Buried Treasure Top 30 Prospects
#22 - Willy Garcia
Measurables: 6'3, 177
Bats: R, Throws: R
Acquired: IFA, 2010
Buried Treasure 2012 Top 20: Not Ranked
In 2010, as far as international signings went involving the Pirates, Luis Heredia dominated the headlines and stole the show. Despite that, the Pirates did sign other players and doled out the second biggest bonus of the year to a young, athletic outfielder named Willy Garcia. The then 17 year-old from the Dominican Republic received $280,000 to join the Pirates organization. Garcia immediately went to the DSL, where he held his own and flashed impressive tools. In 191 plate appearances, Garcia posted a .250/.333/.333 line, displaying little power, but a solid walk rate and strikeout rate - 7.1% BB rate and 14.6% K rate - for a young, raw Latin American. Defensively, Garcia played both corner outfield spots.
2011 proved the Pirates thought highly of Garcia as they sent him stateside in his second season as a pro. Garcia spent most of the season playing for the GCL Pirates. For a 18 year-old, Garcia put on an impressive performance. In 201 plate appearances, Garcia hit .266/.323/.446 and 5 home runs, showing good pop at a young age. On the negative side, Garcia saw his plate discipline erode. His BB rate dropped to 5.5% while his K rate rose to 24.4%, both fairly alarming numbers. In addition, Garcia was the benefit of some BABIP, otherwise his batting average might have been lower. Still, the bottom line was that Garcia managed to hold his own and do a bit more as a 18 year-old in his first season stateside. In addition, from a scouting perspective, Garcia displayed a broad base of above-average or better tools. To round out the year, Garcia got 7 plate appearances in state college in a cameo.
The Pirates again displayed their high opinion of Garcia, skipping him over State College by sending him directly to West Virginia and full-season ball. Garcia responded with both positives and negatives. The young Dominican outfielder showcased a power breakthrough, slugging a team-high - and West Virginia was a prospect-laden team featuring Alen Hanson, Gregory Polanco, and Jose Osuna - 18 home runs. In fact, Garcia lead the entire Pirates farm system in 4-baggers in 2012. Unfortunately, the rest of Garcia's stat line wasn't particularly impressive. His tripleslash came out to .240/.286/.403, low-lighted by a very poor on-base percentage. Garcia's on-base issues stemmed from a 26.4 K% rate to only a 6.4% walk rate. To improve further, the young outfielder will need to shore up his strikeout rate and walk a bit more. If he's able to do that, and it won't be easy, Garcia has the tools - and he's already translating the power tool into in-game production - to be an excellent major leaguer one day.