Slugger Willy Garcia Returns to Winnipeg
WINNIPEG, MB – The Winnipeg Goldeyes re-signed former Major League outfielder Willy Garcia on Monday.
Garcia hit .310 with 58 runs scored, 23 doubles, 17 home runs, and 73 RBI in 86 games for the Goldeyes last season. The Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic native tied for 14th in the American Association in batting average, tied for eighth in home runs, seventh in RBI, and third in slugging percentage (.548). Garcia hit safely in 66 of his 86 games played, including 33 multi-hit efforts. The 27-year-old outfielder amassed three hitting streaks of nine or more games, and went back-to-back games without a base hit just twice all season.
Garcia also led the American Association with three grand slam home runs, which are the most by any player in a single season since the Goldeyes joined the league in 2011. During his 66 games in right field, Garcia chipped in five outfield assists, and just eight of a possible 17 runners (47 percent) scored from second base on a single (the 2019 Major League average was 60 percent).
“I’m pleased to announce that Willy is returning,” said Goldeyes’ manager Rick Forney. “He had a great season for us, providing a run-producing presence in the middle of our order. Willy is also a great defender that possesses the best outfield arm in the league.”
In late-July, Garcia represented the Dominican Republic at the Pan-Am Games in Lima, Peru where he contributed three runs, a home run, and five RBI in four tournament contests.
Garcia is entering his 10th season of professional baseball and was originally signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates as an international free agent in 2010. Garcia is a lifetime .263 hitter with a .433 slugging percentage, and has averaged 79 runs scored, 31 doubles, 19 home runs, and 87 RBI per 162 games.
In 2017, Garcia enjoyed multiple stints in the Major Leagues playing for the Chicago White Sox. A right-handed hitter and fielder, Garcia batted .238 for Chicago with two home runs and 12 RBI in 44 games. Garcia posted an average exit velocity of 87.1 miles per hour, which ranked ahead of the 2017 Major League average of 86.7. The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Garcia also compiled 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.
The Goldeyes now have eight players under contract for the 2020 season. American Association clubs may carry up to 28 players during spring training, which begins May 7th.
2020 Winnipeg Goldeyes Signings
RHP Victor Capellan
IF Wes Darvill
OF Willy Garcia
RHP Garrett Harris
LHP Mitchell Lambson
OF Jonathan Moroney
IF Darren Seferina
RHP Andrew Vernon
Notes: Baseball America rated Garcia as having the best arm in the Pirates’ organization in both 2012 and 2013…Garcia has averaged 23 outfield assists per 162 games as a professional…34 percent (15 of 44) of Garcia’s home runs at the Double-A and Triple-A levels were hit to the opposite field…six of Garcia’s 17 home runs (35 percent) with the Goldeyes in 2019 were hit the other way…from 2017-19, 14 percent of all home runs in the Major Leagues were hit to the opposite field…during his time with the White Sox, Garcia collected five base hits on pitches that were thrown at least 95 miles per hour…Garcia also had an average sprint speed of 27.9 feet per second, which ranked in the 73rd percentile of all qualified Major Leaguers
The Winnipeg Goldeyes open the 2020 season on May 19th on the road against the Cleburne Railroaders. The Goldeyes’ 2020 home opener is on Tuesday, May 26th versus the St. Paul Saints.
For information on 2020 season tickets, 10-game mini packs, and group tickets, call the Goldeyes’ office at (204) 982-BASE, or visit the Goldeyes’ official website at www.goldeyes.com
By Steve Schuster, Winnipeg Goldeyes