Tigers Prospect Profile #11: Avisail Garcia

Avisail Garcia made a surprising jump in 2009, being challenged and sent to full season A ball, despite being in his first year stateside. Garcia didn't overwhelm, but despite playing in a league over his head, he more than held his own. What tools are there that made Garcia such a prime candidate for an aggressive push?

Avisail Garcia
Position: Outfielder
Height: 6-3
Weight: 190
Born: 6/12/1991
Bats: Right
Throws: Right

Background
Garcia signed as a non-drafted free agent out of Venezuela in July of 2007, just days after the international signing period opened. Though actively pursued by many teams, his bonus was modest and the Tigers had made him a priority signing heading into the summer.

Making his professional debut the following summer, the then17-year old Garcia had no trouble adjusting to the rigors of pro ball. In 63 games for the VSL Tigers, Avisail ripped the ball to the tune of a .298/.342/.449 clip with 21 extra-base hits and even seven stolen bases. Garcia was named the Tigers' VSL Player of the Year, while littering as many as four league leader boards with his name amongst the top ten.

The Tigers quickly brought Garcia stateside for the 2009 season, and despite a strong spring showing, he remained behind in extended spring training after camp broke. After hitting a rumored .400 plus during the first few weeks of extended spring games, Garcia was shipped across the parking lot in Lakeland for a three-game cameo with the High-A Flying Tigers. Garcia picked up two hits in eight at-bats in his time there, before being sent to West Michigan.

The Tigers were aggressive with the 18-year old Garcia, assigning him to a full-season league just a short time after arriving in the states. He appeared in 81 games for the Whitecaps, and while the numbers may not completely show it, the promise in his game was evident to many onlookers. Garcia hit .264 for the season, but only drew eight walks and slugged just .324 in 299 at-bats.

Scouting Report
Garcia is an extremely physical player with a legitimate pro body and tons of natural strength. He has strength throughout, and his long limbs offer dreams of more growth and presence.

When asked to summarize Garcia's tools, one Midwest League manager summed them up by simply saying; ‘That kid is a championship caliber player. If he's not, I'm in the wrong business.'

Garcia has an imposing presence in the box, with an almost menacing stare back at the pitcher, a stance that is slightly more than shoulder width, and his weight slightly back on his right leg. His natural strength allows him to unleash the bat through the zone with plus bat speed, and he controls the head of the bat well. Garcia has the potential to hit for a solid average, while also having the potential to deliver on his plus to plus-plus raw power.

Garcia has been prone to strikeouts as a pro, and he must improve his pitch recognition and ability to work counts in his favor. Without improvement in this area, Garcia will struggle to adjust to more polished pro pitchers.

As an outfielder, Garcia remains quite raw. His instincts are improving rapidly on balls in play, but his routes remain a work in progress. He is a solid-average runner, though some scouts believe he could lose a step as he approaches physical maturity. Defense will take some work for Garcia, but he should be an average corner outfielder in time. His arm is strong but inaccurate.

Despite his wealth of talent, Garcia combines a level of humbleness with the confidence he maintains in his ability. He is a diligent worker who has the ability to mold himself into a star level talent.

Performance

Level

Team

AB

AVG

2B

HR

RBI

SO

BB

OBP%

SLG%

A

West Mich.

299

.264

11

1

31

70

8

.289

.324

A+

Lakeland

8

.250

0

0

0

2

0

.250

.250


Health Record
Garcia has not experienced any significant injuries in his professional career.

The Future
After a modest showing in the Midwest League as an 18-year old in 2009, Garcia is slated to return to the circuit in 2010. He should be one of the Whitecaps everyday outfielders, and if the progress he showed during Instructional League and the positive reports out of spring training are any indication, he could be in line for a significant improvement.

Garcia has a power skill set, but that total package may take some time to come together. He will likely move a level at a time for the next couple of years, before he begins to be in the discussion as a big league ready talent. There are some hurdles remaining, including tightening up his strike zone and working counts with more aplomb, but there is no doubting Garcia's raw ability.

Mark Anderson is TigsTown's Managing Editor and feature Minor League writer. He can be reached at Mark@TigsTown.com.


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