Major League Baseball has informed teams that Cuban lefthander Onelkis Garcia will be subject to the 2012 draft.
Two days before the 2011 draft, MLB sent teams scrambling when it distributed a letter to clubs saying that Garcia, who was expected to become a free agent, would be eligible for the draft. Moments before the draft, MLB issued another announcement, this time saying that Garcia would not be eligible for the 2011 draft. Now, it appears his situation has finally been resolved.
Garcia, 22, projects to go somewhere around the third round, with most scouts reporting that he profiles as a reliever due to his control issues and lack of a reliable third pitch. Most recently Garcia has been pitching for the Leones del Ponce in the Puerto Rican League, where between the regular season and the playoffs he has an ERA of 0.57 in 15 2/3 innings with 10 strikeouts and four walks.
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound Garcia has shown solid stuff for Ponce, with an 89-93 mph fastball that has touched 94, though it doesn't have great life and he struggles to command it because he has trouble repeating his delivery. Garcia's curveball flashes above-average occasionally when he's able to stay on top of it, but it's an inconsistent pitch. He throws a changeup as well but hasn't used it much in winter ball.
While in Cuba, Garcia pitched for Guantanamo in Serie Nacional in 2009-2010, when in 15 starts he had a 3.40 ERA, 74 strikeouts and 51 walks in 84 2/3 innings. He ranked 16th in the league in both strikeouts and ERA and tied for seventh in walks.
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