The Tigers signed Garcia as part of the 2007 international signing period, for a modest bonus. Garcia was actively pursued by several teams prior to signing with the Tigers, and some scouts indicate that the strong presence of Venezuelans on the Tiger roster and their new complex in Venezuela, were strong factors in Garcia's signing.
By rule, Garcia's professional debut was pushed back until the 2008 season, and he did not disappoint in his first exposure to pro ball. After a modest .269/.321/.442 showing in his first month, Garcia posted an impressive .306/.341/.451 line the rest of the way; finishing the season ranked highly in several categories. Garcia ended tied for fourth in the circuit in home runs (7), ranked fifth in the league in hits (73) and slugging (.449), ranked seventh in at-bats (245), and ninth in RBI (34).
On the back of a June performance that saw Avisail slug four doubles, a triple, and three home runs in 21 games, he was named TigsTown's VSL Player of the Month; the first award of his pro career. He followed that performance up with another strong showing in July, coming in as the runner-up for that month's award.
Garcia has a wealth of tools, and profiles very well across the board. Defensively he has uncanny instincts for a player his age. He gets very good jumps on nearly everything hit to the outfield, takes strong routes to the ball, and generally understands all of his defensive responsibilities well. He is a plus runner that allows him to make up for any mistakes he may make. Garcia also has well above-average arm strength that would play in any of the three outfield positions with ease.
Avisail is a bit more raw offensively than defensively, though strong tools are still present at the plate. His speed should work to his advantage offensively, but he must refine his base running instincts to make best use of the tool. He has above-average raw power, with solid contact ability, but his pitch recognition is presently very poor. Without advances in his ability to select pitches and command the strike zone, it will be difficult for Garcia to approach his considerable ceiling.
Performance Level Team AB AVG 2B HR RBI SO BB OBP% SLG% R
It's still very early in his career, but Garcia's bill of health is clean, and his athleticism and strong frame should help him avoid some injuries going forward.
All of the ingredients are here for a five-tool outfield prospect, with speed, power, and excellent defensive abilities, but there is still a lack of polish that is of some concern. Without the refinement in his pitch recognition, Garcia's ceiling will remain a pipe dream, and it will keep him from climbing the rankings any further.
Garcia will start the 2009 season as a 17-year old, likely back in the VSL, and it will be important for him to maintain his gains from his debut season. With another strong season in rookie ball, Garcia will be primed to come stateside in 2010 and see how his full compliment of tools translates to the stiffer competition in the states.
Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.