WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes signed former Major League outfielder Willy Garcia on Monday.
Garcia last played in 2017 where he appeared in 44 games for the Chicago White Sox. A native of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, Garcia hit .238 with 15 runs scored, five doubles, three triples, two home runs, and 12 RBI during his time in the Major Leagues. The remainder of Garcia’s 2017 campaign was spent with the Triple-A International League’s Charlotte Knights where he batted .286 with five home runs and 20 RBI in 31 games.
“I’m very excited about the addition of Willy,” said Goldeyes’ manager Rick Forney. “He’s a very talented player that I’m hoping will have a huge impact on our team.”
After playing seven-plus seasons in the minor leagues, Garcia was called up to the White Sox on April 14th, 2017 where he doubled in his first Major League at bat. The 26-year-old posted an average sprint speed of 27.9 feet per second (73rd percentile of all qualified Major League players), which equalled that of 2018 American League MVP Mookie Betts, and ranked ahead of such players as Jackie Bradley Jr., Carlos Correa, and Kevin Pillar.
Garcia had an average exit velocity of 87.1 miles per hour on 77 batted balls, which ranked above the 2017 Major League average of 86.7. A right-handed hitter and fielder, Garcia finished with a 31.2 hard hit percentage (batted balls with an exit velocity of at least 95 miles per hour), including a 405-foot home run on July 27th against Chicago Cubs’ left-hander Jon Lester. Garcia collected five Major League base hits on pitches thrown 95-plus miles per hour.
Garcia is entering his ninth season of professional baseball, and was originally signed as an international free agent by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2009. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound outfielder is a career .258 hitter in 795 games played, while averaging 77 runs scored, 30 doubles, seven triples, 18 home runs, 82 RBI, 12 stolen bases, and 25 outfield assists per 162 contests. On two occasions (2012 and 2013), Baseball America rated Garcia’s throwing arm as the best in the Pirates’ organization, and Garcia paced the Double-A Eastern League with 19 outfield assists in 2014 while playing for the Altoona Curve.
The Goldeyes now have 19 players under contract for the 2019 season. American Association clubs may carry up to 28 players during spring training, which begins May 4th.
2019 Winnipeg Goldeyes Signings
CF Reggie Abercrombie
RHP Mitchell Aker
RHP Brandon Bingel
RHP Victor Capellan
RHP Jack Charleston
C Kevin Garcia
OF Willy Garcia
RHP Tyler Garkow
OF James Harris
LHP Jose Jose
IF Kevin Lachance
LHP Mitchell Lambson
SS Adrian Marin
LHP Kevin McGovern
1B Correlle Prime
RHP Devin Raftery
OF Josh Romanski
RHP Dylan Thompson
C Louis Touron
Notes: Garcia’s Major League resume includes base hits against 2015 American League Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel, 2018 American League Reliever of the Year Edwin Diaz, and Major League All-Stars Patrick Corbin, Marco Estrada, and J.A. Happ…Garcia posted a peak exit velocity of 109.5 miles per hour on a single against Happ on June 18th…the hardest pitch Garcia put in play came on June 30th when he singled on a 98.2 mph fastball from Texas Rangers’ right-hander Matt Bush…Garcia’s longest hit in the Major Leagues came on July 8th when he hit a 418-foot triple against Colorado Rockies’ right-hander Jeff Hoffman
The Winnipeg Goldeyes open the 2019 season on May 16th against the Texas AirHogs on the road. The Goldeyes’ 2019 home opener is scheduled for Friday, May 24th versus the Kansas City T-Bones. 2019 season tickets, 10-game mini packs, and group tickets are on sale now. For more information, call the Goldeyes’ office at (204) 982-BASE, or visit the Goldeyes’ official website at www.goldeyes.com