The Astros have signed Junior Garcia, a 17-year-old lefthander from the Dominican Republic, for $200,000.
Garcia, who trained with Ramon Genao (known as "Papiro"), played in a few different events run by Major League Baseball. At 6-foot-1, 175 pounds, Garcia is a strike-thrower who has seen his fastball climb from 83-85 mph to 86-88 mph as he's gained weight. He stands out for his pitchability, mixes in a curveball that has a chance to be an average to solid-average pitch as well as an occasional changeup.
Garcia, who became eligible to sign on July 2, is the most significant signing yet for the Astros under international director Oz Ocampo, who left his role as a specialist in international baseball operations at MLB to join the Astros in September. The Astros still have the majority of their $2.9 million bonus pool for the 2012-13 signing period available, and they will have the biggest signing pool for the 2013-14 signing period that begins next year on July 2 after finishing with baseball's worst record in 2012.
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