come. After slugging only .363 in April and May, he slugged .638 in the first two weeks of June. At that point, the Pirates promoted him to Indianapolis. He got off to a slow start, going 11-for-66 (.167), but then hit .271 the rest of the way, including an .884 OPS in August. He didn’t get on base much, but his K rate actually stayed closer to what it had been earlier in the year in Altoona, a little more than one every four ABs. He had only a mild platoon split for the year on the whole, with a .785 OPS against LHPs and .735 against RHPs. At Altoona, Garcia played mostly in left and a little in center. At Indianapolis, he played mostly in right and a little in left. He had another 18 outfield assists total.
Garcia spent the season at Indianapolis and had a disappointing year. He had his highest walk rate since 2012, but his power dropped off badly. His K rate also increased back to one every three and a half ABs. He never really got the bat going; apart from a 316/352/408 line in June, he never had a monthly OPS above .665, excluding six games in September (and that was only .675). Garcia continued to show a great arm, recording 17 outfield assists. He did not get a September callup.
Garcia looks like the classic right fielder, with power and a great arm, but he has some severe drawbacks. His 2016 season, with the loss of power, was a major step back, and he’s 24 now so it can no longer be said that he was young for the level. He should be a candidate to come off the 40-man roster.
UPDATE: Not surprisingly, the Pirates designated Garcia for assignment to clear roster space after they signed Ivan Nova.
|2017: Minor League Salary|
|Signing Bonus: $280,000
MiLB Debut: 2010
MLB Debut: N/A
MiLB FA Eligible: 2017
MLB FA Eligible: N/A
Rule 5 Eligible: Eligible
Added to 40-Man: 11/20/2014 (since removed)
Options Remaining: 1 (USED: 2015, 2016)
MLB Service Time: 0.000
|April 26, 2010: Signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an international free agent.
November 20, 2014: Contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates.
December 31, 2016: Designated for assignment by the Pittsburgh Pirates.